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Graduate Degree Programs
M.S. or Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry

By entering our Ph.D. or M.S. program specializing in Environmental Chemistry, you will study with one of the largest groups of chemistry faculty in the world focusing on the environment.

We offer a program with its core in the chemical sciences, so students learn fundamentals they can apply to current issues, as well as to discover and develop solutions to emerging problems.

Research in environmental chemistry spans a wide range, from field work to laboratory work to computer modeling. Areas of research include global climate change, coral reef ecosystems, biogeochemistry, persistent organic pollutants, and the environmental transformations of natural and anthropogenic trace compounds. Students also have access to state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation available through ESF’s Analytical & Technical Services, such as our 800-MHz NMR and two triple-quad mass spectrometers.

Program of Study

Incoming graduate students take three broad-based courses in Environmental Chemistry to prepare them for research and more advanced chemistry-based courses such as Oceanography, Stable Isotopes, Chromatography, Air Quality, and Chemical Kinetics. Students can also take additional courses in chemistry, environmental science, and related fields both at ESF and Syracuse University.

Faculty and their Specialties

Follow the links immediately below for detailed descriptions of research of any professor.

  • Neal M. Abrams;
    Inorganic chemistry, material science, renewable energy
  • Jiajue Chai; 
    Atmospheric chemistry, reactive nitrogen, air quality, climate change, human and ecosystem health
  • Theodore S. Dibble;
    Environmental chemistry, atmospheric chemistry. Kinetics and mechanism of air pollution, atmospheric mercury, and aquatic chemistry
  • Mark S. Driscoll;
    Environmental chemistry and radiation for environmentally friendly industrial processes
  • Jennifer Goff; 
    environmental biochemistry and environmental chemistry; environmental microbiology; ecophysiology; genomics and evolution; heavy metals; bioremediation; environmental health 
  • Gyu Leem;
    Environmental and polymer chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, materials science, surface chemistry, light harvesting polymers, photocatalytic and/or magnetic composite materials, solar energy conversion, water remediation
  • Huiting Mao;
    Environmental chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, air quality, regional to global budgets of trace gases, long range transport, continental export, climate change
  • Julia Maresca;
    Environmental microbiology, photosynthesis/phototrophy, circadian rhythms, freshwater biochemistry, (meta)genomics, built environment, concrete microbiome, bioremediation
  • Jaime Mirowsky;
    Environmental health, exposure assessment, air pollution, cardiopulmonary health, in vitro models, environmental noise, epidemiology, public health
  • Lee Newman;
    Phytoremediation, molecular and cellular biology, horticultural therapy, food and health
  • Aaron Ninokawa (starting Fall 2023);  
    Environmental chemistry, ocean acidification, drivers of water chemistry variations, influence of aquatic organisms on water chemistry, formation and dissolution of calcium carbonate materials
  • Nicholas C. Pflug, 
    Environmental Chemistry, aquatic chemistry, organic chemistry, photochemistry, natural products, reaction mechanisms, structure elucidation
  • Leanne C. Powers, 
    Environmental photochemistry, marine chemistry, reactive oxygen species, aquatic biogeochemistry, ocean optics
  • Mark A. Teece;
    Environmental chemistry, food web biochemistry, stable isotope biogeochemistry, coral, stable isotopes, metabolomics, biogeochemistry

Emeritus Faculty

  • Gregory L. Boyer;
    Biochemistry and environmental chemistry, plant and algal biochemistry, chemical ecology and toxins produced by algae, environmental monitoring, including buoy and ship-based monitoring systems for water quality
  • John P. Hassett;
    Aquatic and atmospheric chemistry, autonomous sampling systems, disinfection by-products, trace organic contaminants, nutrients
  • David J. Kieber;
    Environmental chemistry, aquatic organic chemistry, aquatic photochemistry, chemical oceanography, atmospheric chemistry, marine microbial ecology, polar research

Financial Support

Students are typically supported on research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships.

Information on Graduate Admissions to Chemistry

Guidance for prospective applicants and links to the online application can be found at Chemistry Graduate Admission Information.

Current Research Interests

  • atmospheric mercury chemistry and cycling (Dibble, Mao)
  • coral reef ecosystems (Teece)
  • fate of persistent organic pollutants like PFAS, PCBs, etc. (Newman, Pflug)
  • genetic engineering of freshwater Actinobacteria, light-sensing mechanisms, bacterial-algal interactions (Maresca)
  • heavy metal contamination (Goff)
  • human health effects of environmental stressors (Mirowsky)
  • interactions between aquatic / marine organisms and water chemistry (Ninokawa, Teece
  • kinetics and mechanisms of environmental reactions (Chai, Dibble, Pflug, Powers)
  • harmful algal bloom toxin analysis and monitoring (Pflug)
  • marine and lake food webs (Teece)
  • new techniques for field and laboratory analysis of molecules, radicals, and particles in water, air, and soil (Chai, Goff, Mirowsky, Teece
  • ocean acidification (Ninokawa, Powers, Teece)
  • phytoremediation (Newman, Pflug)
  • photochemistry in lakes, streams, and marine waters (Pflug, Powers
  • solar cells for energy and conversion of woody biomass (Abrams, Leem)
  • toxicity of indoor and outdoor air pollutants (Mirowsky)
  • urban air pollution: sources and impacts (Chai, Dibble, Mao, Mirowsky)
  • soil and water remediation (Goff, Leem, Newman, Powers, Pflug)