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2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  Jun 14, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

Environmental Health Sciences

Geoffrey I. Scott, Chair
Dwayne E. Porter, Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies


The environmental health sciences examine the interactions between humans and their environment. Human activities impact on environmental quality and environmental factors, and, in turn, are principal determinants of human health. Exploration of these complex interactions often combines elements of both pure and applied sciences, e.g., biology, chemistry, marine sciences, geology, engineering, public health, and medicine.

Faculty members of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (ENHS) have expertise in a broad range of disciplines necessary to solving the vexing and complex problems in environmental health sciences. Our expertise includes air pollution, nanosciences, mammalian toxicology, environmental and health-related microbiology, aquatic ecology, marine ecotoxicology, ecosystem modeling, risk and impact assessment, exposure analysis, environmental planning and engineering, environmental physiology, industrial hygiene, occupational epidemiology, landscape ecology, remote sensing and GIS, water quality and wastewater treatment, wetlands ecology, resource management, and environmental justice.

The mission of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences is founded on the philosophy that healthy environments enhance the health and well-being of individuals and the communities in which they live. Thus the broader goals of the department are to:

  • develop improved methods for assessing the health and quality of the environment
  • promote a clearer understanding of interactions between humans and their natural, home, and work environments
  • achieve molecular to landscape levels of resolution for understanding health/environment interactions
  • protect the natural resources upon which life depends
  • provide scientifically sound information for policymakers to encourage social awareness of and societal actions toward sustaining a healthy relationship with the environment.

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences offers the following degrees: Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). A common level of core public health training is completed prior to undertaking advanced study and research.

Department Admission Requirements


Application forms for admission to the MPH, MS and PhD graduate programs in Environmental Health Sciences may be obtained at Applicants should submit an application packet through the School of Public Health Application Service (  Individuals who wish to pursue graduate work in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences must meet or exceed the general admission requirements of The Graduate School and the following departmental requirements:

  • grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  • evidence of previous training/experience in a pure or applied scientific discipline
  • minimum score of  310 (new scoring) or 1050 (old scoring) (verbal plus quantitative) on the Graduate Record Examination
  • completion of a minimum of 24 hours of science-based courses to include the following for the MPH degree: college algebra, pre-calculus, chemistry (general; quantitative-organic chemistry also desirable), biology (general, plus advanced courses)
  • completion of a baccalaureate degree with 120 hours of science-based courses or equivalent for the MS, MPH, and PhD degrees to include:
    1. a minimum of 60 hours in physical or life sciences, mathematics, engineering, and/or technology
    2. at least 15 hours of the 60 hours in upper level junior, senior, or graduate level courses
    3. 21 or more semester hours in communication, humanities, and social sciences.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • official transcripts
  • brief statement (maximum of two pages) that describes professional and educational objectives, work experiences, and activities applicable to the proposed plan for graduate study
  • three letters of recommendation.

Applicants who do not meet all of the above requirements but who possess overall potential may be considered for conditional admission. Applicants should submit an application packet through the School of Public Health Application Service ( unless advised otherwise by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Doctor of Philosophy

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must meet the above requirements and in addition must have at least baccalaureate degree in a pure or applied scientific discipline applicable to the environmental health sciences and from a university-accredited by a regional accrediting agency. Individuals with prior performance at the master’s level are preferred. A personal interview may also be required.

Programs Overview

Master’s Degrees

Master of Public Health (MPH) The MPH degree is oriented toward development of a broad background in public health and preparation for professional practice. The MPH degree requires 42 credit hours of study and is practice-oriented.  MPH students complete a supervised internship (practicum) in lieu of a thesis.

Master of Science (MS) The MS degree is an academic research degree which may be tailored to individual interests and job market needs. The MS degree requires a minimum of 36 graduate hours and combines real-world problem solving and research skills with other technical, health, and related skills to prepare effective environmental health researchers for the public and private sectors. Students complete a research thesis.

Doctoral Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Doctoral students complete a program of study that emphasizes professional development, scientific competence, and research expertise. The PhD requires a minimum of 60 hours of course work beyond the baccalaureate and includes 12 credit hours of dissertation preparation. Those students entering without a master’s degree are required to take additional foundation course work in environmental health sciences equivalent to the master’s degree. To achieve doctoral candidate status, students must pass a qualifying examination after the first year of study. Upon completion of all course and language requirements, doctoral candidates must pass an oral and/or written comprehensive examination. All doctoral candidates must prepare and defend a dissertation that represents significant research in their area of advanced study. Doctoral students must demonstrate a reading proficiency in a modern foreign language if deemed necessary by the doctoral advisory committee.

Programs and Courses

Curriculum requirements for degrees in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences are listed below:



    Environmental Health Sciences