University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Study in the discipline of Chemistry is offered by the School of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

A major in Chemistry will equip you with the knowledge and understanding of molecules and processes that underpin many of the most important aspects of the natural world and new technologies. Through a detailed explanation of chemical structure and change you will be guided through advanced concepts in areas such as photosynthesis, the molecules of life, green energy technologies, new materials and the molecular underpinnings of nanotechnology.

1000-level units of study aim to provide students with an understanding of the molecular basis of the physical properties of materials, the reasons chemical reactions occur and the energy changes involved. Units are offered at different levels depending on whether chemistry was studied at the HSC level or equivalent and the results obtained.

2000-level core unit Molecular Stability & Reactivity provides the mainstream chemistry essential for students planning to major in chemistry and other chemical-related sciences. Selective units Sustainable Chemical Manufacture, Chemistry of Biological Molecules and Chemical Physics allow students to tailor their Chemistry major to fit their interests and career goals. Elective units in Sustainable Chemical Manufacture, Chemistry of Biological Molecules and Chemical Physics with a Workshop in place of a Laboratory class are also available.

3000-level units allow students to specialise in particular areas of chemistry and cover such areas as: synthetic chemistry; materials chemistry; environmental and analytical chemistry; chemical biology; molecular self-assembly; and computational chemistry. Through the chemistry interdisciplinary project unit, students learn to work collaboratively and apply their disciplinary knowledge to tackling real-world problems.

Requirements for completion

The Chemistry major and minor requirements are listed in the Chemistry unit of study table.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9351 4504

School of Chemistry
Chemistry Building F11
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Chemistry will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge in organic, inorganic, physical and theoretical chemistry and integrate conceptual knowledge across subdisciplines.
  2. Apply an integrated knowledge of the importance of chemical processes to our society and well-being across varied social and cultural contexts.
  3. Evaluate how the various analytical tools employed in the chemical laboratory lead to an understanding of chemical structure and mechanisms.
  4. Deploy skills in computing, numeracy and data handling to analyse experimental outcomes and obtain answers to chemical questions.
  5. Collect, collate, synthesise and critically evaluate information from a range of sources to critically analyse chemical concepts and issues.
  6. Communicate concepts and findings in chemistry through a range of modes for a variety of purposes and audiences and respond to challenges using evidence.
  7. Evaluate developments in chemical knowledge and their relevance to current academic and industrial research.
  8. Design, plan, carry out and refine a chemistry experiment, investigation or project.
  9. Work effectively, reflectively and respectfully both as individuals and in teams in the laboratory.
  10. Address authentic problems in chemistry, working professionally and responsibly within collaborative, diverse, interdisciplinary teams.