CHM108 Chemical Fundamentals (8)

This subject is designed to provide a basic understanding of some of the important elementary ideas and principles across the fields of general, inorganic and organic chemistry. The material is pitched at a level suitable for beginning students in agriculture, equine studies, winegrowing and horticulture who have little previous background in chemistry.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus
Session 3 (90)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: CHM108. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Assumed Knowledge

Basic algebra.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to recognise the different states of matter, and understand the terms: element, compound, mixture, acid, base, physical change, chemical change, atom, molecule, chemical bond;
  • be able to recognise standard chemical reaction types including metal dissolution, combustion, precipitation, acid-base and redox;
  • be able to use the SI (metric system) of units and scientific notation;
  • be able to explain how atomic theory may be applied to explain the important concepts of chemistry including laws of constant composition, multiple proportions, periodicity, and mass/energy conservation;
  • be able to predict the nature of chemical bonds using electronegativities;
  • be able to calculate formula weights, moles, molarity, empirical formulae, solution pH, buffer composition, and titration results;
  • be able to explain and use the properties of, and the laws that govern, gas behaviour; and
  • be able to name and identify the major classes of organic compounds as a large, diverse and important class of covalent compounds necessary to life/plant processes.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Matter, energy and measurement - chemical and physical change; conservation of mass and of energy; SI (metric) units and unit interconversion; density/specific gravity;
  • Daltons atomic theory, atomic and ionic structures, isotopes, atomic weight;
  • Electronic configuration; the Periodic Table of Elements - chemical bonding; octet rule; molecular polarity; chemical reactions; stoichiometry; aqueous solution reactions; oxidation reduction;
  • States of matter; kinetic molecular theory; ideal gases; intermolecular forces; properties of liquids; surface tension; solubility; concentration units; colligative properties of solutions;
  • Reactions of acids and bases; pH; buffers; acid/base titrations;
  • Le Chateliers Principle; and
  • Organic and biological chemistry; organic covalent structure; aliphatic versus aromatic hydrocarbons; IUPAC nomenclature; functional groups; structure and function of biological molecules.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of CHM108 in Session 1 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Cooperative class activities
Online electronic assignment 1
Online electronic assignment 2
Online electronic assignment 3
Prac test 1 (pracs 1-3)
Prac test 2 (pracs 4-6)
Final exam

Residential School

This subject contains a 4 day Compulsory Residential School.

Laboratory work and tutorials will be conducted at the residential school. Experiments will be undertaken to exemplify theory including titrations, stoichiometry, chemical reactions, colorimetry, water quality and quantitation of chemicals in food and soil.

Special Resources

Students attending compulsory residential schools on CSU campuses will incur costs associated with travel, accommodation and required resources (minimum: lab coat, safety glasses and covered footwear for lab-based practicals).

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: October 2020. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.