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CHEM301 Physical Chemistry

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) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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CHEM 201 (or prior to 2022, 18 points CHEM 200-level)
Schedule C

The course is intended for BSc students majoring in chemistry and non-majors with an interest in physical processes.


Professor Keith Gordon
Tel +64 3 479 7599
Location: Science II, 1N8b

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Professor Keith Gordon

Lecturers: Dr Anna Garden
Dr Courtney Ennis

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' Physical Chemistry 11th Edition.

Engel, Physical Chemistry: Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy 4th 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 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 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22
Tuesday 12:00-12:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
Wednesday 09:00-09:50 9-14, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 16-20
A3 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 16-20