Doctoral Studies

Environmental Chemistry - Field

Brief description of field

In the environment, living organisms are exposed to a number of stressors, especially chemical substances. Today, the chemical pollution of the environment represents a risk factor limiting further civilization development. Chemical substances enter single environmental compartments from various natural and anthropogenic sources, they are transported within these compartments, are able to migrate between them, undergo various transformations and accumulate in biotic and abiotic environmental compartments. Many of these chemical substances have significant toxic and genotoxic properties, are resistant against various forms of decomposition and exhibit a significant bioaccumulation potential. The study of the entrance pathways of specific chemical substances, especially toxic metals and organic compounds, which are persistent, have a tendency for bioaccumulation and have toxic and genotoxic effects into the environment, their transport, transformation, impacts on living organisms and risks associated with their presence in the environment is a modern trend in environmental research in the whole world. The focus is on the study of interactions between chemical substances present in biotic and abiotic environmental compartments and their biological effects, the study of their environmental fate and associated risks.

Aim of study

The basic aim of the doctoral studies in Environmental Chemistry is a systematic and complex study of interactions between chemical substances in the environment and their impact on living systems from the molecular and cellular up to the ecosystem level. The study will be focused on the environmental fate of pollutants, their negative impacts on living organisms, evaluation of risks associated with their presence in the environment, modern analytical methods, modern methods of laboratory and field ecotoxicology, quality of obtained laboratory chemical, biological and ecotoxicological data and especially a complex interpretation of laboratory and field experiments results.

Profile of a typical graduate

Graduates can assert themselves in research fields focused on the chemical pollution of the environment and its impacts, ecotoxicology, in the control of environmental compartments quality, in business laboratories. The aim of the field of study is to provide graduates with deep theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of chemical pollution of the environment and its impacts. Graduates of the doctoral field of study Environmental Chemistry will develop knowledge of chemical disciplines common to all chemical fields of study and establishing a theoretical and practical base for further studies. This general chemical knowledge is further deepened in fields focused on environmental chemistry, analytical methods used in the determination of chemical compounds in the environment and studies of environmental processes and impacts of chemical substances on living organisms. The content of the doctoral study program is focused in a complex manner on the study of transport and transformation processes influencing the behaviour of chemical substances in the environment, properties of singular abiotic and biotic environmental compartments connected with the study of sources, abundance, behaviour and fate of chemical substances in singular environmental compartments and the study of interactions between chemical substances in the environment and their biological effects. Considerable attention is paid to questions of sampling, processing, analysis and evaluation of obtained data as a base of analytical environmental chemistry and also to the quality of obtained laboratory chemical data and especially to a complex interpretation of laboratory and field experiment results. Toxicology, ecotoxicology, risk analysis and technologies reducing the negative consequences of anthropogenic activities are an integral part of the program. Significant attention is paid to the questions of informatics and modeling of environmental processes.

Requirements for applicants

Master degree in Chemistry, Biology or Environmental Sciences.

Study requirements and completion of studies

The course of the program follows the individual study plan which is authorized by professional council (commission), according to the student´s proposal submitted through the supervisor mediation. The individual study plan takes precedence over the schedule of the academic year (Study and Examination Regulations of MU, par. 28, item 1). The individual study plan is assembled by the student on the basis of consultations and recommendations of the supervisor and in accordance with general rules of DSP. The supervisor is responsible for the content and extent of theoretical work and for the appropriate scientific level of the dissertation.

Suggested individual study plan – General description

The credit value of the following courses are determined by the regulations listed in the Masaryk University Study and Examination Regulations in force as of 1 September 2006 (http://www.muni.cz/general/legal_standards/study_examination_regulations?lang=en) as well as by the system of variable credit values ratified during the 2007 accreditation process for four year study of DSP in chemistry:

1. Compulsory

  1. Dissertation preparation XD 100: credit, 5 to 30 credits/semester.
  2. Teaching assistance XD 102: course-unit credit, (1 lesson teaching assistance weekly corresponds to 1 credit value).
  3. Lecture in foreign language XD 106: course-unit credit, 2 to 5 credits.
  4. DSP seminar in chemistry XD 107: course-unit credit, 1 credit/semester.
  5. Field seminar CD n01: course-unit credit, 2 credits/semester.
  6. Handling chemical substances C7777: course-unit credit, 0 credits/semester.

2. Compulsory optional

  1. Courses widening theoretical knowledge: implicit number of credits + number of credits upon course completion, for example 1+2, 2+2, 3+2.
  2. Knowledge deepening courses: implicit number of credits + number of credits upon course completion, for example 3+1, 2+1, 1+1.

3. Optional

  1. Literature study XD 101: course-unit credit, 1 to 5 credits.
  2. Internship XD 110: course-unit credit, to 30 credits.
  3. Search Project XD 104: course-unit credit, 1 to 5 credits.
  4. Publication preparation XD 105: course-unit credit, 2-10 credits
  5. Optional subject: implicit number of credits + number of credits upon course completion.

Overview of requirements for the four-year DSP in chemistry:

  1. Acquisition of a total of 240 credits during the whole study.
  2. Acquiring min. 120 credits for the course of Dissertation preparation (XD 100).
  3. Acquiring min. 150 credits in total for the following courses with variable credit value:
    • Dissertation preparation(XD 100).
    • Study of literature (XD 101) .
    • Publication preparation (XD 105).
  4. Acquiring min. 24 credits for the course Teaching assistance (XD 102).
  5. Acquiring min. 24 credits for the compulsory and compulsory optional courses, selected from the Study catalogue of Masaryk University, Faculty of Science, the Study catalogue of Masaryk University or other university:
    • Courses widening theoretical knowledge. Comprises courses defined in the Study and Examination Regulations of Masaryk University as „courses to enhance and amplify knowledge in the field beyond the scope of Master’s degree study“. Course is successfully completed with examination.
    • Knowledge deepening courses. Comprises courses defined in the Study and Examination Regulations of Masaryk University as „courses to amplify special knowledge“. Course is successfully completed with colloquium.
  6. Acquiring registered numbers of credits for the following seminars with compulsory attendance during the actual length of study:
    • Field seminar (CD n01, where n = 1 to k, while k is the number of actually completed semesters of DSP, maximum n = 8. Seminar is not compulsory for combined mode study.
    • DSP seminar in chemistry (XD 107), maximum total of 8 credits required during the actual length of study. This course takes place in the form of a student conference at the end of each semester. Students present two posters during the actual length of study. Moreover, in the semester prior to thesis defence, students deliver results of their dissertation work in the form of a lecture. The seminar XD 107 is compulsory for students in the combined mode of study during the actual length of study (the first 4 years), the lecture prior to thesis defence is compulsory for both modes of study.
  7. Acquiring registered number of credits for courses with variable credit value:
    • Internship (XD 110)
    • Search project (XD 104)
    • Lecture in foreign language (XD 106)
  8. Acquiring number of credits, which is completed with a number of credits acquired in section 1. to 7 in an overall value of 240 credits. The remaining number of credits can be acquired by completing one or more other optional courses:
    • Optional course 1 completed with examination.
    • Optional course 2 completed with colloquium.
    • Optional course 3 completed with course-unit credits.
  9. The successful completion of doctoral studies is conditioned by publishing of previously reviewed findings. The number of publications, which is a prerequisite for the final defence of dissertation, is determined by the following criterion, presuming at the same time that the student is the main author of at least one of the following publications:
    • 3 publications in a periodical with impact factor (IF); the value of the total IF is not specified.
    • 2 publications in a periodical with impact factor; the value of the total IF is minimum 4.

Comments on the study plan:

  1. The course CD n01 is a field seminar of respective doctoral fields of study (DFS) valid for DSP in chemistry. In case of a max. 8 semester study the credit value of uncompleted CD n01 seminars can be compensated by the credit value of a different compulsory, compulsory optional or optional course. Should the absence on seminars be caused due to prolonged illness, the seminar cannot be substituted, credits can be acquired by, say, performing XD 100 duties.
  2. DSP seminar in chemistry XD 107 is a common seminar for students of all DFS, falling under DSP in chemistry. In case of a max. 8 semester study the credit value of uncompleted XD 107 seminars can be compensated by the credit value of a different compulsory, compulsory optional or optional course. Should the absence on seminars be caused due to prolonged illness the seminar cannot be substituted, credits can be acquired by, say, performing XD 100 duties.
  3. For the following optional courses
    • XD 101 Literature study (1 to 5 credits)
    • XD 104 Search project (1 to 5 credits)
    • XD 105 Publication preparation (2-10 credits)
    the number of repeated enrolments is eligible and students can register the credit value after consulting their tutor, based on the scope and difficulty of the corresponding course.
  4. For the compulsory course Lecture in foreign language XD 106 (2 to 5 credits) the credit value is registered after tutor's consideration weighing the importance of the conference and difficulty of the paper.
  5. Internship XD 110 is registered as a course with a variable credit value up to 30 credits per semester. Depending on the duration of the internship the following credit values can be registered:
    • For every 2 weeks started of the Internship 5 credits are added to the total sum of length of 8 weeks.
    • For 9 to 12 weeks of foreign study 25 credits can be registered.
    • For more than 12 weeks of internship 30 credits per semester are registered.
    • The course can be registered repeatedly.
  6. The credit value of optional courses XD 110 Internship can compensate, under specified conditions, the credit value of selected study duties:
    • In case of a max. 12 week Internship (to 25 credits) the corresponding credit value compensates the credits for the course Preparation of dissertation XD 100.
    • If students undertaking an Internship register field seminar (CD n01) and seminar in DSP in chemistry XD 107 in the remaining part of semester, they are entitled to get credit value for the mentioned compulsory courses.
    • Should the internship last longer than 12 weeks (30 credits) the credit value is compensated by the credits acquired for compulsory courses of Preparation of dissertation XD 100, Field seminar (CD n01) and seminar DSP (XD 107).
  7. The credit value of optional courses XD 110 Internship does not recompense the credit value of compulsory courses:
    • Courses widening theoretical knowledge
    • Knowledge deepening courses
  8. The credit value of optional courses XD 110 Internship does not recompense the credit value of compulsory courses:
    • Teaching assistance XD 102
    • Lecture in foreign language XD 106
Example:
Courses ID Completion
of course
Semester TOTAL
credits
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Compulsory course cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr.
Preparation of dissertation XD 100 credit 8 11 12 12 20 20 16 27 126
Teaching assistance XD 102 credit 6 6 6 6 0 0 0 0 24
Lecture in foreign language XD 106 credit 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3
DSP seminar in chemistry XD 107 credit 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
Field seminar CD n01 credit 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 16
Handling chemical substances
C7777 credit 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Compulsory optional courses cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr.
Courses widening theoretical knowledge yy nnn* examination 4 3 3 4 0 0 0 0 14
Knowledge deepening courses yy nnn* colloquium 3 2 2 3 0 0 0 0 10
Optional courses cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr. cr.
Literature study XD 101 credit 0 2 2 2 2 2 3 0 13
Internship XD 110 credit 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Search project XD 104 credit 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Publication preparation XD 105 credit 0 0 0 0 5 5 5 0 15
Optional course 1 yy nnn* examination 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Optional course 2 yy nnn* colloquium 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Optional course 3 yy nnn* credit 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Total credits 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 240
*course code in conformity with the Study catalogue of Masaryk University, Faculty of Science

State doctoral exam

One part of regular finishing of doctoral study is the doctoral state examination, whose essentials are given by the Study and Examination Regulations of MU, par. 31, and when the responsibilities given by par. 28 are fulfilled. At the examination, a complete knowledge level of environmental chemistry in broad context is examined, while knowledge of area of dissertation work is discussed in detail. Depending on the character of dissertation, special topics may be tested. The examination emphasizes thorough understanding of interrelations and knowledge gained during studies, requires broad view of the subject, tests ability of independent orientation in the studied area of chemistry, and investigates the student interest in current information in specialist literature. In this examination, candidate specialization and disseration topic is taken into account. If the examination takes place in a different term than the doctoral thesis defense, submitting the dissertation theses is required.

A part of the doctoral state examination is the doctoral thesis defense, where candidate proves his/her abilities to present obtained scientific results and orientation in the area of specialization and broader discipline at the current level of knowledge. The doctoral thesis defense is an oral prezentation in which the candidate explains to the commitee and audience the topics and aims of the work, examined problems, methods used in research and obtained results. The candidate gives answers to the questions and comments raised in reports of the supervisor and reviewers and reacts to questions in public discussion.

Prerequisites for submitting an application for the doctoral state examination, which must be completed by the end of the 4th year of study:

  1. submission of dissertation topics
  2. demonstration of proficiency in academic and technical English by means of either completing two designated courses, or by gaining credits for a publication submitted to a journal or proceedings and gaining credits for giving a lecture in English at a conference (XD 106)
  3. gaining 12 credits for compulsory optional knowledge broadening and enhancing courses
  4. gaining 24 credits for XD102 Teaching assistance
  5. acquiring 2 credits per semester for Field seminar (CD n01) and 1 credits per semester for XD107

Requirements for doctoral dissertation thesis

One of the first requirements for doctoral thesis (DT) is a paper containing the overview of up-to-date literary knowledge in given scientific field, important impulses for the work itself, experimental part describing experiments in detail and results which are described, documented and discussed in the context of contemporary science knowledge. There shall be also the final summary of results, English abstract, literature, and the list of abbreviations used in the thesis. The results must be published, or at least sent and accepted for publication, in a renowned scientific journal. The number of publications implicating the admission of the doctoral thesis for the doctoral thesis defense follows these criteria:

  1. the student is the first author of at least one publication
  2. the student participated in 3 publications, published in a journal with impact factor (IF), whereas the value of IF sum is not set down, or 2 publications in a journal with IF where the value of IF sum is minimally 4.

An alternative of DT can be a paper containing the introduction and annotation for the set of published papers, which form a part of submitted DT as an appendix. In any case, DT is supplemented with the annotation which summarizes the themes and results of the work, list of publications and a resume in Czech, English, eventually in another language. DT can be submitted in Czech (Slovak) or English language.

Individual study plan

See above.

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages


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