Skip to main content


Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry

Module titleFundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry
Module codeBIO1340
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Sam Stevens (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The understanding of the atom and the interaction of all main group elements and transition metal chemistry play an essential role in both inorganic and biochemical processes.

This module is therefore mandatory for all Biochemistry and Biological & Medicinal Chemistry students and should provide a foundation for future study/research in the sphere of inorganic chemistry.

The module will cover four fundamental areas of inorganic chemistry:

• Atomic Structure and Theory: The nature of atoms themselves, including an historical account of their understanding.
• Reactivity, Acidity, and Activity: An examination of various properties of the elements, combining knowledge of all aspects covered, and introducing very special cases essential for understanding the natural world.
• Molecular Bonding and Structure: The various methods used to predict and justify compound properties, such as shape and bond energies.
• Transition Metals and Complexation: A spotlight on the properties of transition metals including their range of compounds, biological application, and analytical methods.

Pre-requisites: An A-level (or equivalent) in Chemistry and GCSE (or equivalent) in Mathematics.


Module aims - intentions of the module

To introduce the concepts of atomic and molecular orbital theory, the consequences for structure and bonding, and for the properties of atoms and molecules. To introduce the principles of transition metal chemistry and trends in main group chemistry with particular emphasis on their role in biological systems.

Graduate attributes. Students are expected to develop the following skills:
• Data handling skills – demonstrated use of appropriate laboratory equipment fundamental for measurements in chemistry, and the ability to interpret and analyse resulting datasets
• Application of knowledge – being able to understand core aspects of inorganic chemistry and related mathematical concepts and apply these to solve problems and explain experimental observations.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain qualitatively the structure of the atom and the basis of chemical bonding and reactivity
  • 2. Explain the basics of coordination chemistry, particularly in relation to the first row transition metals
  • 3. Interpret trends in physical properties and reactivity within the main group, particularly groups 1, 2 and 17
  • 4. Describe the redox behaviour of the elements and the biological significance of groups 1, 2, 15 and 16

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Describe the basics of inorganic chemistry
  • 6. Identify and interpret trends in data in a sub-discipline of the biological and chemical sciences
  • 7. Solve problems and apply basic concepts in a sub-discipline of the biological and chemical sciences
  • 8. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of the biological and chemical sciences with reference to textbooks and other forms of information retrieval
  • 9. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of quantitative data analysis within the biological and chemical sciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Describe multi-dimensional systems through illustration and codification.
  • 11. Communicate ideas effectively by written means
  • 12. With some guidance, study autonomously
  • 13. With some guidance, select and properly manage information drawn from books

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

Atomic Structure and Theory:

• The structure of the atom, particles, waves and orbitals.
• Quantisation of electron energies, orbital size/shape/configurations.
• Periodic trends

Reactivity, Acidity, and Activity:
• Disassociation
• Nucleo/electrophilicity
• Ionic/metallic bonding
• Solution chemistry

Compound Bonding and Structure

• The shapes of molecules and VSEPR theory
• Molecular orbital theory
• Homonuclear and heteronuclear diatomics

Transition Metals

• Nomenclature and isomerism
• Crystal/ligand field theory
• The spectrochemical series
• Magnetic and optical properties of octahedral complexes
• Stability of oxidation states

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Laboratory sessions (5 x 3 hours)
Guided Independent Study14Reviewing past exam papers
Guided Independent Study49Reading recommended text
Guided Independent Study52Reading background to laboratory experiments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Revision class at end of module2 hours1-9Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination602 hours1-7,10-13Written
Practical-based report I20ca. 2000 words6-13Online
Practical-based report II20ca. 2000 words6-13Online


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-7, 10-13August Ref/Def
Practical-based reports I & IIPractical-based reports6-13August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. If you are deferred for both practical-based reports, you will be required to submit a single lab report based on videos, notes and model data provided by the module convenor. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

• C. E. Housecroft & A. G. Sharpe, Inorganic Chemistry (2001) Pearson Education
• M. Weller et al., Inorganic Chemistry (2018) Oxford
• J. Barrett, Atomic Structure and Periodicity (2002) Wiley-Interscience
• J. Barrett, Structure and Bonding (2001) Wiley-Interscience
• M. J. Winter, Chemical Bonding (1994) Oxford

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

• ELE page:
• A list of books, along with an up-to-date account of those licenced for electronic access, may be found here.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Inorganic chemistry, molecular bonding, transition metal chemistry, main group chemistry

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date