Environmental chemistry is the study of chemical processes occurring in the environment which are impacted by humankind's activities. These impacts may be felt on a local scale, through the presence of urban air pollutants or toxic substances arising from a chemical waste site, or on a global scale, through depletion of stratospheric ozone or global warming. The focus in our courses and research activities is upon developing a fundamental understanding of the nature of these chemical processes, so that humankind's activities can be accurately evaluated. We study the environment from a molecular perspective.
The field of environmental chemistry is both very broad and highly interdisciplinary. Within the Department of Chemistry we have a core group of faculty whose research interests are in atmospheric and aquatic chemistry, photochemistry, and the chemistry and transport of long-lived pollutants. We interact with other chemists in the Department, with numerous other researchers at the University who have related interests, and with nearby government agencies. Indeed, the setting for the study of environmental chemistry is ideal.
Our graduate program consists of graduate courses which stress the fundamental photochemical, kinetic, analytical and transport aspects of environmental phenomena, regular seminars, and close interactions between the different research groups. We emphasize that students are able to put expertise in their own research field into a global context.
The field of environmental chemistry is rapidly expanding, and excellent employment opportunities exist in the academic, government, industrial and public policy sectors.