CHEM 253 : Making Molecules: Synthesis and Isolation


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Creation of chemicals and compounds is at the heart of synthetic chemistry; students will learn organic, organometallic and inorganic synthesis with an emphasis on how and why reactions occur. Studying separation strategies, reaction conditions and characterisation techniques will allow an understanding of the variables in synthesis. The laboratory component provides experience in synthesising, isolating, purifying and characterising compounds. This course will build on prior knowledge of chemical bonding, MO theory, and main-group and transition metal chemistry.

Course Overview

This course focuses on methods to identify, prepare and purify organic and inorganic molecules. Skills learnt in CHEM 110 will be further developed and students will increase their knowledge in spectroscopy and synthesis whilst learning how to separate and purify reaction products. Additionally students will be introduced to organometallic compounds learning their properties and their reactivity in numerous reactions. In the laboratory and tutorial components of the course students will learn a variety of techniques improving their laboratory skills. This course is important for those interested in preparing any chemical molecule or learning about chemical reactivity, whether they be biological molecules, industrial or pharmaceutical compounds or otherwise. The course is preparation for several stage III chemistry courses and is one of three compulsory courses for all students studying a Chemistry Major and is also a compulsory course for those students enrolled in a Medicinal Chemistry Specialisation.  

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: CHEM 110 Restriction: CHEM 230

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand and describe the various types of stereochemical descriptions of organic and inorganic molecules (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Describe and give products of various chemical transformations of organic molecules (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Understand and describe the reactions of various organometallic species (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Outline the various separation methods utilised in synthetic chemistry. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Apply spectrometric and spectroscopic methods in structural determination. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Understand and use chemical techniques in a laboratory setting following safe laboratory practises. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Communicate results in various ways including technical report writing and in forms for a non-technical audience. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Canvas Quizzes 5% Individual Coursework
Assignments 10% Individual Coursework
Test 15% Individual Test
Laboratories 25% Individual Coursework
Tutorials 5% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Canvas Quizzes
Final Exam


A Tuākana mentor will be involved in this course and their details will be made available to students in week 1. 

Key Topics

The course is split into defined learning areas where various aspects of synthetic chemistry will be taught:
1. Use of spectrometry and spectroscopy in structural determination of molecules (2 weeks)
2. Methods to separate molecules (2 weeks)
3. Organic reaction chemistry (5 weeks)
4. Organometallic chemistry (3 weeks)

Special Requirements

Must complete laboratory/practical work and comply with all health and safety regulations whilst in the laboratory.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 36 hours of lectures, 6 hours of tutorials , 18 hours of in-laboratory time and 12 hours of laboratory write-ups, 28 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 50 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs and tutorials to receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials and labs will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable with some activity fortnightly.

Learning Resources

Lecture notes and laboratory manuals will be provided via Canvas

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode of this course may change in accordance with changes to New Zealand Government recommendations. Updates for this course will be provided on the course Canvas page.

Level 1: All main teaching activities will be conducted on campus and in person.
• Lectures: on campus, recorded lectures will be available.
• Labs, tutorials: on campus, remote versions will not be available.
• Tests, exams: on campus, you must attend in person unless you are unwell or other circumstances outside your control prevent you from attending. You must complete the exam to pass the course.

Level 2: Some teaching activities will be conducted on campus with remote versions available
• Lectures: delivered remotely, available at the timetabled time and recorded lectures will be available.
• Labs, tutorials: on campus, remote versions will be available.
• Tests and quizzes: delivered remotely at timetabled time.
• Exams: delivered remotely at timetabled time. You must complete the exam to pass the course.

Level 3/4: All teaching activities are remote
• Lectures, labs and tutorials: delivered remotely, available at the timetabled time and recordings of the sessions/online versions will be available.
• Tests and quizzes: delivered remotely at timetabled time.
• Exams: delivered remotely at timetabled time. You must complete the exam to pass the course.

This course may be taken remotely, including tests and exams, if you meet Ministry of Health guidelines and receive an exemption, or are unable to attend because of border restrictions.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 18/06/2021 10:54 a.m.