• Offered by Research School of Chemistry
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Chemistry
  • Areas of interest Chemistry
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Malcolm McLeod
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2025
    See Future Offerings

Structural elucidation is essential in all areas of chemistry, from understanding the behaviour of engineered enzymes or functional materials, to the creation of new medicines to treat disease. This course describes the fundamentals of chemical structure and symmetry, and the use of molecular orbital theory and quantum mechanics to understand molecular properties and chemical spectroscopy. It has a major focus on problem solving and acquiring applied skills to deploy concepts of symmetry, spectroscopy, spectrometry and diffraction to define chemical structure across all states of matter. Advanced research-level strategies for elucidating complex structures will be developed by connecting the partial structural information obtained from infra-red spectroscopy (IR), UV-visible spectroscopy, 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectrometry (MS) and X-ray crystallography. 

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Critically analyse symmetry operations and their use in determining the point group of a molecule and the space group of a crystal.
  2. Construct advanced qualitative molecular orbital diagrams for diatomic, triatomic and polyatomic molecules through expert consideration of molecular symmetry.
  3. Critically analyse, interpret and predict vibrational and electronic spectra of molecules through consideration of molecular orbitals and symmetry.
  4. Expertly determine crystal structures from single crystal X-ray diffraction data, including the critical analysis of discrete and extended structural features.
  5. Critically evaluate the roles and limitations of various forms of spectroscopy, spectrometry and diffraction.
  6. Develop complex problem solving strategies and critically apply data derived from infra-red spectroscopy (IR), UV-visible spectroscopy, 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectrometry (MS) and diffraction to deduce the structure of chemical compounds.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Symmetry mid-semester exam (36) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. X-ray Diffraction assignment (18) [LO 1,4,5]
  3. Structure solving assignments (10) [LO 1,5,6]
  4. Spectroscopy and spectrometry end of semester exam (36) [LO 1,5,6]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the session including:

  • Summer session: 10 x 3 hour lectures plus 10 x 3 hour workshops over the intensive 2 week component.
  • Sem 1: Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures plus 1 x 3 hour workshops per week
  • Plus approximately 65 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, workshops and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be active in the Master of Science in Material Science or the Master of Science (Advanced) in Materials Science. Incompatible with CHEM2210.

Prescribed Texts

Organic Structures from Spectra. L D Field. S Sternhell and J R Kalman. 5th edn (John Wiley and Sons. 2013)


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3215 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 In Person N/A

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