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Subject Summary: Part II Chemistry

The Part II course builds on the ideas which were presented in the first and second year, and offers students the opportunity to both broaden and deepen their knowledge of chemistry. As the year progresses there is the opportunity for students to narrow their focus somewhat, for example towards chemical biology or chemical physics; however, they can equally well choose to pursue a broad range of topics across all areas of chemistry. 

Practical work is given a prominent place, and the programme of work is designed to continue to develop skills in this area by tackling more sophisticated and open-ended experiments. In addition to conventional practical, there will be the opportunity to do other kinds of continuously assessed work such as learning a language, computer programming or additional mathematical skills. 

For convenience the lectures are organised into three "Levels". To complete the course students will need to obtain four credits at Level 1, three at Level 2 and three at Level 3. One credit is equivalent to a course of 12 lectures. 

The courses offered in Level 1 can be considered as laying the foundations for the whole year. Students who have taken both Chemistry A and Chemistry B in the second year will take four lecture courses (transition metal chemistry, organic synthesis, spectroscopy and theoretical techniques).  Students who have only taken Chemistry B in the second year will take transition metal chemistry, organic synthesis and "Concepts in Physical Chemistry". This course (worth 2 credits) will introduce topics from physical chemistry that will be relevant to further study in inorganic, organic and biological chemistry. 

At Levels 2 and 3 a wide range of lecture courses are offered (from chemical physics through to chemical biology). Students may take any courses that they feel prepared for. The emphasis in the final part of the course is the development of specialised knowledge in particular areas of chemistry, very much with a view to the kind of advanced research-based topics that will be studied in the fourth year (Part III).

The practical course continues throughout the first and second terms. Various options are on offer, included advanced experiments in all areas of chemistry, study of a foreign language, computer programming and mathematical methods. 

Programme Specification: Part II Chemistry

This course is taught by the Department of Chemistry


  1. to build on the knowledge and ideas gained from the Part IB Chemistry courses;
  2. to further develop the theories and ideas studied previously, extending their scope, the complexity of the systems being studied and the need for critical evaluation;
  3. to provide the opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge in particular areas of chemistry up to the level expected for a chemistry graduate;
  4. to exemplify and offer the chance to study areas of chemistry which are of current research interest;
  5. to build on and develop the practical skills gained in Part IB, introducing more sophisticated measurements and preparative techniques, and the design of experiments;
  6. to gain an appreciation of the chemical literature and related data bases and how such information can be accessed and assessed;
  7. (optional) to have the opportunity to study a language (Chinese, French, German, Japanese or Spanish); to gain skills in computer programming; to enhance skills in mathematical methods. 

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should:

  1. be able to apply the ideas and concepts introduced in the course to solve problems, make calculations, make predictions and rationalize trends;
  2. have a deeper appreciation of selected areas of chemistry such as would prepare them for advanced study;
  3. have enhanced practical skills;
  4. have an appreciation of how to find out and assess chemical information;
  5. (optional) have a working knowledge of a foreign language, computer programming or to have gained additional skills in mathematical methods

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, supervisions, practical classes and examples classes


Assessment for this course is through:

  • four unseen written examinations (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1-2);
  • continuously assessed practical work (for aim 5 and learning outcome 3);
  • short tests and/or the submission of other exercises (for aims 6-7 and learning outcomes 4-5);

Courses of Preparation

Essential: NST Part IB Chemistry A and NST Part IB Chemistry B; a specific route is provided for those who have taken only NST Part IB Chemistry B but it is important to realise that the choice within the course will be reduced. No specific route is provided for those who have taken only NST Part IB Chemistry A, but it is possible to access Part II Chemistry from this starting point provided that additional directed reading is taken over the preceding vacation. 

Recommended: Any Part IB NST subject complementary to either Part IB Chemistry A or Chemistry B e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Materials Science, and biological subjects with a molecular focus.

Additional Information

Further information is available on the Course Websites pages.