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During 2021 we will continue to support students who need to study remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Make sure you check the location code when selecting a unit outline or choosing your units of study in Sydney Student. Find out more about what these codes mean. Both remote and on-campus locations have the same learning activities and assessments, however teaching staff may vary. More information about face-to-face teaching and assessment arrangements for each unit will be provided on Canvas.

Unit of study_

CHEM1111: Chemistry 1A

Chemistry describes how and why things happen from a molecular perspective. Chemistry underpins all aspects of the natural and physical world, and provides the basis for new technologies and advances in the life, medical and physical sciences, engineering, and industrial processes. This unit of study will further develop your knowledge and skills in chemistry for application to life and medical sciences, engineering, and further study in chemistry. You will learn about nuclear and radiation chemistry, wave theory, atomic orbitals, spectroscopy, bonding, enthalpy and entropy, equilibrium, processes occurring in solutions, and the functional groups in carbon chemistry. You will develop experimental design, conduct and analysis skills in chemistry through experiments that ask and answer questions like how do dyes work, how do we desalinate water, how do we measure the acid content in foods, how do we get the blue in a blueprint, and how do we extract natural products from plants? Through inquiry, observation and measurement, you will understand the 'why' and the 'how' of the natural and physical world and will be able to apply this understanding to real-world problems and solutions. This unit of study is directed toward students with a satisfactory prior knowledge of the HSC chemistry course.


Academic unit Chemistry Academic Operations
Unit code CHEM1111
Unit name Chemistry 1A
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

CHEM1001 or CHEM1101 or CHEM1901 or CHEM1903 or CHEM1109 or CHEM1011 or CHEM1911 or CHEM1991
Assumed knowledge

Students who have not completed HSC Chemistry (or equivalent) and HSC Mathematics (or equivalent) are strongly advised to take the Chemistry and Mathematics Bridging Courses (offered in February)

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Stephen George-Williams,
Administrative staff Chemistry Education Support -
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final online exam
online exam
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO8 LO5
Online task Pre-lab and labtorial quizzes
Open book online Canvas quizzes covering laboratory theory and safety
4.5% Multiple weeks 15-30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO1 LO8 LO5
Small continuous assessment Laboratory Log Book
a record of observations
2.5% Multiple weeks 1-2 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO7 LO6 LO5
Online task Post-laboratory assessment
Lab/technical reports, at-home technique video and infograph
8% Multiple weeks Varied
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3
Online task Checkpoint quiz 1
Online open book Canvas quiz
5% Week 05 25 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO2
Online task Checkpoint quiz 2
Online open book Canvas quiz
5% Week 09 25 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO2
Online task Checkpoint quiz 3
Online open book Canvas quiz
5% Week 12 25 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO2
Small continuous assessment Pre-Lecture quizzes
Multiple choice quizzes on Canvas based on a pre-lecture video
10% Weekly ~15 minutes each week
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO2
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
  • Lecture quizzes: Weekly online quizzes covering the topics in the lecture course. These quizzes are designed to help you prepare and get the most out of the lectures. Each quiz is available for 1 week prior to a given lecture series and you will lock before the first lecture of that week. You can have as many attempts at each quiz as you like within the period it is available. Your highest mark will be recorded. The first assessed quiz is on the Monday of week 3.
  • Checkpoint quizzes: Each quiz involves 10 multiple choice questions and will be held during the assigned week as an online open-book Canvas quiz. A sample quiz will be made available during the previous week and this should be consulted for the topics and style of the questions in the quiz.
  • Final exam: The final examination covers the whole of the lecture course and is made up of approximately 1/3 multiple-choice and 2/3 short answer questions. 
  • Pre-lab and labtorial quizzes​: Available under 'Laboratory Program' Canvas site. Canvas quizzes based on laboratory manual, labtorial sessions and scientific literature. 1x safety quiz, 4x pre-laboratory quizzes and 3x labtorial worksheets.
  • Laboratory Log Book: The logbook is a record of observations and hypotheses.
  • Post-laboratory assessment: Will consist of four diverse assessments including an infograph, an at-home technique video (1-3 minutes in length), a technical laboratory report and a formal laboratory report.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject as well as a detailed and
comprehensive understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects
exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply
their subject knowledge and understanding to produce original solutions for novel or highly
complex problems and/or comprehensive critical discussions of theoretical concepts.


75 - 84

At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a well-developed
understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is
awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply their subject knowledge and
understanding of the subject to produce good solutions for challenging problems and/or a
reasonably well-developed critical analysis of theoretical concepts.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material.
A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad general
understanding of the unit material and can solve routine problems and/or identify and
superficially discuss theoretical concepts.


50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects
satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Online quizzes cannot be submitted late.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Laboratory weeks 3-12, Blended online and on-campus program, see the lab canvas page for details (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 01 Nuclear chemistry (4 hr)  
Week 02 Nuclear chemistry and wave theory (4 hr)  
Week 03 Atomic structure (4 hr)  
Week 04 Molecular orbital theory (4 hr)  
Week 05 Bonding, VSEPR and intermolecular forces (4 hr)  
Week 06 Thermodynamics (4 hr)  
Week 07 Thermodynamics and equilibrium (4 hr)  
Week 08 Equilibrium (4 hr)  
Week 09 Equilibrium and acids and bases (4 hr)  
Week 10 Acids and bases and an introduction to organic chemistry (4 hr)  
Week 11 Isomers, aromatic compounds, alcohols & amines (4 hr)  
Week 12 Stereochemistry, aldehydes and ketones. Carboxylic acids and their derivatives, polymers and biopolymers. (4 hr)  
Week 13 Wrap-up and revision (4 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand of the concepts and language of general and physical chemistry
  • LO2. understand atomic theory, structure and bonding, energetics, equilibrium and the processes occurring in solution
  • LO3. perform safe laboratory manipulations and to handle glassware
  • LO4. find and analyse information and judge its reliability and significance
  • LO5. communicate scientific information appropriately both orally and through written work
  • LO6. engage in team and group work for scientific investigations and for the process of learning
  • LO7. demonstrate a sense of responsibility and independence as a learner and as a scientist
  • LO8. demonstrate basic skills in computing, numeracy and data handling.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Response to 2020, Sm 2 students: I note that while many of you enjoyed the live lectures delievered in the early part of the course, you felt disadvantaged by, or didn’t enjoy, the pre-recorded lectures later in semester. Thank you for this feedback as it (alongside student responses in other courses) helps us to better navigate this sudden COVID-19 induced online learning environment. In the future, we will likely stick with one model per unit and be more critical of how the videos are produced (if they are being used). A major complaint raised outside the lectures were the online labs. I accept that the online labs weren’t ideal, but we are redoing the program (again!) and are hoping for a blended system which better connects a mix of on-campus and online sessions. It is of course difficult to truly teach and provide a laboratory experience when you can’t actually get into one!

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.