Environmental Chemistry--CHEM 4001/6001

Prerequisites: CHEM 3211 and CHEM 3310

Students to be Served: Senior undergraduates and first year graduate students majoring in chemistry or a closely related discipline.

Description: Chemical phenomena occurring in soil, atmospheric, and aquatic environments; consideration of natural resources and energy.
(Three lecture hours per week, 3 credit hours)

Textbooks and other materials:

  • Gary W. van Loon and Stephen J. Duffy, “Environmental Chemistry, a Global Perspective”, Oxford University Press (2000).

Course Objectives: The purpose of this three-credit course is to learn the chemical processes going on in our environment. Environmental Chemistry is a rather broad and interdisciplinary subject. The coverage of this course will include, but is not limited to, the chemical species in air, water, and soil environments with regards to their sources, reactions, transport, effects, and fates.

Course Outline:

  • The Earth’s atmosphere
  • Stratosphere chemistry – ozone
  • Troposphere chemistry – smog
  • Troposphere chemistry – precipitation
  • Atmospheric aerosols
  • Indoor air pollution
  • The hydrosphere
  • Distribution of species in aquatic systems
  • Gases and organic matter in water
  • Metals in the hydrosphere
  • Environmental chemistry of colloids and surfaces
  • Waste water treatment
  • Energy
  • Currently concerned environmental problems (in chemistry) etc

Grades: There will be two hour-exams and a comprehensive final exam. Some home-work problems will be assigned and graded during the semester. Each student is required to give an oral presentation to the class on a pre-approved topic. CHEM 6001 students will write a term paper on a pre-approved topic.


  • Books and journals may be used to help with graded homework assignments, but assistance may not be sought from other students or faculty.
  • Tardiness and unexcused absence from class are unprofessional behaviors which should be avoided, but attendance will not be graded.
  • Electronic devices such as cell phones and pagers should be turned off in the classroom.
  • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be made for students who present a memo from Student Disability Services.
Instructor Homepages
Dr. Richard Petersen

On-line Resources
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