The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


Environmental science is the foundation of the increased environmental understanding today and chemistry plays a major role in this. The properties and reactions of substances in the environment can profoundly influence the world we live in. These substances may be natural or man-made, and there is increasing interest in the interface between man-made systems and the natural environment. Understanding of the chemical basis of environmental science is developed in this course via studies in the areas of water, earth and atmosphere.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Developed expertise relevant to the professional practice of chemistry, environmental science and engineering

2. Developed an understanding of the range and chemistry of compounds in the hydrosphere and geosphere

3. Established an appreciation of the role of chemistry in environmental science

4. Developed an understanding of the role of the chemist in measurement and problem solving in environmental studies

5. An understanding of chemical methods employed for environmental problem solving

6. Experience in some scientific methods employed in environmental chemistry

7. Developed skills in procedures and instrumental methods applied in analytical tasks of environmental chemistry

8. Developed skills in the scientific method of planning, developing, conducting, reviewing and reporting experiments

9. Developed an understanding of the professional and safety responsibilities residing in working on environmental problems


The course involves study of selected topics from the following:

  1. Introduction to Environmental Chemistry:
  • chemistry and the atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere
  • the role of chemistry in environmental studies
  1. The Hydrosphere:
  • fundamentals of aquatic chemistry
  • speciationand redox equilibria in natural waters
  • gases in water
  • organic matter in water
  • metals in water
  • environmental colloids
  • chemical aspects of the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles
  • water pollution and wastewater treatment
  1. The Atmosphere:
  • introduction to the nature and composition of the atmosphere
  • the greenhouse effect and global warming
  • the case against global warming
  • energy production and global warming
  1. The Geosphere:
  • igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and the rock cycle
  • weathering
  • development of soils and soil profiles
  • characteristics of soils suitable for plant growth
  • soil degradation: salinity and sodicity

Assumed knowledge

CHEM1010 and CHEM1020

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Formal Examination *

Quiz: Tutorial Quizzes

Essay: Essay

Presentation: Presentation - Oral/Video

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory Exercises and Reports *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: Attendance Requirement - Students must attend a minimum number of these sessions. - All Scheduled Laboratory Sessions
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - all submitted and overall mark of 50% or more to pass courses
  • Formal Examination: Minimum Grade / Mark Requirement - Students must obtain a specified minimum grade / mark in this assessment item to pass the course. - Mark of 40% or more

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term