CHEM 560 Research Tools + Special Topics

Modular courses

CHEM 560 covers a variety of 0.5 unit focused short courses. Each 0.5-credit module will be offered by a different faculty member, and each will cover the equivalent of ~11 hours  of course delivery (lectures, discussion, hands-on participation, student presentations, etc.) and assessment. The exact modules offered differ from year to year.

List of Modules (updated March 2021)

Modules are offered depending on student interest and faculty availability. Offerings depend strongly on student demand, so let your interest be known to the instructors EARLY. A total of three 0.5-credit modules are needed to make up a full lecture course's worth of credit. Modules do not need to be completed in the same academic year, as each module will earn the student its own 0.5 credits.

Rough availability is indicated beside each module. Please express your interest to the instructors directly, even if a module is listed as "Off" for the near future, as instructors make their plans for subsequent years based on student demand.

Given the high level of delivery and low number of students, the teaching method and timing may be tailored to your group, and end up considerably less conventional than a standard course. Modules may be delivered at unusual times or in large chunks. Keep an open mind!Cornelia Bohne

Module Title


Latest word on next offering

Modern Making Methods

Scott McIndoe

April-June 2021; please email Scott if interested.

Manufacturing and Characterizing Polymer Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery

Matt Moffitt

January-April 2021; please email Matt if interested.

Mass spectrometry 

Scott McIndoe and Ori Granot

May 2021 term; if interested.

This module is offered every 4 terms: next planned offering is Spring 2021.

Imaging Methods for Cancer Treatment

Magdalena Bazalova-Carter

Last Offered Fall 2020

Photophysics and photochemistry: focus on practical applications

Cornelia Bohne

Last Offered January 2020. Please if interested.

Non covalent interactions and how to study them

Fraser Hof 

 April-June 2019; Please if interested. 

Practical aspects of NMR: getting useful spectra and exploiting heteronuclei

Lisa Rosenberg and Chris Barr

Last offered Summer 2018; please if interested in the next offering

(Fall 2019 at earliest)

Analysis of dynamic equilibrating systems

 Fraser Hof   Please if interested. Last offered May 2017

Fluorescence Methods for Characterizing Molecular Dynamics in Drug Delivery

Cornelia Bohne

January 2019 term. Please if interested

Cell-Based Assays for Drug and Drug Delivery Candidates

Jeremy Wulff

January 2019 term. Please email Jeremy if interested

Programming for data visualization and analysis (Python)

Dennis Hore

Last offered January 2018; if interested

Structure determination by 1H and 13C NMR

Jeremy Wulff October 2017

Introduction to Maple (mathematics software)

David Harrington

May 2020

Intermolecular interactions and molecular recognition

Tom Fyles

proposed Oct 2016; not offered
Current trends in materials science Natia Frank no information
Magnetism in materials and medicine Natia Frank proposed Jan 2018; not offered
Bioinorganic chemistry Robin Hicks no information
Molecular properties from quantum calculation: a practical guide Irina Paci no information
Molecular dynamics simulations: from gas phase to proteins and materials Irina Paci no information


How do I register for Chem 560?

Email the instructor to let them know you'd like to take a particular module. 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 topics are different, so without the registration form there would be no way to track the topics of your particular CHEM 560 courses. When notified to do so, you'll have to sign a form at the chemistry office.

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.

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

What if there aren't three modules offered this year that I want to take, or if my favoured module 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.

What if some modules are 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.

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).

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 we try to keep numbers relatively low for each module to allow a somewhat less conventional style of teaching.

Undergraduates may sit in on particular modules with instructor permission, but will not receive any direct credit for their participation. This situation is most likely encountered by undergraduates doing a CHEM 498 or CHEM 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.