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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.

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

Resources & Reading list

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

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

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


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.


In-class Test


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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