Third year chemistry optional modules: some myths – OurWarwick

Third year chemistry optional modules: some myths

Second year chemists, if you ask chemists from upper years about their opinions on third year chemistry modules, you’ll hear their personal opinions. Here I share mine which I feel like might just sound a little different from what others have to say.


Energy is an easy module.

It is definitely an easy module if you love solid states in second year; otherwise not. A large part of the module for my year was p-n junctions that I absolutely adore so it was fine but do not be deceived by the general sentiment of ease that was around certainly when I was picking my modules. It is a third year module for an undergraduate chemistry degree – it was never meant to be easy and it never will be. You will have to put the effort in. Having said that, it is one of those modules that have a story. It flows really well.


Bioorganic chemistry has more biology than bioinorganic and coordination chemistry.

I find that some are not great fans of biology. Nevertheless, there is a difference between the two modules in terms of the nature of biology discussed and I am going to give you the answer that others might not. I genuinely think that bioinorganic has a lot more biology than bioorganic. Ultimately, I think it comes down to what sort of biology you are trying to run away from. What I don’t enjoy is having to memorise things about DNA and RNA etc and learning about disease and so on. However bioorganic was basically organic synthesis of big biological molecules but we never really needed to learn any of the biological context. It was organic chemistry but just with bigger molecules than we might otherwise see in organic chemistry. Arrow-pushing and drawing rings was an integral part of the module and the second half was actually biophysical chemistry and we learnt more in depth about supramolecular interactions. Some of my mates doing bioinorganic were instead finding themselves learning the real juicy biology so this is the choice to make. Bioorganic is hard core organic chemistry and bioinorganic and coordination chemistry is more hard core inorganic chemistry coupled with human biology. Read the material the department provides online and make an informed choice!


No one finishes the polymers exam.

I really don’t think this was the case. If you know what you’re doing, you can answer the questions in the time available. If not, you can sit there for eternity and still not finish. I know this sounds harsh but please if you like polymers, pick the module. It is really well organised into blocks, and is something very interesting especially when it comes to colloids. Think back to the lab on micelles – you learn more about them. There are graphs and maths and diagrams. It was great fun.


Above are some of the things I definitely heard going around and while I am very happy with the options I picked in the end, if you are considering picking your modules based on any of the above, I’d say – think again!

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