Advanced Physical Chemistry

Module code: CH3203

During your previous two years of study, you will have learnt the core principles of physical chemistry. This module takes it up a notch, and you'll get the chance to explore more advanced principles, theories and processes in physical chemistry- the infrastructure of all of chemistry.

Topics covered

  • The mutual reliance of theory, statistical methods and spectroscopy
  • The Schrödinger equation for light atoms (H, He, Li etc) and simple diatomic molecules (H2+, H2, etc), identifying the various terms as contributions to the potential energy or kinetic energy of the system
  • The symmetry of atomic and molecular wave functions
  • Energy ranking of orbitals
  • How to construct molecular orbital energy level diagrams and use them to infer properties about the bonding within molecules
  • The Hückel theory to calculate the properties of π-bonded molecules and aromatic organic compounds
  • The various forms of molecular motion in terms of separation of their quantum mechanical energy levels
  • Partition functions for simple chemical systems, and how to use them to calculate bulk thermodynamic properties of the system
  • Key processes in the interaction between light and matter, the information content of spectroscopic lines to infer properties of the molecule, the symmetry of energy levels and hence establishing whether the transition is allowed or forbidden


  • 33 hours of lectures
  • 117 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework (25%)
  • Exam, 2 ½ hours (75%)