Structure of Our 1st Year Courses

Whichever first-year chemistry course(s) you choose, this is how the course will be broadly organized:

  1. Your contact time will consist of three hours of classes (lectures) a week, a three to four -hour laboratory session once every two weeks, and 11 tutorial hours per semester.
  2. The assigned course grade comprises a term work component and the final examination mark. Term tests are scheduled at regular intervals during the semester. These, together with the laboratory work, account for the term mark. A detailed course syllabus and grading scheme is distributed at the beginning of each semester. It is strongly advised to keep a copy of all course syllabi as it is very likely that you will need them later on.



Attendance at all classes is essential for meaningful learning to take place. The course syllabus will include proposed class content: students are urged to "read ahead" in the relevant chapters of the required course textbook(s). Although certain in-class materials may be made available on the course websites ahead of time, there will be significant additional content that is only covered in class!  You will find that many classes are interactive and include problem-solving as an integral component. Both the course textbook(s) and the associated study guide contain many excellent problems of varying difficulty. Students are encouraged to work at these, to seek help when necessary (see below), and to use the solutions manual appropriately. Supplementary problems will be taken up at the tutorials.



In each course, students are assigned to a tutorial group that meets on a weekly basis. The tutorial allows you to meet in a smaller group with a skilled teaching assistant to discuss any difficulties that you have encountered with course material. Problem-solving skills will be highly emphasized and a short quiz may be written by students that contributes to their final course grade.



Each student will attend a laboratory period once every two weeks. One demonstrator is available to each group of about 16-24 students to discuss problems and questions connected with the assigned experimental work. Each course laboratory manual includes full instructions and some background material, and it is essential that students read the appropriate sections and prepare thoroughly before coming to the laboratory. Although the emphasis is on basic experimental techniques of observation and measurement, some fundamental instrumentation is also introduced. The laboratory mark is typically based on individually-written experimental reports, and an assessment of both the preparation for/performance in laboratory classes.


Assistance: Very important!

The course instructors will announce student hours during which they can be consulted about problems with class material. Tutors and laboratory demonstrators are also very useful sources of extra help. In addition, the departmental Chemistry Learning Centre (CLC) provides students with invaluable opportunities for further study or to review background material. The facility is open to undergraduates  at scheduled times and upper-year tutors are available through a partnership with St. Michael’s College. Details regarding the CLC will be announced in class at the beginning of each semester.