Environmental Chemistry

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Learn how the environment works, with scientific training in chemistry, biology, and the many processes such as human activity that affect natural places.

Chemistry Lab at UBC Okanagan

Why study Environmental Chemistry  at UBC’s Okanagan campus?

Career opportunities

Earn a globally recognized UBC degree that equips you for career opportunities at environmental consulting companies, environmental protection in both industry and government, and public and private analytical laboratories.

Access to professors and research

Enjoy the advantage of working in a small department where you get to know your professors as well as your fellow students. Get involved in research projects such as natural neurotoxins produced by cyanobacteria found in our lakes, and plant research. Find out about mine waste treatment, Earth’s carbon cycle, global warming, and more.

Student networks

Join the active Environmental Chemistry Course Union to build friendships, get academic support, and gain increased access to career resources. Along with an active social schedule, the course union brings in speakers from industry and the government to advise students on career opportunities.

Co-op experience

Put your classroom learning to the test with Co-op job placements throughout the region and beyond. Co-op helps you to gain beneficial skills such as how to build your resumé, apply for jobs, expand your professional network, and earn money to pay for tuition.

what you need to know

The UBC degree in environmental chemistry provides students with a solid education in the four key areas of chemistry—analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry—along with core courses in environmental chemistry and other fields such as biology and earth and environmental science.

Learn how the environment works, as chemistry is the basis of all life. You will learn how to analyze parts per trillion of environmental contaminants and how to monitor environmental impacts on the environment.

The Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in environmental chemistry can also be used as stepping stone to medical, dental, or veterinary degrees.

At UBC Okanagan, you can complete a BSc with a major or honours in environmental chemistry.

UBC Okanagan’s environmental chemistry program offers a wide variety of foundational and advanced courses.

Sample courses:

  • CHEM 301 — Aqueous Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM 302 — Atmospheric Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM 317 — Organic Environmental Chemistry

Browse environmental chemistry courses and descriptions.

The following links take you to environmental chemistry program details in the Okanagan Academic Calendar, a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academics policies at The University of British Columbia:

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Communications and Rhetoric Certificate

Students can receive a Certificate in Communications and Rhetoric by completing 15 credits through courses from four thematic interdisciplinary and relational clusters, and a final capstone project. This is an add on to any major; some credits can be double-counted.

Learn about graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry.

For your application to be considered, you will need to:

  • meet general requirements (e.g., graduate from secondary school)
  • demonstrate a certain level of English competency
  • meet specific requirements for the degree you’re applying to

Then, UBC will take a closer look at your application. We’ll read your Personal Profile to get a sense of who you are and what you’ve achieved. We’ll also look at all of your Grade 11 (junior level) and Grade 12 (senior level) courses, paying special attention to the courses that relate to the degree you’re applying to.

Find your specific requirements at https://you.ubc.ca/


Declaring helps you plan your program more effectively, build your education, and stay connected.

Students are encouraged to declare their major in environmental chemistry at the end of their first year in order to take the prerequisite second-year courses. Refer to the Academic Calendar for admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

Plan ahead to ensure you meet important deadlines and other target dates listed at you.ubc.ca.

Tuition Fees

UBC Okanagan’s fees compare favourably with universities of the same high calibre. See Financial Planning for helpful resources, and add up your first-year costs with our Cost Calculator.

Apply to UBC at you.ubc.ca—there are just five steps in the application process. Soon you could be studying at one of the world’s top universities.

Check out the steps to apply to UBC, and be sure to choose “Okanagan campus.”

Or let our Student Recruitment & Advising experts guide you: call 1.877.807.8521.

Your Career Options

Earn a UBC degree respected by employers around the globe. Build a broad foundation and great career potential with undergraduate studies in environmental chemistry. Career options range from consumer protection specialist, food science technologist, and toxicologist to chemical product developer, science writer or forensics scientist.

  • Brewery laboratory analyst
  • Chemical product developer
  • Chemical technologist
  • Chemistry research assistant
  • Consumer protection specialist
  • Corrosion analyst
  • Cytotechnologist
  • Dangerous substance inspector
  • Environmental chemist
  • Food and drug inspector
  • Forensics specialist
  • Formulation chemist
  • Gene technologist
  • Geochemist
  • Health and safety inspector
  • Hydrometric technologist
  • Industrial chemist
  • Laboratory analyst/coordinator
  • Molecular modeller
  • Occupational safety specialist
  • Pathology assistant
  • Perfumer
  • Pharmaceutical chemist
  • Pollution control technologist
  • Product tester/analyst
  • Public or industrial health hygienist
  • Quality assurance technician
  • Science writer/translator
  • Soil conservationist/scientist
  • Toxicologist
  • Wastewater treatment chemist
  • Chemical, petrochemical, mining, metallurgical, agricultural, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or food industries
  • Educational institutions
  • Electric generation facilities
  • Engineering, gas, mining, or oil extraction firms
  • Environmental projection, monitoring, or consulting organizations
  • Government research laboratories or inspection and maintenance departments
  • Manufacturing firms, including beverage, chemical, cosmetics, drug, electronics, food, glass, packaging, paint, petroleum, pulp/paper, mining, and textile industries
  • Private or public laboratories, including forensics
  • Water, waste, or wastewater treatment companies

Learn and earn with Co-op, a paid opportunity for students to enrich their education with work experience. At UBC’s Okanagan campus, sign up for Co-op to:

  • build your resumé with professional experience
  • learn valuable tips on how to successfully apply for jobs
  • expand your network of industry contacts
  • earn money to pay for tuition

Inquire about Co-op by phone at 250.807.9623 or by email.

UBC Okanagan offers MSc and PhD degrees in chemistry and biochemistry & molecular biology, designed to enable and support students as they conduct original research, develop teaching and mentoring skills, and become engaged in the scientific community at large.

Or you may choose to customize your graduate studies with a themed or individualized program option in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS).

Gain Valuable Experience

Learning experiences beyond the classroom help prepare you for a career and life after university. Expand your horizons while studying abroad, conducting meaningful research, or working in the community with your UBC colleagues.

  • See the world through Go Global, a UBC program that allows students to complete courses or conduct research at one of more than 150 international partner institutions in 45 countries worldwide.
  • Travel to a conference or competition with financial assistance available through the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund, which provides financial support up to $3,500.

Follow your ideas and jump-start your career:

Get a financial boost to start your research experience. Pay for travel and other expenses. Win merit-based cash awards that look impressive on your resumé.

  • Undergraduate Research Awards: The URA offers an $8,000 salary plus a maximum of $1,500 for research expenses, for a total of up to $9,500 per student. For international students, the IURA offers a $9,000 salary plus a maximum of $1,500 for research expenses, for a total of up to $10,500 per student.
  • NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards: Minimum $7,500
  • Co-op puts your classroom learning to the test, allowing you to explore career options while earning money. Inquire about Co-op by phone at 250.807.9623 or by email.
  • Learn through doing, create strong connections, and develop professional skills with a campus job arranged by UBC’s Work Study Program.
  • Meet a community need and get practical experience by volunteering for a Community Service Learning project—a life-changing experience.


The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the environmental chemistry program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

  • Get a glimpse into life on UBC’s Okanagan campus at you.ubc.ca.
  • Take a virtual tour of our state-of-the-art labs, modern facilities, campus residences.
  • Visit the campus for a personal guided tour led by a student ambassador.
  • Tour the campus, city and lake with this interactive 360-degree Kelowna From Above* video.
    * Best viewed in Chrome and Firefox 

On the first day of university, faculties offer “Meet the Faculty” sessions where you can get to know the Dean, professors, and the staff who provide student support. It’s all part of UBC Okanagan’s new student orientation: CREATE.

Attend an orientation tailored to your needs as an aboriginal student, domestic student, international student, or student living in residence. You can even register your parents for an orientation that includes a workshop and campus tour.

  • Peer mentors are a great resource — ask questions and learn from students who’ve been there, done that.
  • Navigate your studies with the help of a professor, your Program Advisor.
  • Use the library which offers print, audiovisual, and electronic research materials, a leisure-reading collection, and loaner laptops. It also offers research consultations, instruction, and workshops.
  • The library’s Writing and Resource Centre can help you articulate your ideas. Pursue your research in a range of subject areas and scholarly genres, including essay writing, grammar, presentation skills, punctuation, thesis development, and coursework.
  • Familiarize yourself with resources designed to help you succeed. Student Services offers a variety of academic supports, from study sessions to tutoring and writing workshops.

Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and stay active—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness Centre, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes, and varsity athletics.

Learn more at Sports and Recreation, which includes links to fitness facilities, sport clubs, intramurals, and recreation programs, as well as the nationally ranked UBC Okanagan Heat varsity teams that compete in the Canada West Universities Athletics Association.

  • Make friends with similar interests, attend events, and explore career options with one of the Chemical Sciences Course Unions.
  • Branch out, get involved in student life, and have fun by joining various campus clubs.

Meet new people while living in a study-oriented environment with easy access to academic and personal support.

UBC Okanagan offers modern residence living surrounded by hiking and biking trails. One of the newest residences, Purcell, includes a rooftop patio that offers a panoramic view of the campus and the Okanagan Valley.

Find out more about living in residence at you.ubc.ca.

UBC’s Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of more than 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna’s cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the Top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Explore the Okanagan lifestyle at you.ubc.ca.