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CHEM301 Physical Chemistry

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Principles underlying chemical structure, chemical bonding and quantum mechanics, spectroscopy, surface chemistry and colloids and electrochemistry.

CHEM 301 Physical Chemistry focuses on how the fundamental analysis of physical chemistry is applied to gain an understanding of the inter-relationships among and functions of chemical systems. It is designed to provide a mastery of the quantitative analysis of varied chemical systems and an understanding of the physical aspects of chemical systems.

Paper title Physical Chemistry
Paper code CHEM301
Subject Chemistry
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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18 200-level CHEM points
Recommended Preparation
CHEM 201
Schedule C
The course is intended for BSc and BSc(Hons) students majoring in chemistry and non-majors with an interest in physical processes.

Dr Carla Meledandri
Tel: 63 3 479 5377
Location: Science II, 5n2

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Carla Meledandri
Prof Keith Gordon and Dr Anna Garden

Paper Structure

The topics covered in CHEM 301, which build on related material in CHEM 201, are:

  • Surface and colloid chemistry
    Students will be introduced to the concepts of colloid and surface science and their role in many practical and everyday situations.

  • Spectroscopy
    Current uses of spectroscopy in research and industrial applications are discussed, focusing on the concepts underlying spectroscopic techniques and computational methods.

  • Molecular Quantum Mechanics
    The study of quantum mechanics, motivated by the failures of classical mechanics, will be presented and related to modelling in quantum chemistry. Quantum tunnelling will be derived and applied to chemically relevant systems.
Teaching Arrangements
There are three lectures and one 4-hour laboratory class each week.
Atkins, P.W. Physical Chemistry, (8th edn, or earlier), Oxford University Press
Engel, T. and Reid P.J. Physical Chemistry, Benjamin Cummings
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 mastery of the quantitative analysis of varied chemical systems
  • An understanding of the physical aspects of chemical systems
  • 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

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
Tuesday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22
Wednesday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
A2 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22
A3 Thursday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-20