Course description

Learn how pollutants are broken down in the environment! Most of the chemicals that we release to the environment are degraded there. Without environmental degradation processes, our chemical society would not be possible as we would soon be living in a sea of waste.

On the other hand, not all chemicals are broken down quickly, which can lead to chemicals accumulating in the environment and becoming problematic pollutants. Also, sometimes chemicals are not completely degraded but are instead transformed into substances that are even more problematic.

In this course, you will learn how chemicals are broken down in air, water, sediment and soil, and how sunshine and microbes facilitate their breakdown. Our goal will be to understand how the structure of a chemical influences whether and how it can be degraded in the environment, and how this degradation is influenced by environmental conditions.

Topics covered include:

  • basic principles of transformation reactions
  • hydrolysis
  • redox reactions
  • direct photolysis
  • indirect photolysis
  • biodegradation
  • chemical persistence

The course includes lectures, workshop exercises, presentations and discussions.

Special eligibility requirements

Knowledge equivalent 45 credits in Chemistry or 30 credits in Chemistry and MI7017 Environmental Organic Chemistry and Modeling, good command of English.


Study counsellors

Environmental Science
Miljö- och hälsoskydd

Analytical Chemistry
Environmental Chemistry