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Major: Chemistry

Major Details



Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

6cp from
Foundations of Chemistry (3)
General Chemistry (3)
Organic and Biological Chemistry - The Chemistry of Life (3)
Foundations of Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences 1 (3)
Foundations of Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences 2 (3)

200 level

6cp from
Analysis of Measurement (3)
Synthesis (3)
Organic Synthesis (3)
Physical and Environmental Chemistry I (3)
Chemical Analysis I (3)

300 level

Chemistry Capstone (3)
Physical and Environmental Chemistry II (3)
Chemical Analysis II (3)
6cp from
Organic and Biological Chemistry A (3)
Organic and Biological Chemistry B (3)
Medicinal Chemistry (3)
Physical and Environmental Chemistry II (3)
Chemical Analysis II (3)
Protein Discovery and Analysis (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program Chemistry is the science of analysing, transforming or manipulating substances and the molecular interpretation of the world around us, and it is concerned with the study of the interactions of matter and energy. One of the main functions of the chemist is to produce new substances or to understand how substances are formed and removed in the environment. Chemistry has an important effect on our economy by playing a vital role in developing new technologies and influencing all human activity.

The Major in Chemistry at Macquarie University develops work- and research-readiness for our graduates. The practice of Chemistry, synthesis and analysis, is taught through a combination of theory, practice and authentic experience, encompassing coursework, laboratory exercises, work- and research-laboratory placements.

It is intended that the Major in Chemistry will be accredited by the Australian Chemistry professional association, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and thus graduates will be automatically eligible for membership of the Institute.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. exhibit broad knowledge of the principles and concepts of chemistry (K, P)
2. apply your knowledge of chemistry to theoretical and practical problems and tasks (K, P)
3. investigate and solve qualitative and quantitative problems in the chemical sciences, both individually and in teams (K, T, P)
4. formulate hypotheses, proposals and predictions (K, T, P, I)
5. design and undertake experiments in a safe and responsible manner (K, T, P, I, E)
6. apply recognised methods and appropriate practical techniques and tools, and be able to adapt these techniques when necessary (K, T, P, I, J)
7. collect, record and interpret data and incorporate qualitative and quantitative evidence into scientifically defensible arguments (K, T, P, I, C)
8. synthesize and evaluate information from a range of sources, including traditional and emerging information technologies and methods (T, P, I, C)
9. communicate chemical knowledge through appropriate documentation of the essential details of procedures undertaken, key observations, results and conclusions, and present information with articulate arguments and conclusions, in a variety of modes, to diverse audiences, and for a range of purposes (K, T, P, I, C, J)
10. demonstrate the testable and contestable nature of the principles of chemistry (K, T, I, C)
11. express your understanding of the place and importance of chemistry in the local and global community (C, E, A, J)
12. prove professional and social responsibility by conducting yourself in the relevant and required ethical manner within which chemistry is practised, and demonstrate a capacity for self-directed learning (C, E, A, J).
Learning and Teaching Methods In this program you will be given the opportunity to acquire and develop relevant subject skills, methods, knowledge and understanding of chemistry through a variety of independent and collaborative learning activities. You will engage in structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and guided laboratory exercises and you will also have the opportunity to engage in less structured activities such as open laboratory exercise (research projects in teaching and research laboratories), work placements, and formal and informal presentations.

Learning activities include lectures, tutorials, one-to-one meetings, laboratory classes and personal study and investigations. There are many instances of blended learning activities, in which online and face-to-face modes are combined. Individual and group work undertakings are incorporated into the Major.

You will complete assignments that will engage you in acquiring and presenting information from a variety of sources that include textbooks, reports, databases and articles from the research journals. In many cases, especially in practicals and tutorials you will work collaboratively with other students from this and other programs.

You will learn to communicate effectively using a variety of media and techniques to a wide range of people. Most units of study will involve preparation of reports from practical exercises and the submission of assignments that may range from numerical calculations, essays, or the construction of physical objects.

Within the major there is the opportunity to participate in the Professional and Community Engagement program through placements in the chemistry industry.

Your assessment items will be assessed in a variety of methods, appropriate for the type of work, and feedback will be provided on the level of achievement and areas of improvement.

In some units of study formal peer-assisted learning (PAL) is offered. In most units of study recent graduates of the program are employed as laboratory demonstrators and tutors.

Toward the end of the program the Capstone unit of study allows you to integrate and exhibit your skills and knowledge in an integrative way.
Assessment Assessment is made on a variety of submitted materials and in some cases through observations of students by demonstrators and tutors. These assessments include assignments (including online), in-semester tests, quizzes, practical reports, presentations and physical objects (e.g. samples, models). In the majority of units of study a final examination is included.

The assessments are based on the topics of the units of study, and include the lecture and practicals, and the readings or further study topics set by the lecturers.

Assessment is undertaken by academic staff, demonstrators and tutors. In some cases, assessment may be made by other students (peer assessment) or by people from outside the university, such as work placement supervisors or guest lecturers.

Standards and criteria for coursework, what is assessed and how it is assessed, are contained in each unit guide or may be made available during classes.

The program incorporates both formative and summative feedback. Formative feedback is that which is received whilst you are working on a task. Summative feedback is that received once you have completed a task. Both forms of feedback are important as they provide you with information and guidance on your development and progress.

Feedback may be provided in written form or through discussion with peers and teachers.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. For recognition of prior informal and non-formal learning, please refer to the relevant RPL Plan, which describes the evidential requirements and approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit in this program.

For undergraduate RPL plans visit
For postgraduate RPL plans visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability A major in Chemistry offers a very wide range of job options. Major employers of chemists include academic institutions, industry (manufacturing, biotechnology, mining pharmaceutical, analytical services), government laboratories, patent law, media and public service advisors. Chemists are employed in positions that are important to the community and/or economy such that a shortage of chemists would incur a high risk/high disruption, resulting in significant social and economic costs. A Chemistry Major offers entry into a range of associated careers, such as teaching, management, public policy advising, business and many more that value the critical thinking and problem-solving skills developed within the course of study. Chemistry is also seen as an excellent foundation for entry into postgraduate medicine.

The specific knowledge and skills, and the generic graduate capabilities, obtained in a Major in Chemistry, provide an excellent basis for immediate employment or for progression to further study.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Accreditation Accreditation by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute will be regarded by students and employers as the gold standard for chemistry degree courses. The RACI has a system for accrediting chemistry courses as a prerequisite for normal entry to the Charter.