Green Chemistry: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Sustainability

In the Spring Semester 2011, The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry launched its first interdisciplinary graduate level course, Green Chemistry: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Sustainability.

The course was taught by eight faculty and instructors in the fields of chemistry, environmental health sciences, public health, law, policy and business. The course was taken by about 50 graduate students from chemistry, engineering, public health, toxicology, environmental science policy and management, and business.

This course represents a substantial commitment by U.C. Berkeley to California's ongoing Green Chemistry Initiative. The California Environmental Protection Agency provided support for development of the course.

Links to the Course Syllabus, materials from the Class Presentations, Course Readings, Course Assignments, Course Projects and Course Surveys may all be found in the menu on the right side of this page, and also below.

What students are saying about the course:
Good class today. It was very useful for the students to be split up into
 groups mixed between disciplines and brainstorm.  After just a few minutes
 of speaking with some chemists, you begin to understand their way of
 thinking about chemical design. This is a rare opportunity to mingle with a
 really broad of grad students all interested in making the world a safer
 place. I discovered that we have a lot to learn from each other.

-- Green Chemistry student

Learn More:

Curriculum Materials


Download the syllabus [PDF].


For the Spring 2011 course, each 1.5-hour class was videotaped, which consisted of webcasting the slide presentations with audio of most of the presentations and discussions.  Links to the webcasts, audiocasts and slides for each class are provided below.



Download the list of readings [PDF].


For seven of the classes, students were given short assignments to prepare before class.  These seven assignments are presented below and explained and discussed in the syllabus as well.


The students formed interdisciplinary groups to conduct course projects that constituted the majority of the course grade. Presented below are: (1) the Project Overview introducing the class project, (2) Outlines of Proposed Projects developed by the instructors and (3) Posters from the actual projects conducted by the students in the class.  (All files are in PDF format.) The projects were introduced and materials provided in Class 3.

  1. Project Overview
  2. Proposed Projects
    1. BPA in Receipts
    2. Data Sharing, transparency systems, and open science
    3. Glycerol as a Feedstock
    4. Green Chemistry from the Industry's Perspective
    5. Green Oil Dispersants
    6. Green Solar
    7. New Metrics to drice safer chemical development
    8. PFCs and the Toxic Substance Control Act
    9. San Francisco Bag ban
    10. Semivolatile Organic Compounds
  3. Project Posters
    1. BPA in Receipts
    2. Exposure Modeling 
    3. BioEthanol
    4. Plastic Team Poster
    5. An Industry Perspective on Green Pesticides
    6. Towards a Chemical Exposure Modeling System to classify and rank risk
    7. PV End of Life
    8. Regulating PFCs under the Toxic Substance Control Act

Course Survey

Course evaluation surveys were completed by students during week 7 and after the course had been completed. These surveys were used to adjust our teaching style and the content balance of the course.  

Download the results of our midterm survey [PDF].

The results for our final survey are still being summarized for future publication. 



Creative Commons License

Green Chemistry: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Sustainability by Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.