After preliminary studies in analytical chemistry, biology, and environmental science, students will start to specialize in environmental chemistry courses. They learn about the various environmental transport processes of vapor, liquids, and particulate contaminants, with special emphasis on transport within the atmosphere and soil. Topics include diffusive transport, dispersion modeling, and transport in porous media.
Students learn about the physics, composition, and structure of the earth's atmosphere, and how this relates to aerosol dispersion such as the possible aerosol release during nuclear reactor accidents or the dispersion of military aerosols. Classroom studies are augmented by computer modeling and laboratory studies.
Environmental issues are also covered so students will be better prepared to appreciate environmental problems from a broad perspective. Students study contamination, site remediation, ecological risk assessment, landfill techniques, groundwater contamination, and human health. Of particular importance are site remediation techniques available for removing chemical contamination from polluted sites such as soil, air, and groundwater. This includes bioremediation, phytoremediation, thermal remediation, containment and stabilization, and chemical extraction methods. As well, students learn about legislative framework, risk assessments, and the costs associated with site remediation.
Students also learn about analytical chemistry and electrochemistry with a focus on corrosion-related failures in the environment. They learn about topics such as corrosion phenomena, analysis of failures, and the dissection of observations. Laboratory studies include actual corrosion testing, electrochemical techniques and corrosion monitoring.
Applied analytical chemistry studies include environmental sampling methods, quality assurance principles and applications, and statistics as they pertain to analytical chemistry. Students work in the laboratory and in the field to practice their knowledge. Environmental sampling types include soil, water, and biota sampling applied to environmental assessment, risk assessment and research. As well, complementary quality assurance and statistics are taught.