3 x 50-minute lectures weekly
4 x 90-minute workshops per semester
3 x 3-hour laboratories per semester
1 x 90-minute computer lab per semester
1 x 60-minute on-line exercises weekly
^ = may be enrolled concurrently
1 1 of CHEM1201, CHEM1204
2 ^ 1 of CHEM1101, CHEM1205
Must Satisfy: ((1) or (2))
Enrolment not permitted
CHEM1203 has been successfully completed
Examinations, Laboratory Work, Workshop Participation and Online Quizzes.
Topic description

This topic is designed to provide the fundamentals of acid/base (buffer) chemistry, electrochemistry and organic chemistry in a biological context for students of the life sciences.

The topic deals with chemical equilibrium, the pH scale, iconic equilibria, buffer solutions, redox reactions and electrochemical cells, electrolysis, organic chemistry of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, compounds having other important functional groups, amino acids, carbohydrates and DNA and the fundamentals of biological mechanisms. The basics of analysis and chromotography are also covered.

Educational aims

This topic aims to provide students primarily from the life sciences with a chemistry background enough information to be able to continue studies in chemistry and to assist in other topics offered in the university.

Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the concept of oxidation numbers
  2. Appreciate simple concepts of electrochemistry and thus recognize and balance redox reactions
  3. Know the basic nomenclature in organic chemistry
  4. Distinguish different functional groups and predict their chemical reactions
  5. Understand geometrical and optical isomerisms
  6. Be familiar with common synthetic and biological polymers
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of the chemical structure of amino acids, and polypeptides
  8. Demonstrate basic knowledge of the action of enzyme catalysis
  9. Demonstrate knowledge of the chemical structure of DNA and RNA
  10. Predict the outcome of reactions in equilibrium
  11. Have knowledge of the factors influencing the chemical equilibrium
  12. Perform titrations and pH calculations
  13. Understand the fundamentals of chemical analysis and separation by chromatography
  14. Work in a laboratory with due regard for the occupational health and safety of themselves and others in the laboratory and of those in the community at large

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.