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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 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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CHEM 111 or CHEM 191 (with a grade of at least B)
Recommended Preparation
one of MATH 120, MATH 130 or MATH 140
Schedule C
A basic knowledge of calculus is highly recommended.
Dr Anna Garden
Tel: 63 3 479 7928
Location: Science II, 5N3
Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Anna Garden

Lecturers: Professor Keith Gordon
Dr Courtney Ennis

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 Schröedinger equation, its solutions and atomic and molecular orbitals
  • An introduction to computational chemistry
  • Developing a basic understanding of vibrational and rotational spectroscopy
  • 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 three lectures, one tutorial and one 4-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 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 many areas of science

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41
A3 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41