< Environmental Chemistry : MChem Hons (Full Time)

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Environmental Chemistry

MChem Hons (Full Time)

UCAS Code:F142
Minimum Length:4 Year(s)
Credit Points:480
Part II Weight:12
Part II Year 2 Weight:4
Part II Year 3 Weight:4
Part II Year 4 Weight:4
Director of Studies:Dr MP Coogan

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • To provide a flexible but structured, progressive and thematic training in Environmental Chemistry which will provide students with a knowledge and understanding appropriate for subject-specific graduate employment
  • To develop key transferable skills to prepare students for general graduate employment
  • To develop the intellectual and practical skills necessary for progression to postgraduate research and training
  • To encourage academic curiosity which will prepare students for lifelong learning
  • To offer a broad range of modules within which students can select a specialised route
  • To offer all students the opportunity to conduct two substantial research projects

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

Knowledge and Understanding

Depending on the choice of modules, students will acquire detailed knowledge and understanding of:

  • Chemistry
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Earth sciences and geology
  • Hydrology
  • Atmospheric science
  • Environmental management
  • Ecology
  • Environmental modelling 

Students will be given guidance on an appropriate choice of modules.  The degree programme provides opportunities and support for all students to develop many intellectual, practical and transferable skills at various levels. 

Intellectual Skills

Students will learn to:

  • synthesise information from a variety of sources
  • critically evaluate and assess the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and strategies
  • interpret qualitative and quantitative data
  • develop a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving, and a reasoned argument
  • plan, conduct and report two substantial investigations 

Practical Skills

Students will learn to:

  • use appropriate field and laboratory equipment effectively
  • carry out experimental work in the field
  • undertake risk assessments and list appropriate safety precautions associated with practical or project work
  • collect and present field, laboratory and literature data 

Transferable Skills

Students will learn to:

  • work independently and as a team (recognising the views of others), on time limited tasks
  • manipulate numbers and use relevant information technology
  • demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills
  • design and prepare project proposalsv

Structure, Features and Regulations: Compulsory and Optional Modules

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On entry to our programme, students can register for either the 3 year (BSc) or 4 year (MChem.) degree in Environmental Chemistry.  The final choice of degree will normally be taken at the end of Part 1, although change is still possible at the end of Year 2. Part 1 (Year 1) is qualificatory, and marks from Part 2 (Years 2, 3 and 4) classify the degree. The intellectual content of modules becomes increasingly more demanding from Years 1 to 4.  As they progress through the degree, students are expected to demonstrate increased intellect, independence and scientific rigour in all assessed work.

Year 1

Students take 15 modules in Year 1, of which 10-12 are core. Students are free to make up their remaining modules from a wide choice across the University, although many chose to study cognate disciplines.


Compulsory modules

     ENV 101     Global Climate Change

     ENV 102     Geological Processes

     ENV 103     Dynamic Landscapes I

     ENV 104     Hydrological Processes

     ENV 105     Atmosphere, Weather & Climate I

CHEM 101   Atoms and Molecules                        

CHEM 102   Introduction to Organic Chemistry                 

CHEM 103   Organic Chemistry                            

CHEM 104   Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences           

     CHEM 105   Spectroscopy and Bio-inorganic Chemistry


For students without A2 Mathematics or equivalent

ENV 122      Numerical Skills ES I

ENV 124      Numerical Skills ES II

Optional modules

     ENV 111     Environmental Management

     ENV 112     Natural Hazards

     ENV 113     Earth's Internal Processes

ENV 114     Environmental Microbiology

     ENV 115     Chemistry, Pollution & Human Health

     ENV 121     Communicating Science

     BIOL 103    Life in Changing Environment

     BIOL 105    Biodiversity and Conservation


To proceed to Part 2 in Environmental Chemistry, students must achieve at least 45% in the ENV100 and CHEM100 series, at least 40% in the other module group and at least 40% in the Numerical Skills modules where taken.


Year 2: (6/16 units)

Compulsory modules

     ENV 200     Environmental Field Course

     ENV 201     Project Skills

ENV 211     Aquatic Biogeochemistry

ENV 231     Atmospheric Chemistry         

     ENV 221     Soil Science

     ENV 202     Data Analysis and Programming Skills

     CHEM 211  Properties of Matter

     CHEM 223  Transition Metal Chemistry

     CHEM 233  Practical Inorganic Chemistry


Progression to Year 3 is subject to satisfactory performance in Year 2; after re-sits students must have achieved a pass (at least 40%) in 3 of the 6 units of assessment.


Year 3: (10/16 units)

Compulsory modules

     ENV 300     Dissertation                                                                             (2/16 units)


     ENV 340     Environmental Organic Chemistry and Ecotoxicology           (1/16 units each)

     ENV 315     Application of Aquatic Chemical Models

     ENV 330     Air Pollution

     ENV 314     Chemical Oceanography


Optional modules (choose 4 from)

     ENV 316     Freshwater and Groundwater Chemistry                               (1/16 units each)

     ENV 341     Environmental Radioactivity

     ENV 342     Effects of Soil & Water Pollution

     ENV 313     Water Supply & Control

     ENV 322     Environmental and Resource Geophysics

     ENV 331     Aerosol, Clouds & Climate

     ENV 345     Risk Assessment and Management

     CHEM 212  Kinetics and Thermodynamics*

     CHEM 281  Practical Physical Chemistry*


     * must be taken together


An average mark of 55% or greater from Years 2 and 3 shall normally be required in order to progress from Year 3 to Year 4.  Any student not attaining 55% shall normally be awarded a BSc degree in Environmental Chemistry, based on the marks obtained in the 16 units taken in Years 2 and 3.


Year 4: (8/24 units)

Compulsory modules

ENV 401      Dissertation                                                                             (4/24 units)


Optional modules

Choose 4 from

ENV 412      Environmental Radioactivity*                                                  (1/24 units each)

ENV 430      Waste Management

ENV 431      Pollution Microbiology

ENV 432      Chemical Risk Assessment

ENV 433      Environmental Technology

ENV 434      Contaminated Land and Remediation

ENV 435      Environmental Toxicology

ENV 437      Freshwater and Groundwater Chemistry*

ENV 440      Environmental Impact Assessment

ENV 443      Aerosol, Clouds and Climate*

ENV 461      Environmental and Resource Geophysics*

BIOL 431     Toxicological Mechanisms and Measurements

BIOL 432     Consequences of Toxic Effects


     * cannot be taken if studied in Year 3


Work/Study Placement




Students graduate with a BSc or MChem degree, Honours or Pass, in Environmental Chemistry. Degrees are classified according to the university's standard regulations for 16 or 24 unit degree schemes.


Lancaster University
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201