Organic Structure and Reactivity (CHEM3111)


The structure and shape of organic molecules determines their physical properties, their reaction chemistry as well as their biological/medicinal activity. The determination of this structure and understanding its chemical consequences is of fundamental importance in chemistry, biochemistry, medicinal and materials chemistry. This course examines the methods and techniques used to establish the structure of organic molecules as well as the chemistry which dictates the shapes that they adopt. The first part of the course examines the use of modern spectroscopic methods (nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy) which are used routinely to identify organic compounds. The second part of the course examines the chemical consequences of molecular shapes in more depth and looks at the inter-relationship between molecular shape and the processes by which bonds are made and broken (the reaction mechanism). An understanding of these processes allows the outcome of reactions to be predicted, which is an essential tool enabling the construction of complex molecules from simple starting materials.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures and two 4-hour practicals per week for half of semester


Assignment, prac reports and oral, final examination (100%)



Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


(CHEM2401 or CHEM2911 or CHEM2915) and (CHEM2402 or CHEM2912 or CHEM2916)



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.