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Environmental Chemistry (CHEM20011)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeCHEM20011
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The subject covers important aspects of the structure and chemistry of the hydrosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere (soil). The subject also examines sources, chemistry and impact of environmental pollution, energy resources (fossil fuels, nuclear and solar) and the impact of energy utilisation.

Subject topics also include the principles and application of quantitative chemical analysis and environmental monitoring (calibration methods; experimental errors; volumetric analysis, spectrophotometry, gas and liquid chromatography, and atomic absorption spectrometry).

A key aspect of this subject will be the comprehensive investigation of a current environmental chemistry issue, which will be covered in a small-group, scenario-based learning mode.

The practical component of this subject will involve the application of titrimetric, optical (spectrophotometry, atomic absorption spectrometry) and chromatographic (gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography) analytical techniques to the determination of compounds of environmental interest.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should have developed:

  • skills in analysing chemically based environmental problems;
  • an awareness of the possible effects of chemicals on the environment;
  • a capacity to interpret environmental data and to apply diverse chemical principles in the explanation of environmental phenomena;
  • an appreciation of the need for high quality environmental chemical analysis and the importance of selecting and utilising appropriate analytical methods and techniques for their monitoring;
  • an understanding of the principles of the key analytical methods used in environmental chemistry;
  • skills in investigating contemporary environmental chemistry issues;
  • an ability to operate in small teams;
  • an awareness of professional scientific practice.

Through the practical component of this subject students should have acquired laboratory skills in classical analytical methods and modern spectrometric and chromatographic techniques, which are widely employed in environmental monitoring and analysis.

Generic skills

This subject will provide students with opportunities to develop the following generic skills:

  • the ability to comprehend complex concepts and effectively communicate this understanding to the scientific community and in a manner accessible to the wider community;
  • the ability to analyse and solve abstract technical problems;
  • the ability to connect and apply the learnt concepts to a broad range of scientific problems beyond the scope of this subject;
  • an awareness of advanced technologies;
  • the ability to use conceptual models to rationalise observations;
  • the ability to think and reason logically;

Upon completion of this subject students should gain skills in

  • planning;
  • time-management;
  • critical thinking;
  • data evaluation and interpretation;
  • conducting literature searches using scientific databases;
  • report-writing;
  • oral presentation; (must show in assessment)
  • problem-solving
  • working collaboratively with other students.

Last updated: 10 August 2019