General and organic chemistry (2024)

Course manager

Lone Hjorth

Semester schedule

Autumn (13-week period)



Language of instruction


Course type



Admission requirements for the Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology programme


The course will be focused on giving the students a basic knowledge on general and organic chemistry, with particular focus on topics of relevance within the academic field of biotechnology. This includes enabling students to perform calculations and analysis of simple chemical systems, to write reaction equations, and to understand pathways of organic synthesis. Furthermore, the practical part of the course should enable the students to perform and conclude on simple chemical experiments, and to comply with current safety regulations.


  • The chemical language: comprising naming
  • The electron configuration of atoms: comprising orbitals, quantum numbers, the Aufbau principle, Hund's rule, Pauli's principle, the construction and properties of the periodic system, ionisation energy, and electron affinity
  • Chemical bonding: comprising the Lewis model, the VSEPR model, valence bond theories, hybridisation, resonance, and electronegativity
  • Chemical equilibrium: comprising Le Chartelier's principle and equilibrium constants
  • Acid-base equilibrium: comprising speciation diagrams, pH, buffer systems, Brøndsted and Lewis definitions, and titration
  • Redox reactions
  • Bonding in and spatial structure of carbon compounds
  • The IUPAC nomenclature
  • Synthesis, reactivity, and physical properties of simple organic compounds studied according to functional groups (alkanes, cyclo-alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols and phenols, ethers, aromatics, aldehydes, thiols, thioethers, ketones, carboxylic acids, acid derivatives, nitriles, esters, amides, and amines)
  • Reaction mechanisms and introduction to organic synthesis
  • Chirality
  • Spectroscopy targeted at organic identification

The purpose of the laboratory part of the course (equal to 4 ECTS) is to illustrate, explicate and entrench theoretical principles through practical exercises comprising basic chemical unit processes (the production of dissolution pursuant to standards, pH measurement, titration, etc.). The students acquire knowledge about synthetic and analytical methodologies within general and organic chemistry. The laboratory instruction will be preceded by a safety course, comprising:

  • Introduction to good experimental laboratory practice targeted at preventing hazardous situations and accidents
  • Risk assessment
  • The use of safety data sheets
  • Coping with accidents
  • Waste and refuse handling
  • Basic fire fighting

Learning targets

On completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to:


  • Explain the basic laws, principles, concepts, naming and methods of chemistry within the course's topic areas
  • Describe chemical reactions through balanced reaction equations
  • Knowledge of basic chemical thermodynamics
  • Explain acid-base equilibrium and pH calculations
  • Know the basic chemistry of transition metals from a biotechnological perspective
  • Know the functional groups within organic chemistry and their significance to reactivity, reaction mechanisms and biochemistry


  • Apply and combine definitions and formula from the topic areas of the course
  • Analyse chemistry written as text and translate this into chemical equations
  • Perform calculations for the solution of basic problems within general and organic chemistry
  • Assess degrees of accuracy and use units correctly
  • Perform simple chemical experiments, comprising simple chemical analyses with an acceptable degree of precision


  • Link knowledge about chemical bonding, acid-base equilibrium and organic chemistry with biotechnology
  • Explain theory and data processing in chemical experiments
  • State reasons for the selection of simple experimental techniques
  • Use IT by way of spreadsheets in the treatment and reporting of own results
  • Demonstrate good laboratory practice focused on safety

Teaching method

Teaching in class, problem solving and laboratory exercises

Qualifications for examination participation

  • Participation in compulsory safety course and laboratory exercises and acceptance of laboratory reports
  • Approval of all written assignments

All course work shall be executed and submitted pursuant to guidelines set out by the course manager.

Examination and aids

  • Written examination in general and organic chemistry. Duration of examination: 4 hours. 

Permitted aids: Textbook, notes, laboratory reports, molecular models, and mathematical programme/spreadsheet or similar. No access to the internet.

  • Oral examination in general and organic chemistry. Duration of the examination: 30 min. Preparation time: 30 min.

Permitted aids: Textbook, notes, molecular models. NO ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

The final assessment shall comprise the written and the oral examination equally (50:50).

The form of examination at a 3rd attempt may vary from the above. 




The 7-point grading scale