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CHEM201 Physical Chemistry and its Applications

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

CHEM 201 Physical Chemistry and its Applications 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.

Paper title Physical Chemistry and its Applications
Paper code CHEM201
Subject Chemistry
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,038.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,492.80

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CHEM 111 or CHEM 191 (with a grade of at least B)
Recommended Preparation
MATH 151 or MATH 160 or MATH 170
Schedule C
A basic knowledge of calculus is highly recommended.
Professor Keith Gordon
Tel 64 3 479 7599
Location: Science II, 5N1
Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator: Professor Keith Gordon
Lecturers: Dr Anna Garden, Dr Carla Meledandri
Paper 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 Schroedinger equation, its solutions and atomic and molecular orbitals
  • An introduction to computational chemistry
  • Developing a basic understanding of vibrational and rotational spectroscopy
  • Kinetics
  • Introduction to methods of obtaining chemical kinetic data
  • Derivation and use of simple rate laws
  • 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
Teaching Arrangements
There are 3 lectures, 1 tutorial and 1 four-hour laboratory class each week.
Highly Recommended: Atkins' Physical Chemistry, P. Atkins and J. De Paula (10th Edition)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
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 basicequations 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 many areas of science

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
Thursday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
Friday 11:00-11:50 9-12, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Monday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22
P2 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
P3 Thursday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
T1 Thursday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 15-22