Module Overview

Fundamental Environmental Chemistry and Sustainability

This fundamental environmental chemistry module introduces the student to environmental sustainability in the planetary boundaries and aspects of physical and chemical processes occurring during the major biogeochemical cycles.  The students will develop an understanding of finite resources, the planetary boundaries and the impacts of human activities on the safe operating space of the earth’s socio-ecological systems. An understanding of potable water testing and quality, water treatment, the disruptive impacts of the climate crisis, atmosphere, stratosphere and the troposphere will be developed. Laboratory work includes water testing using standard EPA methods.

Module Code

CHEM 2026

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Water Sustainability

SDGs 6 & 14 targets, indicators & trends. Finite resources. Physical and chemical properties of water, the hydrological cycle, water footprint, virtual water. Overview of methods of water purification, sustainable water management and water-use efficiency.  Potable water quality, the chemical principles and calculations for standard EPA water test methods. Ocean acidification: causes, impacts and potential solutions. Water Pollution: The chemistry of nutrients in the hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere, bioavailability, nutrient run-off, eutrophication, the impacts of anthropogenic inputs on these systems. Marine debris, plastic pollution. Sources and sinks of persistent organic pollutants. Endocrine disrupters.

Air & the Climate Crisis

Climate Crisis Awareness, SDG 13 targets indicators and socio-ecological trends. IPCC, COP, The Paris Accord and the 1.5°C temperature rise.  Introduction to the atmosphere: structure and energy balance. Introduction to the gaseous chemistry of the stratosphere and the remote troposhpere. Biogeochemical cycles including Carbon and Oxygen. Carbon Footprints, impacts and potential solutions. Concentration Units. Emissions including greenhouse gases, solvent emissions from stationary and mobile sources and their impacts.

Laboratory Work

Laboratory work which complements the lecture material is sourced from the Laboratory Manual

Delivery by means of lectures (20 hours), tutorials (4 hours), laboratory practicals (15 hours) and self-study (61 hours) to include computational problems and report writing.

Self-directed learning is supported through online resources hosted in Brightspace.

Other pedagogical approaches to sustainability T&L may include, campus as a living laboratory for carbon/water footprint awareness, campus as a living laboratory to monitor water quality, escape rooms to teach sustainability literacy, international sustainability literacy online evaluation tool the sulitest:, laboratory experiments to demonstrate ocean acidification and it’s impacts, environmental laboratory case study.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination45
Other Assessment(s)55