Dr Christopher Armstrong

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • School of Natural Sciences


  • BSc (University of York)
  • PhD / DPhil (University of York)
  • PCAP (University of Hull)


Chris is a lecturer in Physical Chemistry, and current Deputy Director of Education in the School of Natural Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics) within the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

His current responsibilities within Chemistry include project coordination, assessment scrutiny, running the Physical Chemistry laboratories, and lecturing in thermodynamics, acids and bases, spectroscopy and green chemistry. While across the School of Natural Sciences, he assists the Director of Education in overseeing the Transforming Programmes initiative, sharing best teaching practices amongst the diverse range of scientists within the school, and developing new courses and content.

He completed a PhD at the University of York in 2013 focusing on the chemical mechanisms of rhodium-based C-H and H-H activation photocatalysts. Previously, he has worked at in the University of Sheffield, running inorganic chemistry teaching labs and lecturing on green chemistry, and at the University of Birmingham lecturing on quantum mechanics, atomic spectroscopy and kinetics.

Deputy Director of Education (School of Natural Sciences)


• Physical Chemistry Teaching Labs

-- 1st year Physical Chemistry

-- 2nd year Physical-Inorganic Chemistry

-- 2nd year Spectroscopic Methods Lab

-- 3rd year Advanced Physical Chemistry

• 400049 - Organic Chemistry and the Analytical Approach

-- Acids, Bases and Solutions

• 400056 - Chemical Structure and Physical Chemistry

-- Thermodynamics I

• 500057 - Spectroscopic Methods

-- Physical Spectroscopy and Elementary Quantum Mechanics

• 500060 - Inorganic Chemistry, Statistical Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics

-- Quantum Mechanics

• 500061 - Computational and Employability Skills

-- Excel for Chemists

-- Data visualisation

-- Computational Chemistry

• 662053 - Group Project

-- Module lead

-- Project coordinator

• 700076 - Extended Research Project

-- Module lead

-- Project coordinator

-- Undergraduate Symposium Coordinator

Research interests

Chris' research and development focuses on education within chemistry and how students approach their studies.

This has included projects in collaboration with undergraduate students assessing the mental health, authentic assessment and representations of chemistry (such as the Johnstone triad/triangle).

One ongoing project has been mental health impact of teaching laboratories, the transition to higher education and the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on assessment. Throughout these projects at Hull, we have seen how students relate to their studies, their identities as students and scientists, and how they relate to their study spaces at home and on campus.

Within Chemistry, we have piloted and reviewed authentic and diverse assessments to assess competencies, in line with the competency-led curriculum of the University of Hull. To do this, we have implemented flexible portfolios for assessment, where students can contribute evidence that they have met and passed stated criteria in a variety of ways, tailored to their personal strengths and interest. We are beginning to see an impact of this on how students approach building and maintaining their CV to make them more employable in their future careers.

Awards and prizes

Outstanding Contribution to Education


Faculty of Science and Engineering Awards, 2021

Innovative Teaching Award


The HUU Student-Led Teaching and Support Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in teaching and support at the University.

Outstanding Contribution to Learning and Teaching (FoSE)


This award recognises an outstanding contribution to learning and teaching within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, awarded here for the innovative use of pre-lab tests and exercises in preparing students for the teaching laboratory sessions in the second year of Physical Chemistry.

Conference organisation

Undergraduate Chemistry Symposium


A conference dedicated to all undergraduate project work completed in the 2021-22 academic year. Featuring contributions from 3rd and 4th year research project, and 1st and 2nd year skills mini-projects.

Royal Society of Chemistry Higher Education Group Winter Meeting


Conference presentation

Developments and Innovations in Teaching Physical Chemistry


An invited talk/workshop on introducing newly-appointed academic members of staff (within Physical Chemistry in the UK) to discuss and elaborate on the strengths and challenges of physical chemistry teaching. Held at the University of York in September 2022

Portfolio Assessment


Video presentation to the Variety in Chemical Education and Physics Higher Education Conference (ViCEPHEC) amidst the height of the pandemic.

Addressing the needs of diverse students using video VLEs and automated formative assessment


This talk will look at how we have rebuilt our second year Mathematics support class to move away from lectures and exams and toward an online module supported by face-to-face workshops and how this has been evaluated over the last two years. We begin by addressing the content and the aim of the course how VLE features were used to guide students through a re-vamped module structure and then look at a case study of how this was experienced by students with personal circumstances such as childcare or part-time work along with practical advice on how to adapt this structure.

Ethics role

Pedagogical Subject Expert for FSE Ethics Committee

2019 - 2023

I serve as the subject expert to review and authorise pedagogical research involving human participants for the Faculty of Science and Engineering