CHEM201 Physical Chemistry and its Applications

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    CHEM201 Physical Chemistry and its Applications

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Chemistry, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    CHEM 111 or CHEM 191 (with a grade of at least B)

    Recommended Preparation: MATH 151 or MATH 160 or MATH 170

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Fundamental physical chemistry and its application to chemical processes in the natural environment. Includes spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and kinetics.

    CHEM 201 Environmental Physical Chemistry is designed to provide a strong basis in many of the principles underlying chemical structure and reactivity. The focus of the paper is on principles considered to be of fundamental significance in all areas of chemistry.

    Course Structure
    The topics covered in CHEM 201 are:
    - Structure, bonding, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy
    - An introduction to quantum mechanics and spectroscopy and the close link between them
    - Developing a basic understanding of the Schrödinger equation, its solutions and atomic and molecular orbitals
    - Developing a basic understanding of vibrational and rotational spectroscopy
    - Kinetics and geochemical cycles
    - Introduction to methods of obtaining chemical kinetic data
    - Derivation and use of simple rate laws
    - Case studies: geochemical cycles and comparison between theory and experiment
    - Thermodynamics in the natural environment
    - Using thermodynamics to obtain information about energy transfer,directions of chemical changes and equilibrium conditions in chemical reactions and phase changes
    - Gaining an understanding of the energetics of chemical systems and cycles
    - Instilling in students an appreciation of the use of thermodynamics in the analysis of chemical systems in nature and in technology

    Learning Outcomes
    Expectations at the completion of the paper:
    - A basic understanding of the physical aspects of chemical systems
    - An understanding of basic elements of molecular spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, kinetics and thermodynamics and the skill to use the basic equations in these topics
    - Self-confidence in laboratory skills and problem solving via a laboratory course that complements the lecture course
    - The ability to analyse rigorously and communicate results in appropriate formats
    - An understanding of how chemical knowledge is applied in a practical, problem-solving context
    - Students who are majoring in chemistry will have acquired knowledge and skills that will enable them to proceed to 300- and 400-level papers in chemistry
    - Students not majoring in chemistry will have acquired knowledge of many of the physical principles of chemistry and experimental skills that will serve them well in

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.