Chemistry and the Physical World

An examination of how the properties of atoms and molecules determine the properties and behaviour of matter. The transfer of energy that occurs during chemical and physical processes and the rates of these processes are discussed and rationalised using atomic and molecular properties. Techniques for characterising matter and materials are introduced.

Course code

Qualifications are made up of courses. Some universities call these papers. Each course is numbered using six digits.



The fourth number of the course code shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).



Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.




Course planning information

Course notes

Attendance at the laboratory sessions is compulsory. Students must achieve at least 50% in the Laboratory assessment and 40% or better in each of the Tests to pass the course.

Expected prior learning

Students must have achieved at least 14 NCEA level 3 credits in Chemistry or passed 123.103 or equivalent


Choose just one

The courses listed above have similar content to this one meaning you can only enrol in this course or one of the listed courses. Only one of the courses can be credited towards your qualification.

Learning outcomes

What you will learn. Knowledge, skills and attitudes you’ll be able to show as a result of successfully finishing this course.

  • 1 Apply physical theories to explain how spectroscopic methods can be used to characterise chemical systems.
  • 2 Explain the relationships between the rates and the energetics of physical and chemical processes and the properties of the system.
  • 3 Explain how molecular structure determines physical properties and states of matter.
  • 4 Explain how the atomic and molecular structure of transition metal compounds determine their chemical and physical properties.
  • 5 Demonstrate proficiency with basic practical techniques in the chemistry laboratory and communicate these skills to others.

Learning outcomes can change before the start of the semester you are studying the course in.


Assessment Learning outcomes assessed Weighting
Practical/Placement 1 2 3 4 5 15%
Test 1 2 3 4 10%
Test 1 3 25%
Test 2 3 25%
Test 3 4 25%
Participation 5 0%

Assessment weightings can change up to the start of the semester the course is delivered in.

You may need to take more assessments depending on where, how, and when you choose to take this course.

Explanation of assessment types

Computer programmes
Computer animation and screening, design, programming, models and other computer work.
Creative compositions
Animations, films, models, textiles, websites, and other compositions.
Exam College or GRS-based (not centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by a college or the Graduate Research School (GRS). The exam could be online, oral, field, practical skills, written exams or another format.
Exam (centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by Assessment Services (centrally) – you’ll usually be told when and where the exam is through the student portal.
Oral or performance or presentation
Debates, demonstrations, exhibitions, interviews, oral proposals, role play, speech and other performances or presentations.
You may be assessed on your participation in activities such as online fora, laboratories, debates, tutorials, exercises, seminars, and so on.
Creative, learning, online, narrative, photographic, written, and other portfolios.
Practical or placement
Field trips, field work, placements, seminars, workshops, voluntary work, and other activities.
Technology-based or experience-based simulations.
Laboratory, online, multi-choice, short answer, spoken, and other tests – arranged by the school.
Written assignment
Essays, group or individual projects, proposals, reports, reviews, writing exercises, and other written assignments.