PSC1031 - Physical chemistry I - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Dr Elizabeth Yuriev

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


Previously coded PSC1071


This unit provides a basic understanding of physical chemistry and together with Physical Chemistry II (PSC1032) provides the conceptual and intellectual foundation for further studies in pharmaceutical science units in 2nd and 3rd year.

Students will develop an:

  1. Understanding of the physicochemical principles that underpin pharmaceutical chemistry, drug design and formulation design;
  2. Ability to undertake calculations concerning the physicochemical properties of pharmaceuticals and aspects of pharmaceutical products;
  3. Ability to measure some fundamental properties of pharmaceutical materials through practical exercises;


At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Define acidity and basicity constants in the context of species in solution, apply the principles of buffering and acid-base titrations, calculate pH of aqueous solutions, and predict drug characteristics (absorption behaviour and solubility) based on their acid/base properties. Identify the most common organic functional groups that exhibit acidic or basic behaviour in aqueous solutions.
  2. Define and calculate thermodynamic properties, explain laws of thermodynamics and concepts of state functions, and relate thermodynamic concepts to the design and function of pharmaceutical products.
  3. Explain the concepts of phase equilibria, sketch and interpret phase equilibria diagrams, estimate physicochemical properties based on phase equilibria diagrams, and relate these parameters to properties of pharmaceutical products.
  4. Describe kinetics terminology, explain kinetic theories, construct rate laws based on experimental data, manipulate integrated rate laws to calculate concentration, relate reaction rates to temperature, and predict stability of pharmaceutical products in temporal terms.
  5. Conduct mathematical calculations involving manipulation of logarithmic and exponential functions, regression and correlation, and integration of simple algebraic functions.
  6. Practice basic laboratory techniques, and relate experimental results to theoretical concepts.
  7. Work effectively in a group to solve problems, present group-workshopped solutions, and manage the group to complete the task (communicating and coordinating group efforts).
  8. Solve problems in a meaningful, systematic, and structured manner.


Written examination (3 hours): 50%; practical test: 10%; practical classes: 10%; tutorials, workshops and quizzes: 25%; Active Learning: 5%.

Workload requirements

Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Thirty six 1-hour lectures (24 face-to-face lectures + 12 hours active learning)
  • Ten 1-hour tutorials (6 small-group and 4 whole class)
  • One 1.5-hour computer lab
  • Ten 3-hour practical laboratories

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)



Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: