Have you ever wondered what happens to fertilizer when it runs off your lawn into the storm sewer? What about cleaners and detergents poured down the sink? When you see black smoke pouring out of the chimney at an industrial complex, what impact is it having on the atmosphere? Environmental chemists seek to understand environmental issues such as these within the context of chemical systems. Their strong grounding in laboratory training and chemical theory provides the expertise necessary to address some of the most pressing concerns of our modern industrial society: pollution prevention, hazardous waste management, chemical health and safety, environmental analysis, inspection and compliance, and the synthesis of biodegradable and photodegradable materials.

Environmental chemistry is a diverse and highly interdisciplinary field focusing on the toxicity of chemicals and how they affect our natural world. Drawing from their knowledge of the earth’s history and physical makeup, environmental chemists seek to protect the
environment by studying the chemical fate and mobility of contaminants, the chemical processes that affect the toxicity and bioavailability of contaminants, and the chemical aspects of contaminant remediation and pollution prevention (green chemistry).

water samples

Environmental chemistry is a challenging field, requiring core training in physical, analytical, organic, and inorganic chemistry and an understanding of how these disciplines can be applied to complex environmental systems. It is also highly rewarding, as it provides a quantitative and fundamental approach to understanding the processes that influence the quality of the environment in which we live and work.

Environmental chemists have many opportunities to work in areas outside the laboratory, where they are often involved in research or the development and testing of environmentally friendly products. Environmental chemists may collect and analyze samples, develop remediation programs, advise on safety and environmental emergency response, or deal with government regulations and compliance issues.

Get Started
Contact Lawrence Tech's Office of Admissions at 800.CALL.LTU, or admissions@ltu.edu.
For additional information about the environmental chemistry program, contact Dr. Jeffery Morrissette at 248.204.3603 or Dr. Julie Zwiesler-Vollick at 248.204.3616, or send an email to nschair@ltu.edu.

The chemistry laboratories at Lawrence Tech are housed third floors near the offices of chemistry faculty members. The university supports five major teaching laboratories:

  • General Chemistry, Science 319
  • Analytical Chemistry, Science 313
  • Organic Chemistry, Science 309
  • Advanced Synthesis, Science 305
  • Physical/Instrumental Chemistry, Science 303

In addition, an Advanced Instrumentation Room (Science 325) has recently been established to house the departmental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer and Scanning Electron Microscope.

The award winning Lawrence Tech student chapter of the American Chemical Society occupies Science 327. This room serves as a study room and lounge for our majors. All majors are welcome to use it.

Computer Use

All undergraduates at Lawrence Tech are provided with their own laptops, packed with the specialized software they will need in their education. Introductory chemistry laboratories are fully computerized, as are many of those in more advanced courses. Many of the instruments listed below include dedicated computers that drive them and analyze the output. Others interface directly with student laptops.


The department is fully equipped with all the instrumentation needed for thorough training in Chemistry. A partial list of major equipment includes:

  • X-ray diffraction apparatus
  • Digitizing, computer-compatible oscilloscopes
  • Temperature-jump fast kinetics facilities
  • Computer-controlled automatic bomb calorimeter
  • Several visible-ultraviolet spectrometers
  • Several infrared spectrometers, including fourier transform devices
  • Multiple gas chromatographs, some with automatic sampling and mass spectrometer detection
  • High Pressure Liquid Chromatography facilities
  • Fourier Transform Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer
  • Atomic Adsorption Spectrophotometer

The department policy is to introduce advanced instrumentation at the earliest opportunity in a student’s education.

The hallmark of the Lawrence Technological University Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry program is laboratory training that greatly exceeds the minimum standards of the American Chemical Society and is far more extensive than that offered at many of the most prestigious institutions in the country. Another important facet of the program is the policy of introducing advanced instrumentation at the earliest opportunity in your education.

Access to state-of-the-art equipment offers you the kind of real-world, hands-on experience you’ll need to confidently enter the workplace as a practicing scientist or researcher. A partial list of major equipment includes:

• digitizing, computer-compatible oscilloscopes
• temperature-jump fast kinetics facilities
• computer-controlled automatic bomb calorimeter
• visible-ultraviolet spectrometers
• infrared spectrometers, including Fourier-Transform Infrared devices
• gas chromatographs, some with automatic sampling and mass spectrometer detection
• high pressure liquid chromatography facilities
• nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer
• atomic absorption spectrophotometer

At Lawrence Tech, your course work will emphasize both the theoretical and applied aspects of chemistry, with a focus on developing the critical thinking, logic, and problem-solving skills that you need to succeed no matter which career path you choose. If you are interested in further study, the in-depth knowledge of chemical processes offered by the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry degree can provide the basis for careers in public policy, environmental law, or resource management, among others.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry Flowchart  PDF 

Your 123-credit-hour program consists of:

First Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
COM 1001 Pathways to Research Careers 1
COM 1103 College Composition 3
CHM 1213 University Chemistry 1 3
CHM 1221 University Chemistry 1 Lab 1
MCS 1414 Calculus 1 4
SSC 2413 Foundations of American Experience 3
   TOTAL 15

Second Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
CHM 1223 University Chemistry 2 3
CHM 1231 University Chemistry 2 Lab 1
BIO 1223 Biology 2 3
BIO 1231 Biology 2 Lab 1
LLT 1213 World Masterpieces 1 3
MCS 1424 Calculus 2 4
   TOTAL 15

First Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
CHM 2313 Organic Chemistry 1 3
CHM 2311 Organic Chemistry 1 Lab 1
CHM 2343 Analytical Chemistry 3
CHM 2352 Analytical Chemistry Lab 2
PHY 2413 University Physics 1 3
PHY 2421 University Physics 1 Lab 1
MCS 2414 Calculus 3 4
   TOTAL 17

Second Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
CHM 2323 Organic Chemistry 2 3
CHM 2321 Organic Chemistry 2 Lab 1
PHY 2423 University Physics 2 3
PHY 2431 University Physics 2 Lab 1
LLT 1223 World Masterpieces 2 3
SSC 2423 Development of American Experience 3
   TOTAL 14

First Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
CHM 3434 Physical Chemistry 2 4
CHM 3441 Physical Chemistry 2 Lab 1
CHM 3452 Intermed. Inorganic Chemistry* 2
CHM 3403 Biochemistry 3
CHM 3411 Biochemistry Lab 1
CHM 3001 Computational Chemistry 1 1
COM 2103 Technical and Prof. Communication 3
COM 3000 Writing Proficiency Exam 0
   TOTAL 15

Second Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
CHM 3423 Physical Chemistry 1 3
CHM 3431 Physical Chemistry 1 Lab 1
CHM 4632* Instrumental Analysis Lab*  2
MCS 3/4XX3 Mathematics Elective 3
PSC 3002 Leadership in Sci. Research (Jr.) 1
GLG 1103 Geology 3
   TOTAL 16

First Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
CHM 3463* Advanced Synthesis 3
CHM 4001 Computational Chemistry 2 1
CHM 3383* Environmental Chemistry* 3
CHM 4912 Senior Project 1 2
LTT 3/4XX3 Jr./Sr. LLT Elective 3
Jr./Sr. General Elective 3
   TOTAL 15

Second Semester

Course Number Subject Cr. Hrs.
CHM 4522* Advanced Spectroscopy* 2
CHM 4541* Advanced Spectroscopy Lab* 1
CHM 3392* Environmental Sampling Methods* 2
CHM 3592* Environmental Chemistry 2* 2
CHM 4922 Senior Project 2 2
SSC/PSY 3/4XX3 SSC/PSY Jr./Sr. Elective 3
  General Elective 3
   TOTAL 15

*These courses are offered every two years. An individual plan of work will be developed in consultation with the student's advisor.

For more information contact the Department of Natural Sciences at 248.204.3600, nschair@ltu.edu, or visit room 322 in the Science Building.

Graduates with a degree in Environmental Chemistry have many career options:

Chemical health and safety
Hazardous waste management
Laboratory or field analysis
Pollution prevention