F461 Health Sciences
Environmental health focuses on identifying, evaluating, and controlling environmental conditions that may have an adverse impact on human health. Examples of problem areas requiring environmental health expertise are assuring adequate quality and quantity of food and drinking water, safe treatment and disposal of domestic and industrial waste materials, limiting or reducing air and noise pollution, limiting occupational exposure to hazardous substances and unsafe conditions, assuring safe and healthful housing, controlling the spread of insect- and rodent-borne illness, proper selection and use of pesticides, and understanding the effects of global changes in climate and the atmosphere on human health.
The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences offers the following programs of study:
Bachelor of Science
Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, calculus, statistics, English composition
Department Admission Requirements
Early Admission Prerequisites
Upper-Division Admission Prerequisites
General Education Requirements
See School of Public Health requirements
Student Outcomes and Opportunities
Graduate Program Coordinator
The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences offers three graduate degrees: Master of Science, Master of Public Health, and Doctor of Philosophy. The areas of emphasis are environmental and occupational hygiene (PhD), industrial hygiene and safetyoccupational and environmental exposure sciences (MS), environmental toxicology (PhD/MS), environmental health (MS), and occupational and environmental medicine or environmental and occupational health (MPH).
The PhD in environmental and occupational hygiene option focuses on the assessment of exposures, health effects, and control strategies in community and work environments. The program emphasizes expertise in exposure assessment to evaluate human health risks from chemical, physical, and biological agents. Research opportunities include: laboratory and field investigations of environmental exposures and health outcomes; air, soil and water pollution monitoring; ambient, indoor, and personal exposure modeling; evaluation of biomechanical stress factors and organization of the work environment; development of new instruments, biomarkers, and novel methods for assessing human exposures; and evaluation of effective control strategies for the prevention or reduction of illness and injury.
The MPH in environmental and occupational health provides an opportunity for students to focus on the recognition, assessment, and control of environmental and occupational hazards, the impact of these hazards on health and society, and approaches to regulations, enforcement, and policy development. It emphasizes development of skills essential to science-based public health practice. In addition to coursework, students complete a field practicum and research in any of the department's research facilities or in a field setting.
The MPH in occupational and environmental medicine is for individuals with an earned doctorate. The goal of the program is to provide training in the public health sciences with a focus on occupational and environmental health. The program provides didactic instruction and participation in field studies. Research efforts focus on understanding, preventing, and managing environmental and occupational disease, injury, and disability. Physicians also have the option of applying for a concurrent fellowship or residency in occupational and environmental medicine.
The concurrent MPH/MPA or MS/MPA degree programs with the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs seek to educate students who bring substantive public health knowledge and a strong policy and management orientation to their professional careers. With several courses that satisfy degree requirements in both programs, students are able to earn the two degrees in a shorter period of time than if the degrees were taken separately. Applicants must apply to both programs.
Admission Requirements for All Degrees
Prerequisites for admission to the MS occupational and environmental exposure sciences, environmental toxicology, and environmental health programs and the MPH environmental and occupational health program include a bachelor's degree in science or engineering with coursework in biology, chemistry, calculus, and physics. Applicants with non-science majors are considered if the prerequisite courses have been completed. Competitive applicants typically have strong grades and Graduate Record Examination scores, a statement of personal goals consistent with the program, and supportive letters of reference.
Prerequisites for admission to the MPH occupational and environmental medicine program include a doctoral degree (MD, DO or equivalent) with prior coursework in physics, chemistry, calculus, and biology. Concurrent UW residency applicants must satisfy additional prerequisites including graduation from a Class A medical school (United States, Canada, or equivalent) and completion of one year of approved internship. Three years in primary care specialty is also encouraged.
Prerequisites for admission to the PhD environmental and occupational hygiene and environmental toxicology programs include a bachelor's degree in science or engineering with coursework in biology, chemistry, calculus, and physics. A master's degree in a related field is recommended for Ph.D. environmental and occupational hygiene applicants. Selection of an applicant is also based upon an honors-level GPA, a statement of personal goals consistent with the program, supportive letters of reference, and high scores on the Graduate Record Examination.
International applicants are also required to submit official scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores of 580 (237 computer) or higher are required for admission to the MS, MPH, and PhD programs.
Master of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Focuses on the recognition, assessment, and control of environmental and occupational hazards; the impact of these hazards on public health and society; and approaches to regulations, enforcement, and policy development. Nurses with a BN can opt for a special emphasis MPH track to train in the delivery of health and safety services to worker populations and communities.
63 credits, as follows:
Master of Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Gives physicians a better understanding of the clinical and scientific principles in environmental and occupational health. Training focuses on epidemiology, occupational and environmental hygiene, biostatistics, health services, and environmental toxicology. A concurrent residency/fellowship program is available.
Master of Science, Environmental Health
Students learn to identify sources of contamination in air, water, food, and soil, and on surfaces; how contamination is spread; strategies to prevent or control effects on human health or environmental quality; and the means of communicating risk information to the public and health professionals.
64 credits, as follows:
Master of Science, Occupational and Environmental Exposure Sciences
Students learn to quantify and manage human exposures to chemicals, air pollutants, aerosols, and physical agents found in a wide variety of community and occupational settings. The program emphasizes rigorous academic training, internships, career guidance, and practical skills needed for graduates to establish long-term careers as environmental health and safety professionals. A flexible curriculum offers options for either a thesis or professional portfolio alternative.
63 credits, as follows:
Master of Science, Environmental Toxicology
Focuses on understanding the mechanisms of action of environmental chemicals and their effects on human health and in the environment. Research areas include chemical effects on organ systems (neurological, hepatic, renal, cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory) and also developmental toxicology, environmental carcinogenesis, and dietary chemoprotection. The program also offers a strong focus on human risk assessment as well as in toxicological issues that cross ecological and human health disciplines.
63 credits, as follows:
Doctor of Philosophy, Environmental and Occupational Hygiene
Students in this program learn to identify, evaluate, and manage health risks found in a wide variety of community and occupational settings, obtaining advanced research training in exposure assessment and control methods.
92 credits minimum, as follows:
Doctor of Philosophy, Environmental Toxicology
Focuses on understanding the mechanisms of the action of environmental chemicals and their effects on human health and in the environment. Research areas include chemical effects on organ systems (neurological, hepatic, renal, cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory) as well as developmental toxicology, environmental carcinogenesis, and dietary chemoprotection The program also offers a strong focus on human risk assessment and toxicological issues that cross ecological and human health disciplines.
104 credits minimum, as follows:
Support is available for many students in the form of traineeships or research assistantships, which include tuition. This support comes from federal and private sources awarded to the department or School.
Specialized laboratories exist for research in industrial hygiene chemistry, optical remote sensing of chemicals, industrial ventilation, ergonomics, trace organics and heavy metals, environmental microbiology, electron microscopy, controlled exposure to environmental agents, and toxicology (including toxicogenomics and analytical cytology). Field research is facilitated through an extensive consultation-service program conducted by this department for labor and industry in Washington State.