The ESF program offering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry with an emphasis in environmental chemistry is one of the few doctoral programs of its type within a chemistry department in the United States. The six core faculty and five participating faculty make it one of the largest such programs in the world.
Students take three core courses in environmental chemistry and one course in biochemistry. Subsequent coursework is carefully selected from regularly offered courses on analytical methods, biogeochemistry, and basic areas of chemistry. Coursework is also available in ecology, biology, geology, and engineering.
Research in the department spans a wide range, from fieldwork to laboratory work to computer modeling. Areas of research include global climate change, coral reef ecosystems, biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, regional and global air quality, and transient and persistent organic pollutants. The program avoids a "pollutant of the week" approach that would leave graduates unprepared for future developments. Instead, it emphasizes a framework wherein students can incorporate new knowledge as it becomes available and deal with new problems as they appear.
Environmental chemistry faculty members currently have active research interests in both aquatic and atmospheric systems. These include the thermodynamics and kinetics of binding hydrophobic organic compounds by dissolved humic substances in water, the development of techniques for measuring the extent to this binding in both laboratory and field environments, and the characterization of poorly understood humic substances by techniques such as NMR (J.P. HASSETT); the study of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the Niagara River-Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system and their interaction with sediments, dissolved substances and organisms (J.P. HASSETT); the exchange of chlorinated hydrocarbons and other trace organics between aqueous and atmospheric phases in the environment (DIBBLE, J.P. HASSETT, KIEBER, MAO); understanding the role of organic matter in a variety of atmospheric, aquatic and sedimentary processes (DIBBLE, J.P. HASSETT, KIEBER, MAO, TEECE); the development of probe systems to study free radical processes and photochemical transformations of dissolved organic matter in natural waters (KIEBER); understanding the dynamics of the oceanic carbon and sulfur cycles and the importance of sunlight-driven photo-chemical transformations of organic matter in natural waters (KIEBER); the study of the presence and fate of pharmaceuticals in local streams and the synthesis of novel inorganic materials for use as solid state indicators in aqueous environments (DONAGHY); the kinetics of elementary reactions that control the degradation of volatile organic compounds and the resulting yields of ozone, aerosols, and air toxics (DIBBLE); the application of laser spectroscopy and high-level quantum chemical calculations to investigating radical intermediates in atmospheric and combustion chemistry (DIBBLE); chemical studies of coral reefs (TEECE); application of stable isotope techniques to trophic relationships in reef-building corals (TEECE); the synthesis of oxynitride photovoltaic materials for water splitting (ABRAMS); and bio-based fuels and protein engineering (NOMURA).
Postdoctoral scientist Wang Chuji and graduate student Liat Shemesh align one the lasers in Dr. Dibble's laboratory.
Dr. Mark Teece snorkeling in the Florida Keys. Some ESF Chemistry graduate students are paid to snorkel with him!
Selected applicants to the graduate program will be offered a full tuition waiver and a generous 12 month stipend that will cover more than cover their expenses. Students are supported primarily as research assistants rather than teaching assistants, and as a result they have ample time to devote to their research.
Incoming graduate students in Environmental Chemistry are required to take two introductory lecture courses and one laboratory course in Environmental Chemistry. Several advanced courses are also offered, such as Environmental Organic Chemistry, Oceanography, Stable Isotopes, Chromatography, and Kinetics. An introductory Biochemistry lecture course is also required. To ensure that students obtain a strong background in the fundamentals of chemistry, they make selections from among graduate courses in Analytical, Physical, Organic, and Inorganic Chemistry from the offerings of Syracuse University. Students are also encouraged to take related graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses offered in other departments at ESF and at Syracuse University.
Research is at the core of any Ph.D. program. Research is conducted in the laboratory, in the field, and on computers. For more information, visit Environmental Chemistry faculty member pages, or you can explore further via the Department of Chemistry Faculty Directory.
There are three Environmental Chemistry courses required of our students, plus a Biochemistry lecture course.
A range of specialty courses are taught by our faculty and are offered regularly intervals:
Students may elect graduate-level courses in the traditional areas of Chemistry as well as cognate courses in other disciplines.
Follow the links immediately below for detailed descriptions of research of any professor.