Core Organic Chemistry C

Unit code: CHEM40442
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by School of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit?: N




 Develop further understanding of synthetic and mechanistic organic and bioorganic chemistry with emphasis on reactive intermediates and biosynthetic pathways


Reactive Intermediates  (Dr R. C. Whitehead, 8 lectures)

  • Carbon-centred radicals structure, generation and synthetic applications
  • Carbenes & nitrenes structure and application in synthetic transformations

Orbital Symmetry (Dr D. Leonori, 8 lectures)

  • Pericyclic processes
  • Introduction to cycloaddition reactions Diels Alder reactions
  • Electrocyclic reactions stereochemistry of ring-opening and ring-closing
  • Sigmatropic rearrangements Cope and Claisen rearrangements

Biosynthetic pathways (Prof. S. Flitsch, 8 lectures)

  • Introduction to Biosynthesis and Metabolism
  • Enzymes, Catalysis and and Cofactors
  • Reactions of the Glycolysis pathway
  • Reactions of the Citric Acid Cycle



Learning outcomes

 Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the ability to:

  • Understand the fundaments of metabolism, including reaction mechanisms and action of cofactors
  • Understand the mechanistic behaviour of reactive intermediates, particularly C-centred radicals
  • Be able to apply this understanding, in problem solving situations, to rationalisation of simple radical reactions as well as more complex syntheses
  • Understand the fundamental of molecular orbital analysis in pericyclic reactions
  • Be able to rationalise the stereochemical outcome of pericyclic reactions


Transferable skills and personal qualities

 Enhance transferable skills in the areas of problem solving and analysis

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 100%

Recommended reading


  • J McMurry, T Begley, The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways, Roberts and Co.
  • J Staunton, Primary Metabolism - A Mechanistic Approach, Clarendon Press
  • J P Clayden, N Greeves, S Warren and P L Wothers, Organic Chemistry, OUP, 2000
  • C J Moody, G H Whitham, Reactive Intermediates, Oxford Chemistry Primer 8
  • I Fleming, Pericyclic Reactions, Oxford Chemistry Primer 67

Feedback methods

Core tutorials and individual feedback from tutors/lecturers.  Students taking this level 4 version of the course will be introduced to more demanding material.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2.5 hours
  • Lectures - 24 hours
  • Tutorials - 3 hours
  • Independent study hours - 70.5 hours

Teaching staff

Andrew Doig - Unit coordinator

Roger Whitehead - Unit coordinator

Daniele Leonori - Unit coordinator

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