Chem 560 Research Tools and Special Topics

Course coordinator
List of Modules


Complete Syllabus and FAQ

Modular course

Each 0.5-credit module will be offered by a different faculty member, and each of which will cover the equivalent of ~11 hours worth of delivery (lectures, discussion, hands-on participation, student presentations, etc.) and assessment. The exact modules offered are likely to differ from year to year.


Modules will be offered throughout the Fall, Spring or Summer terms at the discretion of the instructor. There is no set time or classroom for the course. Students should not embark upon this course without a good idea of which three modules they will be taking. These should be chosen in consultation with your research supervisor, who may have some specific recommendations. Students may sit in on modules without enrolling in them with the approval of the instructor.


If you're interested in taking a module just email your potential instructor (see "List of Modules" page)  in the first few weeks of the Fall term, and indicate which modules you would like to take. Earlier notification of the instructors is better, as each module is only offered if sufficient demand exists. Each separate module will require a Pro forma 560 registration that will be filled out by the instructor, the students, with the help of the graduate secretary ("Chem 560" may be taken more than once for credit, provided the topic is different, so the Pro forma registration forms offer a way of tracking the topics that have been completed by each student).

Graduates only

Only graduate students can get credit for the course; it is not offered to undergraduates. The modular nature of the course means it is poorly suited to an undergraduate timetable, and it is desirable to keep numbers relatively low for the each module to allow a somewhat less conventional style of teaching. Undergraduates may sit in on particular modules if they are given permission by the instructor, but will not receive any direct credit for their participation. This situation is most likely for undergraduates doing a 498 or 499 project with direct relevance to a particular topic covered in one of the modules.


If you have registered for a module, your instructor will keep in touch with you about that module. This website offers only an overview of offerings and their timing.


Students must complete three modules, each of which will be worth 0.5 credits. The 1.5 credits earned from completing three modules can take the place of a 1.5-credit lecture course for the purposes of UVic M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree programs in Chemistry. Each completed module will be assigned its own grade and will appear on your transcript as a separate course for use in calculating your GPA.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How do I register for Chem 560?

Just email the instructor to let them know you'd like to take the course. The registration will be done by the instructor and graduate secretary via Pro Forma registration form. ("Chem 560" may be taken more than once for credit, provided the topic is different, so without a Pro forma registration form there would be no way of tracking the topic of the courses). When notified to do so, you'll have to sign a form at the chemistry office.

Q. I'm a grad student who has completed my course requirements, but I'd like to sit in on one (or more) of the modules. Is this OK?

This is unlikely to be a problem unless numbers are just too high for a particular module to handle; most of the faculty are unlikely to mind. However, you won't be assessed and students who are actually taking the course are likely to be given priority for any hands-on sessions. You should email the course coordinator with your interest. You will be added to the email list for the module, and it will be up to the individual instructors as to whether they open the course to other grads. You will get an email notifying you of the decision before the module starts.

Q. Do any modules have prerequisites?

No specific courses are required, but, for example, the heteronuclear NMR module demands that you have already been trained on the use of NMR software. If you are concerned about your lack of background in the general area of a particular module, you should ask the appropriate instructor for more information.

Q. What if there aren't three modules offered this year that I want to take? What if one of my favoured modules is on hiatus?

Each module receives its own grade and its own 0.5 credits. They can be taken as available during different academic years. As long as a total of three modules are taken then the resulting 1.5 credits can be used in place of one lecture course. Make sure to contact the instructor of the module in question to express your interest and to ensure that it will be offered in the following year. There are also 0.5-credit graduate courses offered in some other departments (i.e. Biochemistry) that can be used for your graduate program with permission of your supervisor/committee.

Q. What if some modules turn out to be really hard and some really easy?

Inevitably, some modules will be perceived by some students as a cakewalk and others as challenging; however, this is usually a function of experience rather than the level at which the material is pitched. Grade averages and ranges are reasonably similar between modules and lectures.

Q. How does this relate to Chem 590?

Modules used to be offered under the umbrella of Chem 590 - Directed studies. As of 2011-2012 Chem 560 became an official course of its own. Credit from either 560 or 590 is acceptable to UVic graduate programs in Chemistry.