Students wishing to register for the degree BSc Honours in Chemistry should first familiarise themselves with the minimum requirements for admission (Yearbook). Note that the closing date for applications is normally October 31 of the year preceding that in which the course commences. The BSc Honours course in Chemistry is a full-time one-year course that typically commences in January of each year. The course comprises 6 modules. Of these, 4 are theoretical courses, 1 is a special topics course, and the last is a research project. The four theoretical (core) courses are taken in the first semester, while the special topics and research project are taken in the second semester. A breakdown of the courses are given below.

First semester modules

Analytical Techniques 711

All honours students within the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science (Chemistry students and Polymer Science students) are required to complete and pass the Analytical Techniques course. This module covers advanced analytical techniques, focusing particularly on separation science, mass spectrometry and high-level NMR spectroscopy. The course runs for approximately 4 weeks and comprises ~ 40 hours lectures as well as practicals. The topics that are covered in the 711 module include:

  • NMR theory and principles (spectral interpretation of 1H and 13C{1H} NMR of small molecules).
  • Single and multiple pulse 1D Fourier Transform NMR (Rotating frame vector model of pulsed NMR, Relaxation in NMR, T1 and T2 measurements via inversion-recovery and spin-echo experiments, magnetic polarization transfer or NOE). 
  • Multi-pulse 1D and 2D NMR methods (SEFT or APT, INEPT and DEPT experiments), basic 2D correlation NMR experiments, data flow and structure of a 2D experiment, basic interpretation of 2D correlation spectra, J resolved 2D homo-nuclear correlation experiments COSY/TOCSY/NOESY, hetero-nuclear correlation HETCOR, HMQC, HSQC and HMBC experiments.
  • Application of NMR methods to the structural elucidation of moderately complex organic molecules.
  • Sample preparation for chromatographic analysis of volatile and non-volatile analytes.
  • Advanced mass spectrometry: Basics of MS measurements, MS performance, single and multi-stage MS instrumentation, practical aspects of GC-MS and LC-MS. 
  • Advanced HPLC, focusing on ultra high pressure LC (UHPLC), covering the theory of LC performance, effect of stationary phases (particle size, alternative phases) and modern instrumentation.
  • Introduction to modern supercritical fluid chromatography.
  • Introduction to capillary electrophoresis.

Organic Chemistry 712

The course runs for approximately 4 weeks and comprises ~40 hours lectures as well as a 1-week practical block in which the students are paired up with postgraduate students to work on current research projects. The topics that can be covered in the 712 module include:

  • Aromatic heterocycles (reactions and synthesis)
  • Organometallic chemistry (catalysts and catalytic cycles)
  • Retrosynthetic analysis and synthesis planning
  • Pericyclic reactions (cycloadditions, sigmatropic and electrocyclic reactions)
  • Radical reactions
  • Synthesis and reactions of carbenes
  • Advanced asymmetric synthesis

Inorganic Chemistry 714

The course runs for approximately 4 weeks and comprises ~ 40 hours lectures as well as practicals. The topics that are covered in the 714 module include:

  • Coordination chemistry fundamentals: multiplet structure of free atoms and ions (mainly transition elements) ; Crystal and ligand field theory and its applications based on group theory; Electronic Spectra of coordination complexes; electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Advanced organometallic chemistry: transition metal alkyls, transition metal carbenes, transition metal carbynes, transition metal alkenes
  • Homogenous catalysis: Hydroformylation, alcohol carbonylation, alkene metathesis, olefin polymerization/oligomerization
  • Inorganic chains, rings and polymers: periodicity and the isoelectronic principle, homocyclic rings, boron-containing rings and polymers, rings and polymers containing phosphorus, S-N rings and polymers
  • Macrocyclic chemistry: Types of macrocyclic ligands and their complexes, Synthesis of macrocycles, Thermodynamic considerations, applications

Second Semester Modules

Special Topics in Chemistry 741

The topics offered each year may change depending on the availability of academic staff. Each special topic comprises 4-6 hours worth of lectures, as well as an assessment or equivalent evaluation. This course runs concurrently with the Research Project in Chemistry 744. Examples of topics include:

  • Multidimensional chromatography 
  • Magnetism
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Intermolecular interactions
  • Philosophy of science
  • Scientific writing

Research Project in Chemistry 744

Each Chemistry Honours student will have the opportunity to conduct a research project in the lab/group of one of the academic staff members in the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science. The duration of the projects is usually 11-12 weeks. A list of projects is typically made available towards the end of the First Semester, and students have the opportunity to select their preferred three choices. It is not always possible to allocate each student to one of their preferred project, however we take preference into consideration as far as possible. Nevertheless, regardless of specific project, the experience a student gains through the Research Project is invaluable. Students are required to submit written proposals and final reports (before and after the project, respectively), as well as make an oral presentation about their proposals and final outcomes (before and after the project, respectively).