This unit builds upon the fundamental organic chemistry covered in first year chemistry studies and introduces students to some of the theoretical and practical aspects of synthetic organic chemistry. The theoretical material is presented with an emphasis on understanding the mechanism of reactions to enable students to predict a range of reaction outcomes. Industrially important reactions such as electrophilic substitution reactions and the preparation and properties of common polymers are integral to this unit. Spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques introduced in Analytical Methods 1 are utilised and further explored in this unit. For students interested in teaching chemistry taking the four-unit sequence Chemistry 1A, Chemistry 1B, Analytical Methods 1 and Organic Synthesis adequately prepares students to deliver Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the VCE chemistry program.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


RCS1602 - Chemistry 1B

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Apply basic concepts underpinning synthetic organic chemistry and polymer science based upon modern reaction processes to given problems;  
  2. Employ chemical mechanisms to explain simple organic chemical reactions and explain the factors which influence reactivity in given situations;  
  3. Discuss aromaticity and the common reactions of aromatic compounds, clearly expressing ideas and perspectives;  
  4. Discuss the preparation and properties of common polymers;  
  5. Adapt common practical organic chemistry manipulations and interpret various analytical data including infra-red and nuclear magnetic resonance spectra, in collaboration with others and with responsibility for own output; and  
  6. Evaluate the quality of their own synthesised products and related analytical data and report the findings to peers and demonstrators with initiative and judgement.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Tests (3) (15% each) 45%
Presentation Group Presentation 15%
Laboratory Work Formative and final assessment of lab notebook 25%
Laboratory Work Report 15%
Laboratory work and the development of practical skills are a critical component of this unit. Students must therefore attend all of the laboratory sessions and as the laboratory sessions are a critical part of the Learning Outcomes (specifically Learning Outcome 5) of this Unit, a student MUST pass the laboratory component in order to pass the Unit.

Where to next?

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.