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ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY (CH34)

Students have an option of earning a B.S. in the Environmental Chemistry that is ACS-Certified or without the extra certification.  The ACS certified version is recommended for those who intend to apply to graduate school in Chemistry.  The Non-Certified program is designed to prepare students to enter the industrial, government, or legal workforce, or to continue studies in some of the environmental sciences. Click here to read more about the Learning Objectives for the Environmental Chemistry major.

Note: For students admitted Fall 2016 or earlier, please see the FAQ page for information regarding re-numbering of Organic Chemistry courses.

CH34 majors who choose to take CHEM 126A & 126B instead of CHEM 130, 131 & 132 may be deficient in their 48 upper-division requirement. Please carefully check how many upper-division units you will be completing for your major, and if deficient, please contact a Chemistry/Biochemistry academic advisor for your options.

Lower-Division Requirements

The following courses must be taken for a letter grade:

  1. General Chemistry (CHEM 6A or 6AH, 6B or 6BH, and 6C or 6CH)
  2. General Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 7L or CHEM 7LM)
  3. Physics (PHYS 2A, 2B & 2C or 2D)
  4. Physics Laboratory (PHYS 2BL OR 2CL OR 2DL)
  5. Calculus (MATH 20A, 20B, 20C, & 20D)
  6. Organic Chemistry (CHEM 41A & 41B)* 
  7. Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 43A or 43AM)

*If you have questions about the new organic chemistry restructuring or the honors sequence, please see our FAQ page. 

Upper-Division Requirements

The following courses must be taken for a letter grade:

  1. Physical Chemistry (CHEM 130, 131 & 132 recommended; CHEM 126A & 126B acceptable)
    • Students who choose to take CHEM 126A & 126B instead of CHEM 130, 131 & 132 may be deficient in their 48 upper-division requirement. Please carefully check how many upper-division units you will be completing for your major, and if deficient, please contact a Chemistry/Biochemistry academic advisor for your options.
  2. Required Laboratory Courses (must take all 3):  
    • Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 100A)
    • Instrumental Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 100B)
    • Physical Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 105A)
  1. Environmental Chemistry I & II (CHEM 171 and 172)
  2. Atmospheric Chemistry (CHEM 173)
  3. Marine Chemistry (CHEM 174)
  4. Environmental Electives (Select 4 of the following options): 

    Note

    1. You must complete 48 upper division units in the major in order to graduate.
      1. If you take CHEM 130, 131 and 132 for your Physical Chemistry requirement: at least 2 of the 4 must be upper division. 
      2. If you take CHEM 126A and CHEM 126B for your Physical Chemsitry requirement: at least 3 of the 4 must be upper division
      3. It is your responsibility to make sure you take the appropriate upper division electives to meet the 48-Upper Division unit Requirement)
    • Biochemical Structure and Function (CHEM 114A)
    • Inorganic Chemistry I (CHEM 120A)
    • Organic Chemistry III (CHEM 41C)
    • Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 143C)
    • The Cell (BILD 1)*
    • Multicellular Life (BILD 2)*
    • Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (BILD 3)*
    • Ecology Laboratory (BIEB 121)
    • Biodiversity (BIEB140)
    • Conservation and the Human Predicament (BIEB 176)
    • Environmental Biology (ESYS 101)
    • Introduction to Earth and Environmental Sciences (SIO 50)
    • California Coastal Oceanography (SIO 101)
    • Introduction to Geochemistry (SIO 102)
    • Introduction to Geophysics (SIO 103)
    • Introduction to Isotope Geochemistry (SIO 144)
    • Statistical Methods (Math 183)
    • Other courses (including labs and 4-units of CHEM 199) may be considered by petition. See details here.

*BILD 1, 2 and 3 must be satisfied with course work.  Advanced placement (AP), A-Level, and International Baccalaureate (IB) credits will not be accepted toward the elective requirements.

Recommended (but not required) Electives

Non-science elective courses used to meet General Education requirements (not major requirements) or chosen as free electives include: 

  • ECON 1, 2, 3, 131, 132
  • HIUS 154
  • POLI 10,160AA, 162
  • SOC 185
  • USP 2, 124, 144, 171.

Non-Course Requirements

  • All courses for the major, lower-division and upper-division, must be taken for a letter grade.
    • This excludes Special Studies courses, like CHEM 199, which only allow P/NP grading option
  • All lower division coursework for the major must be completed with a "D" grade or higher 
  • All upper division coursework for the major must be completed with a "C-" grade or higher 
  • A minimum 2.0 major GPA is required for graduation
  • No more than one (1) "D" grade is allowed in upper-division coursework. You may graduate with only one "D" in upper division coursework so long as your GPA remains in good standing. Given extenuating circumstances, a petition may be submitted to graduate with 2 Ds if one of them occurs in your graduating quarter. You will need to include details of why the exception should be granted
  • To receive a Bachelor of Science from UC San Diego, all students must complete 48 or more units of upper-division course work within the major
  • All Chemistry/Biochemistry majors are required to complete at least six (6) upper-division courses within the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department

It is the students' responsibility to read and understand all policies listed here.

ACS Certification

Replace the 4 electives listed above with 5 of the following courses:

  1.  ACS Electives (must take all 3):
    1. Organic Chemistry III (CHEM 41C)
    2. Biochemical Structure and Function (CHEM 114A)
    3. Inorganic Chemistry I (CHEM 120A)
  2. ACS Laboratories (select 2 of the following):  
    1. Organic Chemistry Laboratory II (CHEM 143B)
    2. Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 143C)
    3. Molecular Design and Synthesis Laboratory (CHEM 143D)
    4. Protein Biochemistry Laboratory (CHEM 108)
    5. Recombinant DNA Laboratory (CHEM 109)
    6. Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 123)
    7. Advanced Physical Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 105B)

 

Example Academic Plan

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Courses listed above and on the long-term plan below only include major requirements. Speak with your college advisor for planning completion of general education and university requirements.
  • The plan below does not include classes required for ACS certification. To receive ACS certification, you must follow the instructions above under the "For ACS Certification" section.
  • The quarter in which a course is offered is subject to change based on space and instructor availability.  Please check our course offerings page each academic year to see a projection of classes offered by quarter.
  • The best time to study abroad is Fall quarter of Sophomore or Junior Year. Education Abroad Program deadlines for upcoming year vary by country. See EAP website. See the Chemistry & Biochemistry Undergraduate Advisor for assistance in planning to study abroad.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the 48 upper-division unit requirement for your major. Check your degree audit to ensure you will meet this requirement. Transfer students should be especially careful with checking for completion of this requirement.
  • Many courses have enforced prerequisites or are offered once per year. It is your responsibility to know which prerequisites are needed for each course. Please review the course catalog before enrolling. 
Sample Academic Plan for the CH34 Major

FALL

WINTER

SPRING

FIRST YEAR
CHEM 6A CHEM 6B CHEM 6C
MATH 20A MATH 20B MATH 20C
CHEM 7L or 7LM
SECOND YEAR
CHEM 41A CHEM 41B PHYS 2BL, 2CL or 2DL
MATH 20D CHEM 43A or CHEM 43AM PHYS 2C or 2D
PHYS 2A PHYS 2B
THIRD YEAR
CHEM 126A CHEM 126B CHEM 105A
CHEM 171 CHEM 172 CHEM 173
CHEM 100A
FOURTH YEAR
Chemistry Elective CHEM 100B CHEM 174
Chemistry Elective Chemistry Elective Chemistry Elective

Environmental Chemistry Sample 4-Year Plan (Printer Friendly PDF)

Environmental Chemistry Sample 2-Year Plan (Printer Friendly PDF)