BPS2021 - Synthetic chemistry I: structure and reactivity - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Peter Scammells


Professor Peter Scammells

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


BPS1021 Medicinal Chemistry I: Structure

BPS1022 Medicinal chemistry II: Reactivity and biomolecules


Unit previously coded PSC2021


The ability to make or modify small molecules and to confirm their identity is fundamental to the drug discovery and development process. Synthetic Chemistry I: Structure and Reactivity introduces students to the theoretical principles and practical tools of chemical synthesis, including key analytical techniques (such as NMR and mass spectroscopy) used to structurally elucidate organic compounds. The unit takes a functional group approach to examine the structure of organic molecules and their potential to interact and react with other molecules, an approach that is highly relevant not only to synthetic applications, but also more generally to drug design, drug-target interactions and drug formulation.


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

  1. Analyse the chemical structure of pharmaceutical compounds in regard to their properties (steric, electronic, acid-base) and their reactivity using a functional group approach.
  2. Formulate basic reaction mechanisms using the arrow-pushing formalism.
  3. Apply kinetic and thermodynamic principles to rationalise basic reaction pathways.
  4. Safely and competently perform a basic chemical synthesis, including product purification and collection of analytical data to characterise the product.
  5. Describe the physical basis of selected spectroscopic techniques (primarily mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance) and explain their role in the identification of drug molecules.
  6. Systematically analyse, report and interpret spectroscopic data to characterise small molecule synthesis products.
  7. Clearly and accurately discuss and evaluate experimental data in a written laboratory report format.


End-of-semester examination (50%) and in-semester assessment (50%)

Workload requirements

  • Twelve 1-hour online modules (discovery)
  • Twenty-four 1-hour lectures
  • Six 2-hour applieds
  • Six 4-hour laboratories

See also Unit timetable information

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