Bridging course

This course targets students who have weak or little background in high school chemistry but wish to pursue first-year university chemistry. It aims to lay a good theoretical and practical foundation for first year chemistry studies. Other undergraduates or graduates who wish to improve their knowledge of chemistry may also enrol.


Enrolments open 1st October 2017

The course will focus on the fundamental principles of chemistry. Topics covered will include:

  • atomic structure and periodicity
  • chemical bonding
  • nomenclature
  • acids and bases
  • oxidation and reduction
  • the mole and stoichiometry
  • equation writing
  • simple organic compounds.

Students will also have the opportunity to develop some basic but essential laboratory skills.

The course consists of eight days of lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions. It will be held in February in the Research School of Chemistry, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT. The course is not assessed by an examination, but successful completion of the course requires attendance at all lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions of the eight-day course. The 2018 Chemistry Bridging Course schedule will be uploaded onto this page closer to the start date.

For 2018 the start and finish dates are Wednesday 31st January and Friday 9th February (excluding the weekend). An email with administrative details will be sent to all Chemistry Bridging Course participants during the week before the course starts.

Course cost: $420

Cancellations must be made in writing to the bridging course coordinator, Dr Mark Ellison, before the start of the course. A refund of the course fee will be made. No refund will be made after this date.



A full year of first-year chemistry at ANU is a prerequisite for all later year chemistry courses as well as for the majority of biology majors, including the Medical Science degree.

The minimum requirement for enrolment in first year chemistry at ANU is the completion of a major in chemistry in the ACT or Year 12 chemistry for other states and territories. Successful completion of the bridging course gives an opportunity to those students who have not met this requirement to still enrol in first year chemistry.

As well as being a prerequisite for many second and third year science courses first-year chemistry is also highly recommended for most other courses within the science degree.

One of the main reasons many students don’t want to continue with university chemistry is that they didn’t enjoy chemistry at high school or college. The bridging course at ANU allows chemistry to be taught in the university style (lectures and tutorials and laboratory sessions) which many students find beneficial for the teaching of chemistry.


The chemistry bridging course consists in 18 lectures and 4 laboratory units. Our highly qualified lecturers will closely follow you through the exploration of chemistry theoretical principles. In the laboratory units you will also have the opportunity to test those theories with real chemical experiments.

Bridging course schedule


  Unit outline Learning outcomes
Lecture 1

Classification of matter

Chemical Foundation: elements, atoms and ions

Atomic Structure

To understand the properties of matter and the definitions of elements, atoms and ions

To learn about the internal workings of an atom

Lecture 2

Introduction to the Periodic Table

To be able to read the periodic table and understand the basis of the information presented

To understand the features of the periodic table including the ability to predict the properties of elements in the table

Lecture 3

Naming the Binary Ionic Compounds and Binary Compounds

To be able to name binary compounds and compounds that contain polyatomic ions

To be able to write formulas from names and vice versa

Lectures 4-6

Information Given by a Chemical Equation

Chemical Composition

The Mole and Stoichiometry


Chemical Reactions

Chemical Equations and the Balancing Act

To understand the concepts given and to apply them to the calculation of reaction yields and analytical measurements

To learn to identify the characteristics of a chemical reaction and the information given by a chemical reaction

To be able to write and balance a chemical equation

Lecture 7

Reactions in Water Solutions and Precipitation Reactions (Solubility Rules)

To understand how to predict the products of chemical reactions

Lecture 8

Limiting reagents in reactions

Yields of reactions

To understand how to predict how much product is produced by a reaction

Lectures 9-10

Acids and Bases

To understand the concepts of acids and bases

To be able to calculate pH

Lectures 11-13

Modern Atomic Theory

Chemical Bonding

Ionic and Covalent Bonds

Electronegativity and Bond Dipoles

Lewis Structures

To be familiar with each model of the atom

To understand electron configuration

To understand the different types of chemical bonds

Lectures 14-16

Oxidation and Reduction Reactions

To understand the concepts of oxidation and reduction

Lectures 17-18

Introductory Organic Chemistry

To be able to draw and name simple organic structures


  Unit outline Learning outcomes
Laboratory 1




Identifying equipment and glassware in the laboratory

Safe handling procedures

Laboratory 2

Precipitation reactions

To use the solubility rules to predict the products of reactions

To practice balancing equations

Laboratory 3

Acid base titrations

To develop manipulation skills useful to chemistry

Practice balancing of equations and use of units

Laboratory 4

Electron transfer reactions

To apply theory used in practical application


How to apply

For more information on how to apply, course content and structure please contact the course coordinator Mark Ellison, or the departmental administrator Mr Gavin Perri.

Updated:  27 June 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RSC/Page Contact:  Web Admin, RSC