helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

  • Mood:

How to give yourself a headache.

For reasons that will become obvious later (i.e. I'm not going to tell you why now), I need to work out the exact breakdown of my first degree. Now, universities in this country do not, or at least did not at the time, issue transcripts, so I'm left to try to work it out myself. This is not as easy as you might think...

We had a total of 4 course units in each year, and to pass the degree you needed a minimum of 9 course units overall out of a maximum of 12. There were other criteria, such as to pass the year and be admitted into the next, you had to have passed a certain number of the course units. I'm not sure what the number was, because I managed to find an official letter saying I had qualified for entry to the third year, despite only having passed 5 1/2 out of 8 course units (I did not sit several exams in my second year because of illness, and took them later in the summer). Hmm. Of course, being Imperial, they couldn't make things simple by allocating each section a round number of course units. Oh no. Some things were worth 1 course unit, some were worth 0.75 and some were worth 0.5. What fun! So here are the course unit totals for each year, along with some commentary...

First year:
Foundation chemistry: 0.75
Physical chemistry: 0.75
Inorganic chemistry: 0.75
Organic chemistry: 0.5
Lab & coursework: 0.75
Ancillary subject - Maths: 0.5

I have guessed these totals from a page in a notebook where I wrote down my marks and multiplied them by the weighting of the courses. Except I didn't write down the name of each course, so I'm guessing which was which based on my marks!

Second year:
Physical chemistry: 1
Inorganic chemistry: 1
Organic chemistry: 1
Lab & coursework: 1

I managed to find the official paperwork for this year, so I know this is correct. Sadly, this is the only mathematically easy year of my course.

Third year:
Part IIIA: 0.75
Part IIIB: 0.75
Lab: 0.75
Research project: 0.75
Literature report: 0.5
Ancillary subject - Italian: 0.5

Again, I'm not actually sure if this is right - it's based on memory rather than paperwork. I remember being very pissed off that my lab course, which was 24 hours a week and my Italian, which was 3 hours a week counted for almost the same - or the Italian might even have been worth more! I can't actually remember any Italian whatsoever now, though, so I'll put it down as 0.5/12 of my degree.

I could total this up now, but Foundation chemistry and Part IIIA/B aren't terms that are meaningful to anyone outside IC Chemistry department. So I need to translate them into their actual components.
Foundation - 1/3 Physical chemistry, 1/6 Inorganic, 1/6 Organic, 1/3 Physics/Maths.
Part IIIA - 3/8 Physical chemistry, 3/8 Inorganic chemistry, 2/8 Organic chemistry.
Part IIIB - 5/8 Physical chemistry, 3/8 Inorganic chemistry.

This makes, ye flipping gods, an extra 1 course unit for physical chemistry, 0.6875 for Inorganic, 0.3125 Organic, 0.25 Physics/Maths. So the totals are:
Physical chemistry: 2.75
Inorganic chemistry: 2.4375
Organic chemistry: 1.8125
Lab & coursework: 2.5
Research chemistry (which was actually all in the physical section): 1.25
Ancillary subject - Maths: 0.5
Ancillary subject - Italian: 0.5
Additional Maths/Physics: 0.25
Then I have to divide all those by 12 to get percentages!

The final, rounded totals are:
Physical chemistry: 33%
Inorganic chemistry: 20%
Organic chemistry: 15%
Lab & coursework: 21%
Ancillary subject - Maths: 4%
Ancillary subject - Italian: 4%
Additional Maths/Physics: 3%

Blergh. I don't even want to speculate what percentage of physical chemistry could also be classed as physics. It's taken me 4 hours to do this as it is.

If you're interested, these are the courses I took in third year.

Energy Conversion and Storage - P2
Chemistry of the Gas/Solid Interface - P3
Chemistry of Complex Solids - P5
Atmospheric and Environmental Chemistry - P7
The Chemistry of Semiconductors - P8
Molecular Symmetry and Spectroscopy - P9
Molecular Simulation and Further MO Theory - P11
Plus one more physical course that I can't find any notes for.

Transition Metal Cluster Chemistry - I6
Lanthanides and Actinides - I8
Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy - I9
Applications of Inorganic Catalysts - I10
Main Group Topics - I11
Non-Aqueous Solvents - Isomething

Molecular Orbital Theory - O9
Mass Spectroscopy in Organic Chemistry - Osomething

I have good memories of Energy Conversion and Storage, Atmospheric and Environmental Chemistry, Molecular Symmetry and Spectroscopy, Lanthanides and Actinides, Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy, Non-Aqueous Solvents and Molecular Orbital Theory. I have okayish memories of Chemistry of Complex Solids, Applications of Inorganic Catalysts and Main Group Topics. And absolutely fearful meeping memories of Chemistry of the Gas/Solid Interface, The Chemistry of Semiconductors, Molecular Simulation and Further MO Theory and Mass Spectroscopy in Organic Chemistry.

Of course, going through boxes of stuff from 6 years ago is bringing back other memories too. I was careful, though - if I peered at something and thought "I don't want to read that yet", I didn't. So I'm only actually feeling a wee bit fragile, and mostly just irritated. I shouldn't have to be doing complicated arithmetic just to find out what I actually studied at university!

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