BS in Environmental Science: Environmental Chemistry Emphasis

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with an Emphasis in Environmental Chemistry

Offered By: College of Natural Sciences

Study Relationships Between Ecosystems, Animals and Human Health 

Are you interested in how humans interact with nature? Do you find yourself wondering how earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters affect the environment? Are you passionate about topics like air and water quality, toxic and hazardous substances, endangered species and wetlands, global climate change or issues pertaining to coastal management? Earning a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with an Emphasis in Environmental Chemistry at Grand Canyon University explores topics that may help you pursue a career that can potentially make a meaningful impact on the protection of ecosystems.

Excel in Environmental Science: Focus on Environmental Chemistry with a BS Degree 

The field of environmental science and chemistry is an exploration into the movement of chemicals, including contaminants, through the environment and their effects on the health of animals, plants and humans, as well as the ecosystem as a whole.1 Environmental chemists play a significant role in assessing these environmental and health risks and often play a large part in developing remediation plans to better protect the environment.

Courses in this program focus on the importance of Earth in sustaining our daily lives. In this program, you will be taught how to engage with complex contemporary environmental issues. Some environmental chemistry examples include scientists investigating the impact of carbon emissions on air quality or how pharmaceuticals might contaminate groundwater.1 As a future professional in environmental science, these are questions you may investigate someday. 

This program is designed for students who are interested in taking traditional on-campus daytime classes and labs in person. As an on-campus student at GCU, you can immerse yourself in a supportive learning community as you study environmental chemistry topics. Benefit from stimulating discussions with your peers and interact with knowledgeable instructors in GCU’s in-person environmental chemistry courses. 

Get More Information

Loading Form

Take Environmental Science and Chemistry Courses

Pursuing the field of environmental chemistry teaches you to study the health of humanity, the planet we live on, and the animals with which we share it with. To prepare for this career, you will have the opportunity to examine essential environmental management practices and sustainability practices that can help solve ecological and human health protection issues, such as:1

  • Evaluating the hazards posed by pollutants in soil and groundwater that impact both ecological balance and human well-being
  • Exploring the problems and trends associated with measurement, cleanup and management of environmental contaminants
  • Producing ecological and human health regulation
  • Communicating environmental science and health information to the clients, colleagues an even the general public

GCU builds these courses to study ethical ramifications of environmental science through the lens of the Christian worldview, guided by the principles of social and ecological responsibility and humanitarianism.

Skills Taught in This Bachelor’s in Environmental Science Program

Environmental chemistry is crucial for developing an understanding of how chemicals move through and affect ecosystems and human health.1 This program emphasizes critical scientific thinking, practical project experience, and the development of scientific acumen that can prepare you to potentially pursue jobs in the field.

The environmental science and chemistry coursework teaches specific program concepts and skills, such as:

  • Interpreting epidemiologic findings to identify significant environmental risks
  • Measuring environmental contaminants
  • Designing a sustainable and economically viable environmental remediation plan
  • Identifying regulations that will achieve human health compliance
  • Communicating regulatory needs and outcomes to appropriate agencies

In addition to scientific foundational skills, workplace skills such as effective communication, teamwork, work ethic and analytical skills are taught throughout this program. By developing these soft and hard skills, you may have the opportunity to pursue work within analysis and analytical lab environments, consult or perform environmental impact assessments, and explore pollution remediation options.

Career Outlook for Environmental Chemistry Graduates

If you find yourself asking, What can I do with a degree in environmental chemistry, graduates may be able to set themselves up to potentially pursue roles within government agencies, consulting, research institutions, or contributing to pollution analysis and mitigation. Opportunities in green technology development and academia may also be available in this field.

Some options of what you can do with the environmental science and chemistry experience taught in this program may include:

  • Architectural and engineering manager
  • Environmental engineer
  • Health and safety engineer 

Institutionally Accredited Degrees

When thinking about your options for higher education, it’s important to ensure that you choose an accredited school. Institutional accreditation is a reflection of the quality of the college or university. GCU is proud to be institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which means that credits and degrees earned at GCU are recognized by graduate schools, employers and professional organizations. 

BS in Environmental Science: Environmental Chemistry Emphasis FAQs

Choosing a degree program can be a significant decision that may affect your future. It’s important to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and interests. Use the following frequently asked questions and answers to get started.

Environmental chemistry is a subfield of environmental science that studies the presence, movement and impact of various chemicals on ecosystems and their inhabitants, including plants, animals and people. It can encompass studies of soil, surface water, groundwater and air quality. An environmental chemist may study the effects of a range of chemicals, including contaminants.1 This field typically plays a crucial role in understanding and addressing issues such as pollution, climate change and the preservation of natural resources.

Before a scientist can figure out how to solve a problem, they must first develop a solid understanding of it. An environmental chemist may take samples from the environment, such as soil or water samples, and subject those samples to laboratory tests to identify the presence of chemicals and determine how those chemicals affect that ecosystem. The scientist can then develop recommendations for remediation, and may even supervise the remediation efforts.1

The exact role and responsibilities of an environmental chemist will likely vary, depending on the employer and the particular project they’re working on at any given time. In general, environmental chemists may do any of the following:1

  • Assess ecosystems and take samples
  • Analyze samples in the lab using sophisticated lab equipment
  • Take measurements and interpret data
  • Use software to model the movement of chemicals through the ecosystem
  • Develop reports of their findings
  • Develop remediation strategies for environmental hazards
  • Supervise onsite cleanup of environmental hazards

The curriculum for GCU’s environmental science and chemistry degree includes a blend of classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory work to teach both theoretical knowledge and practical applications. You will conduct hands-on research in labs that cover topics such as instrumental analysis, general chemistry, and chemical investigation and remediation. In addition, you will be required to complete the capstone thesis course, which involves a hands-on research project.

Environmental science may be an ideal career fit for you if you’re interested in getting out of the office to work, but don’t necessarily want to spend all of your time outdoors. Like other environmental scientists, environmental chemists typically have a blended schedule that involves both fieldwork and work performed in offices and labs.2 In addition, environmental chemists may sometimes need to travel to consult with clients or attend professional conferences.2 It can be an exciting line of work for someone who enjoys doing something different every day.

At GCU, you’ll be able to study environmental science from the lens of the Christian worldview, which can instill a greater sense of purpose and a higher calling to environmental stewardship in your work ethic. You’ll be able to immerse yourself within a Christian learning community that strives to support and inspire its members to embrace a servant leadership mindset. Furthermore, the general education coursework at GCU is designed to teach transferrable skills, including critical thinking, communication and global awareness.

There may be scholarships available for students who wish to study environmental chemistry. To help make higher education more accessible, you may want to look into the following scholarships:3

  • Churchill Scholarship
  • Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship
  • SMART Scholarship  

In addition, GCU is committed to helping make Christian higher education more affordable for our students. We offer multiple scholarship and grant opportunities to traditional, undergraduate students. Fill out the form on this page to speak with a university counselor to discover which opportunities you might be eligible for. 

Envision creating a lasting impact on the world as you contribute to potentially enhancing the health of our planet for generations to come. Contact a university counselor or apply for GCU’s BS in Environmental Science with an Emphasis in Environmental Chemistry today!

1 EnvironmentalScience.org. (n.d.). What is an environmental chemist? Retrieved Sept. 20, 2023. 

2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). Environmental scientists and specialists: work environment. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved September 20, 2023. 

3 FastWeb. (n.d.). Environmental Chemistry. Retrieved on Sept. 20, 2023. 

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
75 credits
Open Elective Credits:
5-11 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function, particularly at the molecular and cellular levels of organization. Cell components and their duties are investigated, as well as the locations of cellular functions within the cell. The importance of the membrane is studied, particularly its roles in controlling movement of ions and molecules and in energy production. The effect of genetic information on the cell is followed through the pathway from DNA to RNA to protein. Co-requisite: BIO-181L.

Course Description

This lab course is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-181 through experiments and activities which complement and enhance understanding of macromolecules, cell membrane properties, cellular components, and their contribution to cell structure and function. Assignments are designed to relate cellular processes such as metabolism, cell division, and the flow of genetic information to cell structure. Co-requisite: BIO-181.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of organization. Relationships of different life forms are studied, noting characteristics and general lifecycles of the different types of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Plant structure, function, and reproduction are studied, as well as photosynthesis and plant nutrition. Ecological principles are discussed, including organism interactions at the various ecological levels. Principles of conservation are introduced. Prerequisite: BIO-181. Co-Requisite: BIO-182L.

Course Description

This lab is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-182. Organisms are examined to recognize similarities and differences among different types. Plant structure and processes, including photosynthesis and water transport, are investigated through observation and activities. Concepts of ecology are explored through study of species interactions projects and other activities. Co-requisite: BIO-182.

Course Description

This course is an exploration into the science that directly affects us all on a daily basis, and that will likely increase in its significance to us with time. Students will gain an awareness of the importance of Earth’s systems in sustaining our daily lives, plus the scientific foundation and tools needed to apply critical thought to contemporary environmental issues.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the principles and applications of microbiology, including the study of microorganisms and their relationships. Students develop an understanding of microbial cell structure and function, microbial genetics, pathologies, and other selected applied areas. Co-Requisite: BIO-195L.

Course Description

The laboratory accompanying Fundamental Microbiology supports further learning surrounding principles gained in the lecture course. Students develop fundamental knowledge of microbiological laboratory techniques and application to real-world situations. Co-Requisite: BIO-195.

Course Description

This is the first course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. The course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry and begins with basic concepts. Topics include an introduction to the scientific method, dimensional analysis, atomic structure, nomenclature, stoichiometry and chemical reactions, the gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and properties of solutions. Co-Requisite: CHM-113L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-113 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of density, classification of chemical reactions, the gas laws, determination of enthalpy change using calorimetry, and determination of empirical formula. Co-Requisite: CHM-113.

Course Description

This course is a study of basic concepts of physics, including motion; forces; energy; the properties of solids, liquids, and gases; and heat and thermodynamics. The mathematics used includes algebra, trigonometry, and vector analysis. A primary course goal is to build a functional knowledge that allows students to more fully understand the physical world and to apply that understanding to other areas of the natural and mathematical sciences. Conceptual, visual, graphical, and mathematical models of physical phenomena are stressed. Students build critical thinking skills by engaging in individual and group problem-solving sessions. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-111 lecture course. Learners are able to perform the proper analysis and calculations to arrive at the correct quantifiable result when confronted with equations involving gravity, sound, energy, and motion. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111.

Course Description

A study of plants and animals as individuals and in communities in relation to their physical and biological environment. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-320L.

Course Description

A laboratory course designed to complement and support the principles being learned in Biology (BIO-320). Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-320.

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113L and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of basic probability, descriptive and inferential statistics, and decision making. Emphasis is placed on measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation, regression, discrete and continuous probability distributions, quality control population parameter estimation, and hypothesis testing. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This course will introduce students to environmental management practices and sustainability practices. Prerequisite: ENV-220 or BIO-220.

Course Description

This course is a survey of basic structure and reactivity of carbon-containing structures with examples in biological and industrial processes. Students will learn how to name organic compounds, draw and understand their structures in two and three dimensions, and learn how structure and reactivity are interrelated. Students will be able to describe reactivity in terms of addition, elimination, and substitution. Biological compounds discussed in the course include the structure and reactivity of carbohydrates and polysaccharides followed by amino acids and proteins. The final topic for the course is a discussion about industrially important polymers. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-Requisite: CHM-235L.

Course Description

This is the lab section of CHM-235. It supports the lecture with hands-on activities. Lab experiments expand students’ understanding of organic compounds, drawing and understanding their structures in two and three dimensions, and learning how structure and reactivity are interrelated. Students will be able to describe reactivity in terms of addition, elimination, and substitution. Biological compounds discussed in the course include the structure and reactivity of carbohydrates and polysaccharides followed by amino acids and proteins. The final topic for the course is a discussion about industrially important polymers. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-Requisite: CHM-235.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the concepts, data sources, and methodologies used in the field of human risk assessment, including environmental hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and risk communication. Prerequisite: ENV-220 or BIO-220.

Course Description

This course introduces advanced principles and theory of quantitative analysis, including stoichiometry, equilibria, photometric methods, electrochemistry, separation processes, statistical data analysis, and applications to advanced topics in analytical chemistry. Sampling strategies and sample preparation for analysis will also be discussed. Prerequisite: CHM-235, CHM-235L or CHM-231, CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-315L.

Course Description

This course will discuss the fundamental principles of analytical chemistry. Topics will include sampling strategies, sample preparations and analysis, instrument operation, data collection and statistical analysis, and presentation of results. Prerequisites: CHM-235 and CHM-235L or CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-315.

Course Description

This writing intensive course focuses on the fundamental chemical principles involved in environmental phenomena and how they are influenced by human actions. Prerequisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of environmental protection laws in the United States, including environmental law in the areas of case law, common law and administrative law. Topics include air and water quality, toxic and hazardous substances, endangered species and wetlands, and coastal management issues. Prerequisite: ENV-300.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the quantitative, qualitative, and instrumental analysis of various sample types. Methods for selecting proper techniques to answer various questions are discussed. Analytical methods for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of sample by gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, capillary and gel electrophoresis, and ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy are also covered. Other techniques, such as high-pressure liquid chromatography and thin layer chromatography, are discussed as well. Prerequisites: 1) CHM-231 and CHM-231L, or 2) CHM-235 and CHM-235L. Co-Requisite: CHM-365L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-365 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. This course allows students to apply quantitative, qualitative, and instrumental analysis of various sample types. Focus is on the validity of results. Analytical methods for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of sample by gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, capillary and gel are also covered. Prerequisites: 1) CHM-231 and CHM-231L, or 2) CHM-235 and CHM-235L. Co-Requisite: CHM-365.

Course Description

A study of the interaction between people and the geologic environment. Emphasis will be placed on catastrophic geologic processes, earth resources, pollution, and regional planning. Principles of Geographic Information System (GIS) will also be included. Prerequisite: ENV-220 or BIO-220.

Course Description

This course introduces students to various strategies that exist for remediating contaminated environmental samples, including air, water, and land. The following will also be discussed -- methods of site analysis, toxicology of chemical contamination, use of chemical fingerprinting, determination of exposure methods and exposure routes, analysis of epidemiological data, general methods for remediation of toxic and hazardous wastes, and use of both technical and moral considerations in decision making. Prerequisites: BIO-181, BIO-181L, CHM-315, CHM-315L, ENV-300 and one of the following combinations: 1) CHM-231, CHM-231L, or 2) CHM-235, CHM-235L). Co-Requisite: ENV-402L.

Course Description

This course introduces students to various strategies that exist for remediating contaminated environmental samples, including air, water, and land. The following will also be discussed -- methods of site analysis, toxicology of chemical contamination, use of chemical fingerprinting, determination of exposure methods and exposure routes, analysis of epidemiological data, general methods for remediation of toxic and hazardous wastes, and use of both technical and moral considerations in decision making. Prerequisites: BIO-181, BIO-181L, CHM-315, CHM-315L, ENV-300 and one of the following combinations: 1) CHM-231, CHM-231L, or 2) CHM-235, CHM-235L). Co-Requisite: ENV-402.

Course Description

This writing intensive capstone course requires students to integrate and apply what they have learned in their program. To do this, students will engage in projects and assignments that will demonstrate the knowledge and research skills gained in the program, including literature review, developing a research project, data collection and analysis, and written and oral communication of findings. Prerequisite: BIO-328 or BIO-415 or BIO-457 or CHM-420.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.