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Chemistry

Studying Chemistry at St Edmund Hall as a Visiting Student means world-class tuition in one of the largest and most exciting Chemistry departments in the world. A list of Chemistry courses which are offered at undergraduate level and are available to Visiting Students is given below.

Many Visiting Students in Chemistry take a combination of Core Courses and stay in Oxford for the entire academic year. This enables full integration with the Chemistry course and with our own undergraduate Chemists.

Availability of courses may vary according to term of study. The exact content of your courses will be decided in consultation with your tutor at St Edmund Hall and may depend on what teaching resources are available at the time. Further Courses are only available to Visiting Students with the appropriate academic background (Core Courses are prerequisites).

Core Courses

Inorganic Chemistry
  • 1st year topics: atomic structure and periodic trends; the ionic model and structures of inorganic solids; molecular orbital theory, molecular shapes and symmetry; acids, bases and solution equilibria; introduction to main group and transition metal chemistry.
  • 2nd year topics: general aspects of transition metal and coordination chemistry; bonding in transition and main group molecules; f-element chemistry; organometallic chemistry; physical methods: X-ray diffraction and NMR spectroscopy.
  • 3rd year topics: inorganic and organometallic reaction mechanisms; magnetism and electronic spectroscopy in inorganic chemistry.
Organic Chemistry
  • 1st year topics: Fundamentals of organic chemistry - acidity & basicity, stereochemistry, orbitals & mechanism; Nucleophilic substitution at saturated carbons; Elimination reactions; Addition reactions of alkenes & alkynes; Carbonyl chemistry; Aromatic chemistry; Introduction to biological chemistry (amino acids, peptides, enzymes & DNA).
  • 2nd year topics: Aromatic & heterocyclic chemistry; Conformational analysis and ring chemistry; Stereoelctronic effects; Carbohydrate chemistry; Organic spectroscopy; Physical organic chemistry; Rearrangements; Reactive intermediates (radicals, carbenes, nitrenes & arynes); Heteroatom chemistry; Redox chemistry; Introduction to organic synthesis (retrosynthesis, protecting groups etc.); Nucleic acid chemistry; Enzymology.
  • 3rd year topics: Pericyclic reactions; Organometallic chemistry; Organocatalysis; Radical chemistry; Applications of organic spectroscopy; Stereoselectivity in synthesis; Asymmetric synthesis; Total synthesis; Primary & secondary metabolism.
Physical Chemistry 
  • Concepts: quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, and kinetics.
  • Phases: solids and surfaces, liquids and solutions, perfect and imperfect gases.
  • Applications: electrochemisty, valence, atomic spectroscopy, molecular spectroscopy, NMR, photochemistry, reaction dynamics.

Further Courses

Other more advanced options may be available to those Visiting Students who are suitably qualified. If you have covered much of the material in the Core Courses and you wish to select other topics please see the Undergraduate Course Handbook on the Oxford University Chemistry Department’s website for guidance about what options may be available to you.