Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

CHEM1054 Reactions in organic chemistry

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Recognise reactive centres in organic molecules and the types of reactions that they can undergo.
  • Predict the outcomes of reactions based on the properties of the functional groups that are present.
  • Draw simple mechanisms to explain the outcomes of reactions.
  • Recognise the properties of reagents and solvents and how these relate to their use in organic reactions
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Meet the learning outcomes of a co-requisite practical module.


Nucleophilic substitution reactions: Reactions of alkyl halides and sulfonates with nucleophiles; Revision SN1 and SN2 mechanisms including allylic and benzylic systems; Formation of alcohols by hydrolysis of alkyl halides; Reactions of alcohols with strong acids; Use of thionyl chloride and phosphorous pentabromide to form alkyl halides; Use of nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous nucleophiles. Organometallic reagents for C-C bond formation: Grignard reagents, organolithiums and organocoppers Elimination reactions: Substitution vs elimination in alkyl halides; Dehydration of alcohols, Elimination mechanisms; Stereochemistry and regioselectivity in elimination reactions; Electrophilic additions to alkenes including hydrogen halides, bromination, epoxidation, hydroboration and dihydroxylation. Introduction to carbonyl chemistry: Structure and bonding, polarisation, oxidation levels, leaving group ability and the influence of attached atoms on reactivity; Principle reactions with nucleophiles, electrophiles and bases and loci of reactivity; Addition of HCN, hydride, organometallic reagents; Nucleophilic substitution. Addition/elimination at the carbonyl group in carboxylic acid derivatives: Addition-elimination reactions; Formation of esters from acids and alcohols; Preparation using acid chlorides; Hydrolysis of esters; Reactions with nucleophiles; Formation of amides from acid chlorides and esters; Hydrolysis; Nitriles. Enolate chemistry: α-alkylation of aldehydes, ketones and acid derivatives.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, small group tutorials and laboratory sessions.

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Wider reading or practice40
Assessment tasks20
Total study time149

Resources & Reading list

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


Assessment Strategy

Final exam, tutorials and laboratory marks. The latter are accumulated under the co-requisite lab module.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessed Tutorials 10%
Final Assessment   (2 hours) 60%
Laboratory practicals 30%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

External repeat only possible if lab module is already passed.


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

CHEM1056Introduction to Practical Chemistry II


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and Photocopying Costs

Students will often be expected to bring a copy of notes that are provided electronically in advance to lectures. This can involve an electronic device (laptop or tablet) or printed copies.


The textbook recommended in this core module will continue to be used in future core modules and students will benefit from owning their own copies. Some copies are also available in the library.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings