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Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment

This concentration addresses the fate and transport of chemicals in the environment and the hazards and risks to human health and the environment associated with chemical pollution.

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) is a global leader in environmental chemistry, toxicology, and risk assessment education, research, and service.

Students will take courses on the chemical/physical/biological reactions of pollutants in soil, aquatic, and atmospheric systems. Additional courses study the hazards associated with chemicals used in modern society, technologies available to manage and remediate contaminated sites, the toxicological effects of chemical exposure, and methods to assess risks associated with chemicals in the environment

Students concentrating in environmental chemistry, toxicology, and risk assessment enjoy the advantages of the School's leading position as they embark on their professional careers, whether in the United States or in other countries, whether in national or sub-national government, and whether in the public or private sectors.

Curriculum for Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment

Beyond those required for admission into the Master of Science in Environmental Science (MSES) program, there are no special entry requirements for the Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment concentration. Students begin to develop needed technical tools in the 20-credit-hour MSES core. These core courses are:

  • E526: Applied Mathematics for Environmental Science
  • E527: Applied Ecology
  • E536: Environmental Chemistry
  • E538: Statistics for Environmental Science
  • E552: Environmental Engineering
  • V517: Public Management Economics OR
  • V645: Environmental Law

The concentration includes required advanced courses in environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology, risk assessment, and concentration electives to tailor the student's program to their particular interests and desired employment markets. Required (9 credit hours):

  • E520: Environmental Toxicology
  • E537: Environmental Chemistry Laboratory
  • E560: Environmental Risk Analysis

Electives (12 credit hours):
Four courses from the following list or other courses approved by the advisor:

  • E512: Risk Communication
  • E515: Fundamentals of Air Pollution
  • E518: Vector-based Geographical Information Systems
  • E519: Applied Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • E529: Applications of Geographical Information Systems
  • E535: International Environmental Policy
  • E539: Aquatic Chemistry
  • E542: Hazardous Materials
  • E544: Subsurface Microbiology and Bioremediation
  • E554: Groundwater Flow Modeling
  • E555: Topics in Environmental Science: Advanced Topics in Atmospheric Chemistry
  • E555: Topics in Environmental Science: Fate of Organic Chemicals in the Environment
  • E562: Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
  • E570: Soil Mechanics and Science
  • V517: Public Management Economics
  • V541: Benefit-Cost Analysis of Public and Environmental Policies
  • V625: Environmental Economics and Policy
  • V643: Natural Resource Management and Policy
  • V645: Environmental Law
  • CHEM C483: Biological Chemistry
  • CHEM C612: Spectrochemical Methods of Analysis
  • CHEM C614: Chromatography
  • GEOL G451: Principles of Hydrogeology
  • GEOL G550: Surface Water Hydrology

Special Financial Support for Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment

Students in environmental chemistry, toxicology, and risk assessment qualify for general financial support offered by Indiana University and the School. There are additional sources of support available only to students in this concentration. These awards are normally available to second-year students after they have demonstrated their ability to do the work required by the appointments. Students also work with environmental chemistry, toxicology, and risk assessment faculty in support of specialized grants and contracts on a highly competitive basis.

Careers in Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment

The School prides itself in graduating MSES students who can become productive environmental chemistry, toxicology, and risk assessment employees immediately, without a long learning period. That is the result of the applied and experiential nature of our advanced courses. Students learn how environmental science and policy are done, not just the theoretical concepts that might be implemented under certain conditions. Our graduates are beginning professionals, not students, by the end of their degree program, because our faculty–along with being serious and productive scholars–are practicing in the field throughout the world.

SPEA places its Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment graduates in a wide array of positions. In the last few years, these positions have included the usual federal agencies (EPA, GAO, Interior, etc.), state and local environmental agencies (executive and legislative), international organizations (US Department of State, etc.), foreign governments, private industry (Ford Motor Co., etc.), non-governmental organizations (Ducks Unlimited, etc.), and environmental science and engineering consulting firms (Earth Tech, etc.).

Dual Concentrations

Dual concentrations with Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment and other concentrations offered by the School—for example, with water resources or environment and natural resources management—provide unique advantages for those wanting to make a difference in particular areas of environmental science. Our faculty work to accommodate these specialized professional interests in the design of the student programs.