Minor in Chemistry

Key Information

School of Natural Sciences (SoNS)
N Sukumar
SNU undergraduate students who are not majoring in Chemistry may choose to earn a Minor in Chemistry upon successfully completing the courses listed below plus elective courses from the Chemistry undergraduate offerings, for a Total of 24 Credits. Courses from among this list taken as part of a student’s non-Chemistry Major requirement also count towards the Minor in Chemistry.
Course code
Chemical Principles

This course will focus on introductory chemical principles, including periodicity, chemical bonding, molecular structure, equilibrium and the relationship between structure and properties. Students will explore stoichiometric relationships in solution and gas systems which are the basis for quantifying the results of chemical reactions. Understanding chemical reactivity leads directly into discussion of equilibrium and thermodynamics, two of the most important ideas in chemistry. Equilibrium, especially acid/base applications, explores the extent of reactions while thermodynamics helps us understand if a reaction will happen. The aim of the laboratory will be to develop your experimental skills, especially your ability to perform meaningful experiments, analyze data, and interpret observations. This is a required course for Chemistry majors, but also satisfies UWE requirements for non-majors.


  1. Atomic structure, Periodic table, VSEPR, Molecular Orbital theory, and biochemistry:
    1. Introduction: why chemistry in engineering? Concept of atom, molecules, Rutherford’s atomic model, Bohr’s model of an atom, wave model, classical and quantum mechanics, wave particle duality of electrons, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Quantum-Mechanical Model of Atom, Double Slit Experiment for Electrons, The Bohr Theory of the Hydrogen atoms, de Broglie wavelength, Periodic Table.
    2. Schrodinger equation (origin of quantization), Concept of Atomic Orbitals, representation of electrons move in three-dimensional space, wave function (Y), Radial and angular part of wave function, radial and angular nodes, Shape of orbitals, the principal (n), angular (l), and magnetic (m) quantum numbers, Pauli exclusion principle.
    3. Orbital Angular Momentum (l), Spin Angular Momentum (s), spin-orbit coupling, HUND’s Rule, The aufbau principle, Penetration, Shielding Effect, Effective Nuclear Charge, Slater’s rule.
    4. Periodic properties, Ionization Energies of Elements, Electron affinities of elements, Periodic Variation of Physical Properties such as metallic character of the elements, melting point of an atom, ionic and covalent nature of a molecule, reactivity of hydrides, oxides and halides of the elements.
    5. Lewis structures, Valence shell electron pair repulsion (VSEPR), Valence-Bond theory (VB), Orbital Overlap, Hybridization, Molecular Orbital Theory (MO) of homo-nuclear and hetero-nuclear diatomic molecules, bonding and anti-bonding orbitals.
    6. Biochemistry: Importance of metals in biological systems, Fe in biological systems, Hemoglobin, Iron Storage protein - Ferritin]

2. Introduction to various analytical techniques:

UV-Visible Spectroscopy, IR Spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, X-Ray crystallography

Spectroscopy: Regions of Electromagnetic Radiation, Infra-Red (IR) Spectroscopy or Vibrational Spectroscopy of Harmonic oscillators, degree of freedom, Stretching and Bending, Infrared Spectra of different functional groups such as OH, NH2, CO2H etc., UV-Vis Spectroscopy of organic molecules, Electronic Transitions, Beer-Lambert Law, Chromophores, principles of NMR spectroscopy, 1H and 13C-NMR, chemical shift, integration, multiplicity,

X-ray crystallography: X-ray diffraction, Bragg’s Law, Crystal systems and Bravais Lattices

  1. The Principles of Chemical Equilibrium, kinetics and intermolecular forces:
  • Heat & Work; State Functions
  • Laws of thermodynamics
  • Probability and Entropy
  • Thermodynamic and Kinetic Stability
  • Determination of rate, order and rate laws
  • Free Energy, Chemical Potential, Electronegativity
  • Phase Rule/Equilibrium
  • Activation Energy; Arrhenius equation
  • Catalysis: types; kinetics and mechanisms
  • Electrochemistry
  • Inter-molecular forces

 4. Introduction to organic chemistry, functional group and physical properties of organic compounds, substitution and elimination reaction, name reactions and stereochemistry

Texts & References:

  1. Chemical Principles - Richard E. Dickerson, Harry B. Gray, Jr. Gilbert P. Haight
  2. Valence - Charles A. Coulson [ELBS /Oxford Univ. Press]
  3. Valence Theory - J. N. Murrell, S. F. A. Kettle, J. M. Tedder [ELBS/Wiley]
  4. Physical Chemistry - P. W. Atkins [3rd Ed. ELBS]
  5. Physical Chemistry - Gilbert W. Castellan [Addison Wesley, 1983]
  6. Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach -Donald A. McQuarrie, J.D . Simon
  7. Inorganic Chemistry:  Duward Shriver and Peter Atkins.
  8. Inorganic Chemistry: Principles of Structure and Reactivity by James E. Huheey,
  9. Ellen A. Keiter and Richard L. Keiter.
  10. Inorganic Chemistry: Catherine Housecroft, Alan G. Sharpe.
  11. Atkins' Physical Chemistry, Peter W. Atkins, Julio de Paula.
  12. Strategic Applications of Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis, Author: Kurti Laszlo et.al
  13. Classics in Stereoselective Synthesis, Author: Carreira Erick M & Kvaerno Lisbet
  14. Molecular Orbitals and Organic Chemical Reactions Student Edition, Author: Fleming Ian
  15. Logic of Chemical Synthesis, Author: Corey E. J. & Xue-Min Cheng
  16. Art of Writing Reasonable Organic Reaction Mechanisms /2nd Edn., Author: Grossman Robert B.
  17. Organic Synthesis: The Disconnection Approach/ 2nd Edn., Author: Warrer Stuart & Wyatt Paul

Other reading materials will be assigned as and when required.

Prerequisite: None.

Chemical Equilibrium

In this course, we adopt a case studies approach to understanding thermodynamic principles already familiar to students from earlier courses. In class we will explore real chemical questions involving equilibrium, acid base chemistry, electrochemistry, surface phenomena and solution chemistry by reading and discussing research papers.


Entropy and Information

  • Absolute temperature
  • Shannon Entropy

Thermodynamics & Thermochemistry

  • First, second and third laws of thermodynamics and their applications in chemistry
  • Enthalpy change and its impact on material science and biology
  • Enthalpies of formation and reaction enthalpies
  • Internal energy, entropy, Gibbs free energy
  • Ideal Gas Law
  • Kinetic Theory of Gases
  • Design of an air bag
  • Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution

Phase Equilibria

  • Phase diagrams and impact on material sciences
  • Phase transitions
  • Chemical equilibrium and its impact on technology and biochemistry
  • Changes in equilibria with temperature and pressure
  • Colligative properties
  • Raoult's Law
  • Ideal and non-ideal mixtures

Acid-base equilibria

  • Open systems
  • Soil Equilibria & Acid Rain

Chemical Kinetics

  • Determination of rate, order and rate laws
  • Impact of Chemical Kinetics on Biochemistry
  • Oxidation of glucose in biological systems


  • Activation energy
  • Arrhenius equation
  • Kinetics; Mechanisms; Enzymes
  • Reducing Air Pollution from Automobiles

Diffusion across membranes

  • Osmosis and reverse osmosis
  • Design of a water filter
  • Adsorption and Chromatography
  • Ion Exchange columns and water purification

Electrochemistry in biology

  • Nernst Equilibrium Potential
  • Voltage-gated ion channels
  • Photosynthesis and solar cells

Protein-ligand binding

  • Binding free energy
  • Force fields
  • Empirical potentials
  • Conformational freedom
  • Docking & scoring computer lab

Statistical Thermodynamics

  • Microcanonical, Canonical and Grand Canonical Ensembles
  • Partition function
  • Molecular Dynamics computer lab
  • Monte Carlo simulations computer lab
  • Membrane Protein Simulations computer lab

Molecular Reaction Dynamics

  • Transition State
  • Effect of translational and vibrational kinetic energy


  1. Physical chemistry by Peter Atkins, Julio De Paula. Edition: 9th ed. South Asia Edition. Publisher: UK Oxford University Press 2011
  2. Physical chemistry by Gilbert W. Castellan, Edition: 3rd ed. Publisher: New Delhi. : Narosa Publishing House, 1985, 2004 
  3. Basic Physical Chemistry: The Route to Understanding by E. Brian Smith      ISBN:978-1-78826-293-9 Publisher: World Scientific
  4. Elements of Classical Thermodynamics for Advanced Students of Physics by A. B. Pippard [Paperback] ISBN:9780521091015
  5. A Farewell to Entropy: Statistical Thermodynamics Based on Information by Arieh Ben-Naim   ISBN:978-1-270-706-2 Publisher: World Scientific
  6. Physical Chemistry by Thomas Engel, Philip Reid. Publisher: New Delhi Pearson 2006

Other reading materials will be assigned as and when required.

Prerequisites: Chemical Principles (CHY111).

Physical Methods in Chemistry

Analyses of compounds are an integral aspect of chemistry. We get to know the structure, spatial orientation and purity of compounds we synthesize through analysis which helps us to advance in our investigation. To address this purpose a bevy of instruments ranging from UV spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy to High Pressure Liquid Chromatography are available. However accurately understanding the output from these instruments is an essential attribute for a successful chemist. The purpose of this course is to familiarize the students with the basic principles of spectroscopic and diffraction methods that are instrumental to the analysis of molecules and structures in the day-to-day life of a chemist. In this course, we will learn to interpret and understand working of various types of analytical instruments commonly used for analysis in a chemistry lab.
UV-visible spectroscopy: Beer–Lambert law, types of electronic transitions, effect of conjugation. Concept of chromophore and auxochrome. Bathochromic, hypsochromic, hyperchromic and hypochromic shifts, Woodward–Fieser rules, Woodward rules, introduction to fluorescence.
Vibrational spectroscopy: Molecular vibrations, Hooke’s law, Modes of vibration, Factors influencing vibrational frequencies: coupling of vibrational frequencies, hydrogen bonding, electronic effects, The Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, Calibration of the Frequency Scale, Absorbance and Transmittance scale, intensity and position of IR bands, fingerprint region, characteristic absorptions of various functional groups and interpretation of IR spectra of simple organic molecules, basic mention of Raman Spectroscopy including the mutual exclusion principle, Raman and IR active modes of CO2.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy: Spinning nucleus, effect of an external magnetic field, precessional motion and precessional frequency, precessional frequency and the field strength, chemical shift and its measurement, factors influencing chemical shift and anisotropic effect, proton NMR spectrum, influence of restricted rotation, solvents used in NMR, solvent shift and concentration and temperature effect and hydrogen bonding, spin-spin splitting and coupling constants, chemical and magnetic equivalence in NMR, Lanthanide shift reagents, factors influencing the coupling constant, germinal coupling, vicinal coupling, heteronuclear coupling, deuterium exchange, proton exchange reactions.
Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy: Derivative curves, g values, Hyperfine splitting
X-ray Diffraction: X-ray and diffraction of X-rays by atoms, Bragg’s law, lattice, crystal systems, planes and Miller indices, reciprocal lattice, crystal growth and mounting, diffractometer operation, recording diffraction pattern, reflection analysis and preliminary structure determination. ,
Mass spectrometry: Basic principles, basic instrumentation, electron impact ionization, separation of ions in the analyzer, isotope abundances, molecular ions and metastable ions, basic fragmentation rules, factors influencing fragmentation, McLafferty rearrangements, chemical ionization.
Data Analysis: Uncertainties, errors, mean, standard deviation, least square fit.


  1. Spectroscopy of organic compounds, 6th Edition by P. S. KALSI, New Age International Publishers.
  2. Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds, 6th Edition by R. M. Silverstein and F. X. Webster, Wiley Student Edition.
  3. Molecular Fluorescence: Principles and Applications. Bernard Valeur, Wiley-VCH
  4. X-ray structure determination: A Practical Guide (2nd Ed.) by George H. Stout and Lyle H Jensen, Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1989.

Prerequisites: Chemical Principles (CHY111), Basic Organic Chemistry-I (CHY122).

Basic Organic Chemistry I
  1. Intermolecular forces of attraction: van der Waals forces, ion-dipole, dipole-dipole and hydrogen bonding
  2. Homolytic and heterolytic bond fission.
  3. Hybridization- Bonding
  4. Electron displacements: Inductive, electromeric, resonance, hyperconjugation effect
  5. Reaction intermediate- their shape and stability
    • a. carbocations,
    • b. carbanions,
    • c. free radicals,
    • d. carbenes,
    • e. benzynes
  6. Acidity and basicity of organic molecules: Alkanes/Alkenes, Alcohols/Phenols/Carboxylic acids, Amines pKa, pKb.
  7. Electrophiles and nucleophiles. Nucleophilicity and Basicity
  8. Aromaticity and Tautomerism
  9. Molecular chirality and Isomerism
    • a. Cycloalkanes (C3 to C8): Relative stability, Baeyer strain theory and Sachse Mohr theory.
    • b. Conformations and Conformational analysis: Ethane, n-butane, ethane derivatives, cyclohexane, monosubstituted and disubstituted cyclohexanes and their relative stabilities.
  10. Stereochemistry (Structural- and Stereo-isomerism)
    • Molecular representations: Newman, Sawhorse, Wedge & Dash, Fischer projections and their inter conversions.
  11. Geometrical isomerism in unsaturated and cyclic systems: cis–trans and, syn-anti isomerism, E/Z notations. Geometrical isomerism in dienes- Isolated and conjugated systems, determination of configurations.
  12. Chirality and optical isomerism: Configurational isomers. Molecules with one or two chiral centres- constitutionally symmetrical and unsymmetrical molecules; Enantiomers and diastereomers. Optical activity, disymmetry, meso compounds, racemic modifications and methods of their resolution; stereochemical nomenclature: erythro/threo, D/L and R/S nomenclature in acyclic systems. Measurement of optical activity: specific rotation.


    1. Morrison, Robert Thornton & Boyd, Robert Neilson Organic Chemistry, Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd. (Pearson Education), Seventh Edition, 2005.
    2. Finar, I. L. Organic Chemistry (Volume 1), Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd. (Pearson Education), Sixth Edition, 2003.
    3. Finar, I. L. Organic Chemistry (Volume 2: Stereochemistry and the Chemistry of Natural Products), Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd. (Pearson Education). Fifth Edition, 1975.
    4. Graham Solomons, T.W., Craig B. Fryhle Organic Chemistry, Ninth edition
    5. Eliel, E. L. & Wilen, S. H. Stereochemistry of Organic Compounds; First Edition, Wiley: London, 1994.
    6. Clayden, Greeves Warren and Wothers, Organic Chemistry, Oxford University Press.
    7. Oxford Chemistry Primers, Introduction to Organic Chemistry, Oxford University Press.

    Prerequisite: Chemical Principles (CHY111).

    Main Group Chemistry

    The s–block elements and the noble gases:

    1. The s–block elements of Gr – I, Gr – II, their general electronic configuration, trends in I. P., ionic radii; reaction with H, O, N, C, and hydrolytic behaviour of the products.
    2. General metallurgical consideration of these elements.
    3. Differences of Li and Be from other members of their groups (the diagonal relationship).
    4. Isotopes of H, industrial preparation of deuterium, its properties, reactions and uses; ortho–para – hydrogen.
    5. Separation and uses of the noble gases; compounds of Kr and Xe – preparation, properties, structures.

    The p–block elements:

    1. Gr. III. (a) The general group properties * (b) Boron Chemistry – preparation, properties of boranes; Structure and bonding of diborane, Boranine Boron nitrides; electron deficient nature of hydrides, halides and their polymerisation.
    2. Gr. IV (a) The general group properties * (b) Aspects of C and Si chemistry the difference of C and P from the rest of the group elements. Preparation, properties, u ses of the fluoroecarbons, the silanes and the silicones.
    3. Gr. IV (a) The general group properties * (b) N and P – Chemistry: The presence of lone pair and basicity of trivalent compounds; trends in bond angles of hydrides, halides, preparation, properties, structures and bonding of hydrazine, hydroxylamine, hydrazoic acids, the oxides and oxyacids of N, P; d – orbital participation in P–compounds.
    4. Gr. VI (a) The general group properties * (b) S–Chemistry – Preparation, properties, structures and bonding of the oxides, oxyacids (including the thionous, thionic and per–acids), halides, oxy–halides and poly sulphides; d–orbital participation in S–Compounds.
    5. Gr. VII (a) The general group properties * (b) The halogen hydrides, their acidity; Preparation, properties, structures and bonding of the oxides and oxy acids; the inter halogen compounds including polyhalides, the pseudohalides – including their preparation, properties, structures. The cationic compounds of iodine.

    * Note : General group properties : – For each group this includes discussion, on a comparative basis, of major physical and chemical properties, e.g. – i) Physical properties – the electronic configuration; ionisation potential / electron affinity; m.p. – b.p. ; ionic/covalent radii etc. ii) Chemical properties – Various oxidation states and their relative stability (redox behaviour in solution, wherever applicable), higher stability of the higher oxidation states for the heavier members; gradual changes of the ionic/covalent character of the compounds from lighter to heavier members; the relative acidity, amphoteric, basic characteristics of the oxides and formation of oxocations (wherever applicable); examples of compounds in all the oxidation states, in particular, the unusual (rare) oxidation states being stabilised through coordination; hydrides, halides (including the halo complexes) and their hydrolytic behaviour; dimerization and/or polymerization through halogen bridges (wherever applicable) etc. iii) Common natural sources of the elements.

    Acid-Base / Ionic Equilibrium / Non-aqueous solvents, reduction.


    1. Inorganic Chemistry:  Duward Shriver and Peter Atkins.
    2. Inorganic Chemistry: Principles of Structure and Reactivity by James E. Huheey, Ellen A. Keiter and Richard L. Keiter.
    3. Inorganic Chemistry: Catherine Housecroft, Alan G. Sharpe.
    4. Atkins' Physical Chemistry, Peter W. Atkins, Julio de Paula.
    5. Cotton F.A. and Wilkinson, G. Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
    6. Sharpe, A.G. Inorganic Chemistry
    7. Douglas, B.; McDaniel, D.H.; Alexander, J.J. Concepts and Models of Inorganic Chemistry
    8. Greenwood, Norman, and A. Earnshaw. Chemistry of Elements. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science, 1997. ISBN: 9780750633659

    Other reading materials will be assigned as and when required.

    Prerequisite: Chemical Principles (CHY111).