Chemistry involves the study of the properties and behaviour of matter. It is an academic, experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, Chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as Medicine, Biological Science and Environmental Science, and serves as useful preparation for employment.
Despite the exciting and extraordinary development of ideas throughout the history of chemistry, certain things have remained unchanged. Observations remain essential at the very core of chemistry, and this sometimes requires decisions about what to look for. The scientific processes carried out by the most eminent scientists in the past are the same ones followed by working chemists today and, crucially, are also accessible to students in schools. The body of scientific knowledge has grown in size and complexity, and the tools and skills of theoretical and experimental chemistry have become specialised.
Through studying this course students will apply and use scientific facts and concepts, scientific methods and techniques, scientific terminology, and methods of presenting scientific information. They construct, analyse and evaluate hypotheses, scientific methods, techniques and explanations. Students must demonstrate personal skills of cooperation, perseverance and responsibility appropriate for effective scientific investigation and problem-solving. They will develop manipulative skills necessary to carry out scientific investigations with precision and safety. As informed individuals students will be able to apply their learning to everyday contexts and issues.
The Diploma Programme Chemistry course includes the essential principles of the subject but also, through selection of an Option, allows some flexibility in the course. The course is available at both Standard Level (150 hours), and Higher Level (240 hours), and therefore accommodates students who wish to study Chemistry as their major subject in higher education and those who do not.
Students in both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) will study eleven core topics:
- Stoichiometric Relationships
- Atomic Structure
- Chemical Bonding and Structure
- Chemical Kinetics
- Acids and Bases
- Redox Processes
- Organic Chemistry
- Measurement and Data Processing/Analysis
Students doing HL will also study ten Additional Higher Level (AHL) topics which are extensions from a number of those indicated above.
The Option that SL and HL students will study will be one of:
- Medicinal chemistry