SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2F721866
Module Leader Kaitlin Ramsay
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Chemical Science
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Natural Resource Management or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module explains fundamental concepts of environmental science. This includes a study of the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, physical and chemical processes in the environment, and how they can affect human activities (and vice versa). A particular focus of the module is to introduce the student to some of the background of general chemistry. This knowledge is underpinned with practical chemical, analytical, and communication skills. The chemistry element develops the practical skills necessary to obtain raw scientific data, as may be relevant to environmental managers, and to interpret it. It will also provide fundamental chemical knowledge for application to other disciplines for students whose programme does not contain further modules in Chemistry. Similarly, other relevant science areas that are relevant to environmental managers will be explored in greater depth, for example ecology, water quality, air quality.


The atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere: physical structure of the Earth; water and carbon cycles; effects on the environment and interaction with human activities. The biosphere: structure of ecosystems; biogeochemical cycles; photosynthesis; soil fertility. Chemical principles: the elements; atomic and molecular structure in the environment; organic and inorganic compounds and structures; methods for chemical analysis.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module the student should be able to:Describe the physical structure of the Earth and explain how this impacts on human activities at global and local levels (A1, A4, A5, A6, A9, B1, D2, D3)Explain the basic interactions between biological systems and their environments (A1, A6, A9, B1, D2, D3)Explain the nature of carbon, water and other natural cycles, and their importance to human activities (A1, A2, A5, A9,B1, D2, D3)Explain the properties of chemical elements in the environment and understand basic chemical reactions in the environment (A1, A9, D2, D3)Know the key terms relating to atomic structure and how to use them in the correct contextUnderstand the concept of chemical bonding and how to apply it to chemical formulaeUse the concept of oxidation and reductionApply the mole concept to simple equationsRelate atomic structure to periodicityUse the concept of structure of organic compoundsRelate the properties of organic compounds to functional groups

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module utilises tutorials and lectures and laboratory practicals. The communication skills of the student are developed by the integration of the chemical and IT skills resulting in the students being able to express themselves clearly in writing , orally and by using computer based presentations. Learning and teaching strategies will be developed and implemented, appropriate to student's needs, to enable all students to participate fully in the programme. This module will be taught by an integrated package of lectures reinforced by practical work and tutorials. Students will study and solve real world analytical problems encouraging divergent thinking and broader, deeper learning. Students will take part in practical laboratory work which will enhance data acquisition and manipulation skills, individual and group working skills, technical report writing skills and communication skills in general. Use of state of the art equipment will enhance their employability. Through the use of the managed learning environment GCU Learn, students will become more engaged, flexible and independent in their learning as there will be a wide range of learning resources available on line. In addition to the core module content, links to relevant external application notes and videos from sources around the world will be made available. Students will receive individualised feedback on their performance through one-to-one contact with tutors at tutorials and through the timely return of marked coursework, which will reinforce the students' learning."

Indicative Reading

General Chemistry: Authors :- Ebbing, Darrell D, Gammon, Steven D: Publisher:- Houghton Mifflin; Publication Date:- 2001;ISBN:0618141014 Fundamentals of General, Organic and Biological Chemistry; Author:- Holum, John R; Publisher:- John Wiley and Sons Ltd; Publication Date,1997; ISBN: 0471175749 Jackson A. and Jackson J. Environmental Science: The Natural Environment and Human Impact, 2nd edition, Prentice- Hall (2000) Harrison R.M. Pollution: Causes, Effects and Control. Royal Society of Chemistry (2001)

Transferrable Skills

Effective written and oral communication (D5, D14) Practical laboratory and fieldwork skills (B2, C1, C3, D5) The student will gain skills in practical Science, communication and personal development. The laboratory skills will involve developing data acquisition, data handling and simple problem solving skills. The communication skills will have written, oral and computer based presentation dimensions.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 140.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
CW1 n/a 30.00 35% Log Book(Learning Outcomes 4,5 & 6)
TS1 2.00 70.00 35% Exam (Learning Outcomes 1,2,3 & 4)