Environmental Chemistry Graduate Program

Environmental Chemistry is a diverse and highly interdisciplinary field that focus on the chemical processes influencing the composition and chemical speciation of natural systems (air, water and soils), the chemical fate and mobility of contaminants in the environment, chemical processes that affect the toxicity and bioavailabilty of contaminants, and chemical aspects of contaminant remediation and pollution prevention (green chemistry). The common link to all these areas of study is a focus on the underlying chemical structure, reactivity and mechanisms that dictate the extent and rates of environmentally important chemical reactions. Environmental chemistry is a challenging field, requiring core training in physical, analytical, organic and inorganic chemistry and an understanding of how these disciplines can be applied to complex environmental systems. It is also a highly rewarding discipline, as it provides a quantitative and fundamental approach to understanding the processes that influence the quality of the environment we live and work in. See our faculty and research page to get a flavor of what projects we are doing.

The Environmental Chemistry program is centered in the Natural Sciences Building on the UAF campus that houses state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and computer facilities to support education and research activities. Located in the "Heart of Alaska", UAF is home to numerous research institutes and centers that focus Arctic science and engineering, and provide great opportunities for collaboration and cross-disciplinary studies focused on the chemistry of polar and sub-arctic systems.

The graduate program in Environmental Chemistry provides advanced training in the concepts and methods of Molecular Environmental Sciences. An M.S. degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Environmental Chemistry prepares students for careers in Environmental Science and Technology sector as a specialist in the analysis and interpretation of Environmental Chemical data and/or for more advanced studies in Environmental Chemistry or related disciplines. The Ph.D. provides advanced training beyond the level of a Masters degree, which is accomplished primarily through the Ph.D. dissertation that presents new findings on forefront topics related to molecular processes in the environment. The Ph.D. degree in Environmental Chemistry prepares students for careers in academia or the public and private research sectors.

The programs' intended learning outcomes for students are:

  • Graduates attain a level of technical ability and knowledge to function as professionals in their discipline.
  • Masters graduates have performed research using technical and problem solving skills to contribute to their field.  Doctoral graduates demonstrate that they can independently identify a problem and devise appropriate methods for its solution, contributing original knowledge to that field. 
  • Communication/presentation skills are consistent with professional standards.   
  • Graduates obtain employment or continue education in the field following graduation.  


Graduate students in the Environmental Chemistry program are typically supported through teaching and research assistantships or fellowships. Program specifics are provided in the UAF catalog, additional details regarding the program policies may be found on the "For Current Students" page.

How to apply:

Students interested in the Environmental Chemistry program at any level should feel free to contact the program coordinators or faculty members.

See our "Apply to Graduate Programs" page for the easy application process.  The application deadline for Fall admission into our program January 15 for domestic and international students.  The application deadline for Spring admission is October 1 for domestic students (we do not accept international students for spring admission).

Environmental Chemistry Graduate Program Coordinators

Dr. Bill Simpson: 907-474-7235 (email)
Dr. Tom Trainor: 907-474-5628 (email)