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The University of Southampton

CHEM1031 Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry I

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognise and name a wide range of functional groups and interpret their IR spectra
  • Explain the connections between electronic effects and acidity/basicity
  • Explain the concept of aromaticity and identify both aromatic and non-aromatic molecules
  • Describe nucleophilic substitution reactions by both the SN1 and SN2 mechanisms
  • Explain the factors that influence SN1 and SN2 reaction rates, including the roles of steric effects, orbital effects and electronic effects.
  • Evaluate the risks associated with an experiment and understand how to mitigate those risks.
  • Set up glassware and apparatus to conduct experiments in Organic Chemistry.
  • Interpret data from a range of physical techniques to characterise Organic compounds.
  • Present the results of a practical investigation in a concise manner.
  • Draw representations of the chemical structure of organic molecules using a concise notation.
  • Understand and use sawhorse and Newman projections, 3D structures of organic molecules including cyclic structures
  • Name a wide range of organic molecules, including stereochemistry
  • Describe the structure (including electronic configuration) of organic molecules in terms of orbitals, hybridisation and conformation, including stereoisomerism
  • Understand the relative stability of conformations of linear and cyclic organic molecules.
  • Identify electron-rich and electron-poor sites within molecules, by using the concepts of electronegativity, inductive effects and mesomeric (resonance) effects
  • Apply the curly arrow notation to describe both resonance and reaction mechanisms
  • Predict the relative acidity and basicity of organic molecules, and describe these properties with the concepts of pKa and pKaH


Structure – of molecules: functional groups, isomerism including optical activity, nomenclature, introduction to infrared spectroscopy (functional groups); bonding (orbitals, hybridisation and shape of organic species); conformational analysis. Reactivity – curly arrows, electron-rich and electron-deficient species, acidity (alcohols, phenols, carboxylic acids, and C—H acids); basicity (BuLi, LDA, hydroxide and alkoxides, amines); resonance; aromaticity and introduction of the reactivity of aromatic compounds compared to alkenes; nucleophilic substitution at sp³ carbon (SN1 and SN2 mechanisms). Completion of four practical experiments and associated reports covering a range of topics and skills in organic chemistry including the application of a variety of fundamental techniques and methodologies (including spectroscopy) to the synthesis and analysis of molecules and materials; the ability to analyse experimental data to provide an explanation for the observed experimental outcomes; understanding the importance of experimental safety and time management.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, tutorials with group working and tutor support Practical chemistry: Prelaboratory e-learning; pre-lab skills lectures/ Seminars; practical sessions, supporting demonstrations, group and one-to-one tuition.

Follow-up work24
Wider reading or practice15
Preparation for scheduled sessions48
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

James Keeler and Peter Wothers (2008). Chemical Stucture and Reactivity. 

Andrew Burrows, John Holman, Andrew Parsons, Gwen Pilling, and Gareth Price (2009). Chemistry3: Introducing inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. 

J Clayden, N Greeves and S Warren (2012). Organic Chemistry. 


Assessment Strategy

All absences from practical sessions must be validated and unexcused absences will result in failure of the module. Repeat year externally: allowed if practical attendance criteria has been met. The practical marks are retained, the theory assessment is exam only. Repeat year internally: note that practical may be reassessed by resubmission of reports or repeated.




MethodPercentage contribution
Assessed Tutorials 10%
Examination  (2 hours) 65%
Lab proficiency 
Practical write-ups 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%
Lab proficiency 

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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