Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Biopolymer Chemistry and Synthesis CHEM5079

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Chemistry
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course will introduce biopolymers, namely nucleic acids, peptides/proteins, and carbohydrates. Their properties, chemistry, and approaches for synthesis will be discussed.


This course will run for four weeks in Semester 1. Content will be delivered through eight one-hour lectures, a one-hour tutorial and a three-hour workshop.

Requirements of Entry

Available to students enrolled in the MSc in Chemical Biology

Excluded Courses



One piece of coursework consisting of a short report (ca. 1500 words) critically evaluating a recent paper.

One exam covering the lectured content (70 %).

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

To gain a critical understanding of the fundamental chemistry, properties, and chemical methods of synthesis for nucleic acids, peptides/proteins and carbohydrates.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students should be able to:

1. Critically appraise and predict the physical and chemical properties of nucleic acids, peptide/proteins and carbohydrates from their characteristic functional groups.

2. Critically evaluate different methods for peptide, nucleic acid and carbohydrate synthesis

3. Critically evaluate the structure, properties and application of biomimetic polymers.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.