Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Chemistry in context:
In this module, you will study particular cases in which disasters occur (for example, explosions, volcanic eruptions, exposure to chemical warfare agents and accidents in the chemical industry), either as a result of human participation or in the natural course of events. We will explore how science, and in particular chemistry, is integral to the understanding and mitigation of such events. You will then focus on an aspect particular disaster and give a short oral presentation on it alongside a written report and press release. Note: this module constitutes the writing component required by the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 13
Private study hours: 137
Total study hours: 150


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Seminar (5 minutes, 20%)
Assignment (5 hours, 20%)
Essay (40 hours, 60%)

Indicative reading

Limitations of Science; Sullivan, J.W.N. (1933)
Slide Rule; The Autobiography of an Engineer; Shute, N. (1956)
War and Peace; Tolstoy, L. (1993) (NB. Epilogue ONLY)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Have a knowledge and understanding of core and foundation scientific chemical, physical and biological concepts, terminology, theory, units, conventions, and laboratory practice and methods in relation to the chemical sciences.
Ability to recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution by the evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information and data.
The ability to use computational methods for the practical application of theory and to use information technology and data-processing skills to search for, assess and interpret chemical information and data.
Skills in essay writing and presenting scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences. The ability to communicate complex scientific argument to a lay audience.
The ability to collate, interpret and explain the significance and underlying theory of experimental data, including an assessment of limits of accuracy.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication.
Generic skills needed for students to undertake further training of a professional nature.
Problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of limited information.
Numeracy and computational skills, including such aspects as error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, correct use of units and modes of data presentation.
Information-retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, including information retrieval through on-line computer searches.
Information-technology skills such as word-processing and spreadsheet use, data-logging and storage, Internet communication, etc.
Interpersonal skills, relating to the ability to interact with other people and to engage in team working within a professional environment.
Time-management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working. Self-management and organisational skills with the capacity to support life-long learning.
Study skills needed for continuing professional development and professional employment.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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