Essential Science

Module summary

Module code: CHEM0075
Level: 0
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Science
Module Coordinator(s):



This course aims to:-

provide the essential framework of chemical and biological science;
extend the student appreciation of application of chemical principles to living systems;
enhance the understanding of equilibrium and factors which lead to change and/or control.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will:-

have consolidated their understanding of the periodic properties of the elements;
have extended and systemised their understanding of acids and bases and be able to make calculations involving Ka, pKa and pH;
be conversant with factors which affect rates of chemical reactions and be able to discuss the collision theory of chemical reaction;
be familiar with concepts of oxidations, REDOX equations and quantitative analysis based on REDOX reaction;
be able to apply their knowledge of optimised chemical reactions and reaction rates to cellular metabolism;
have a working knowledge of IUPAC nomenclature of organic compounds and have a concept of functional groups;
have a working knowledge of the range of living organisms and of evolutionary principles;
be able to apply principles of control system theory to homeostasis in biological systems (microbes, plants and animals);
be able to discuss more complex control processes, e.g. the principles of neural and hormonal control processes in terms of the mechanisms of information transport;
be able to interrelate the chemical, physical and biological properties of water;

Skills Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, a student will be able to demonstrate the ability to select and use appropriate theories, concepts, principles and knowledge from a range of scientific disciplines in problem solving.

Indicative content

Chemistry of the elements
Periodic and group patterns of elements, oxides and chlorides; importance of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, iodine, iron, hydrogen, calcium and inorganic carbon to living systems.
Minerals, water, acids and bases
Factors affecting equilibrium, Le Chatelier's principle, buffer solutions, calculations of Ka, pKa and pH; solvent properties, hydration and hydrolysis, gas solubility; REDOX equations; mass, mole, volume calculations; biological importance of water related to its chemical and physical properties.

Reaction rates
Factors affecting rate, order of reaction, rate constant; catalysts and enzymes, application to metabolic processes in living organisms.

Carbon compounds
Naming of compounds, shapes, structural, geometrical and optical isomerism, characteristic reactions of alkanes and alkenes, effects of substituting functional groups in linear and cyclic structures; importance of carbon compounds to living systems, i.e. as proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and carbohydrates.

Evolution and Genetics
The need for classification. The diversity of living things. An outline of the theory of evolution. Principles and mechanism of inheritance illustrated by Mendelian genetics, co-dominance and sex linkage.

Autotrophic and heterotrophic processes

Movement and locomotion
Nervous control of musculo-skeletal system. Reflex and voluntary actions. Striped muscle contraction.

Application of negative feedback to principles of homeostasis; control processes regulating growth and metabolism, chief organs of homeostasis in the mammalian body, the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Principles of nervous and chemical communication: role in regulation of selected organ systems, e.g. osmoregulation and the urinary system, control of the cardiorespiratory systems, thyroid regulation in response to metabolic demands, blood sugar levels, temperature control.

Teaching and learning activity

This course will be taught by a mixture of lectures, tutorials and workshops which will be guided by the setting of appropriate formative tasks.


(1) comprising an assignment(s) - 30%
a) Problem solving exercise
b) 1500 word Essay

(2) Open Book Test - 30%
1 hour duration to test students conceptual understanding.

Examination - 40%
3 hours.