Advanced Practical Training

Unit code: CHEM30620
Credit Rating: 40
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Full year
Offered by School of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit?: N




  • To introduce more advanced practical procedures and experimental programmes involving the integration of multiple laboratory skills and techniques.
  • To develop more extended analysis of experimental results involving the integration of taught theory.
  • To develop and practice literature surveying techniques and a critical analysis of the literature.
  • To further develop formal scientific report writing.
  • To encourage greater independence in carrying out practical procedures
  • To develop team working and group study skills
  • To develop independent working skills, such as experiment design, project management, risk assessment and record-keeping through a self-directed group research project.


One of the most important qualities valued by an employer of graduate scientists is an ability to work effectively and constructively with colleagues. The success of research and development projects often requires a combination of skills and competencies, including organisation, knowledge, inspiration, tenacity and a generous helping of endeavour. Working in a small group under the supervision of an academic member of staff, this group project will provide you with the opportunity to develop these attributes in a collaborative scientific context.

This course comprises:

  • In Semester 1, ten weeks of structured experiments in both synthetic and measurement laboratories (five weeks in each) involving training in more advanced techniques
  • In Semester 1, the production of a short group project planning document (one per group) outlining key project goals for the Semester 2 research project. This will be guided by a designated group project supervisor who will define an area for research.
  • In Semester 2, an 8 week experimental project will be undertaken in groups of ca. 4-5 students. An individual report will be generated describing and critically discussing the outcomes from this project.

Teaching and learning methods

  • For the structured experiments (50% of total mark), assessments will be related to each individual experiment (i.e. 5% for each of the ten weeks).
  • For the group research project (50% of total mark), the group project will be assessed as:
  • Project Planning Document – 25 % (Group mark)
  • Individual Report - 50% (Individual mark)
  • Project –execution – 15 % (Individual mark)
  • Group Data Set – 10 % (Group mark)

Learning outcomes

  • After completing this unit students should be familiar with a wide range of techniques and procedures used in modern chemical investigations and should have a firm foundation for pursuing a research project in 4th year with a high level of autonomy.
  • The students should be familiar with literature reviewing, project definition, time and task management, team working and data analysis/reduction. Intra-group presentations will also enable communication skills to be developed.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Problem Solving skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Numeracy Skills
  • Investigative Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • ICT Skills
  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Interpersonal Skills


Assessment methods

  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 25%
  • Report - 70%
  • Practical skills assessment - 5%

Feedback methods

  • For the structured experiments, feedback will be given within each experiment in the form of completed marking sheets with comments from the laboratory graduate teaching assistants.
  • For the group research project the planning stage of the project (25% of project) will be discussed with feedback provided on the marked planning document at the beginning of semester 2. This will also provide an opportunity for a discussion of the progress of the group effort. Additionally, students will be given individual feedback on their personal progress.

Study hours

  • Practical classes & workshops - 240 hours
  • Independent study hours - 160 hours

Teaching staff

Peter Gorry - Unit coordinator

Lu Shin Wong - Unit coordinator

Michael Ingleson - Unit coordinator

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