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What is a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH)?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health is an advanced research doctorate program that equips students with the skills to identify, examine, and respond to important environmental and occupational health challenges.

This program trains students with the skills necessary to perform scientifically rigorous research to address pressing environmental and occupational health issues. Graduates of our program are well-prepared to assume leadership roles as public health scientists, researchers, and educators.

Current Drexel Dornsife students pursuing a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health are focused on climate change-related environmental exposures, firefighter health, asthma interventions, water quality, and occupational epidemiology, among other research interests.

Funded Slots for the 2025-2026 Academic Year

The PhD program in Environmental and Occupational Health is accepting applications for multiple fully funded slots for the 2025-2026 academic year. Tuition, health insurance, and a stipend of $32,000 per year are provided. Faculty who are potentially accepting students include but are not limited to:

  • Dr. Igor Burstyn is looking for doctoral students who want to work on epidemiologic methods. Of particular interest are measurement error, confounding, dose-response modeling, and selection biases that arise in studies of occupational and environmental health. Investigation into measurement error includes development of new approaches to exposure assessment. Candidates with aptitude for statistics are encouraged to inquire. Interest in chemical and biological exposures is an asset.
  • Dr. Josiah Kephart is seeking a doctoral student to join funded research on the impacts of climate change on health and health disparities, primarily in Latin America. Potential topic areas include exposures to heat, floods, wildfire smoke, and air pollution. The doctoral student will gain practical experience in exposure science (using large geospatial datasets to create exposure metrics), environmental epidemiology (designing and conducting studies of exposures and health), and social epidemiology (leveraging theory to understand how health impacts are influenced by social and systemic factors). The doctoral student will have opportunities to join international research collaborations (SALURBAL Project), lead and contribute to writing manuscripts for peer-reviewed scientific journals, and present findings at academic conferences.
  • Dr. Jennifer Taylor of the Center for Firefighter Injury Reseach and Safety Trends (FIRST) has funded projects on occupational injury, workplace violence, organizational safety culture, mental health, and DEI in the fire and rescue service. Quantitative and qualitative research projects are available and will develop skills in survey analysis, data linkage, epidemiology, program evaluation, policy development, and implementation science. All research is community-facing and requires advanced stakeholder engagement skills with workers, unions, and industrial membership organizations.

Feel free to reach out to Anneclaire De Roos, PhD, MPH, Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, with questions.

Why Pursue an Environmental and Occupational Health PhD at Drexel Dornsife?

Drexel Dornsife’s PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program offers a variety of unique benefits that prepare students for career advancement and professional skill development:

  • Access to Renowned Faculty: Students engage with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health's 13 faculty members, who conduct research on the ways that physical, chemical, radiological, and biological factors in the environments in which we live and work affect health, as well as ways to protect the health of communities and workers.
  • Financial Support: Full-time students with research fellowships or graduate assistantships receive full tuition, 12-month stipend, and health insurance.
  • Mentorship: Students are paired with outstanding faculty mentors with expertise in environmental and occupational health.
  • Teaching and Research Opportunities: Students have hands-on opportunities to improve their professional skills.
  • Cohort Size: Small cohort size ensures favorable faculty-to-student ratio.
  • Reputation: Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health is the #1 graduate school of public health in Philadelphia and accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Upon graduation of the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program, students will develop competencies in the following areas:

  • Evaluate basic principles related to environmental and occupational exposure assessment – including sources and characteristics of exposures, mechanisms, and methods for measuring and examining physical, chemical, biological, psychosocial and/or other exposures potentially related to human health.
  • Analyze relationships between exposures and human health, including variation in impacts by social, behavioral, psychosocial, and other susceptibility factors.
  • Critically evaluate and interpret published research in environmental and occupational health, from academic journals and other sources.
  • Formulate testable hypotheses about critical knowledge and evidence gaps in environmental and occupational health.
  • Develop and implement valid and reproducible study designs, including data collection strategies to test hypotheses using novel or current methods.
  • Communicate research results through scientific manuscripts, presentations, and other forms to both scientific and lay audiences.
  • Assess risks associated with physical, chemical, psychosocial or other exposures in environmental or occupational settings, and identify appropriate policies and other interventions for preventing or reducing these risks.

To learn more about the Environmental and Occupational Health PhD program, request more information to speak with an academic advisor today.

Request more information

The PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health Program seeks students who are interested in pursuing a rigorous doctoral education that explores chemical, radiological, and biological factors in the community and workplace, and how they impact health. The doctoral program offers a broad range of opportunities to learn and participate in research.

Admissions Requirements for the Environmental and Occupational Health PhD Program

Applicants to the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health must meet the following requirements:

  • Completed master’s degree with a concentration in public health or related sciences, or a completed bachelor’s degree with public health related work experience.
  • Successful completion of undergraduate- and/or graduate-level coursework in epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental sciences, health policy, social sciences, and/or geography.
  • Evidence of prior research or public health practice experience.

Students will be admitted on a competitive basis, and those with a demonstrated ability to integrate public health competencies and skills into public health practice will be preferred.

PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health Application Requirements

In order for your application to the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program to be reviewed, applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts from every college-level institution you attended (academic records from institutions outside the U.S. must undergo a credentials evaluation).
  • English proficiency test score (TOEFL or IELTS), if applicable
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential for doctoral studies
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives (including career goals, doctoral research interests and fit with a desired faculty mentor)
  • Writing sample

A note on official GRE scores: Submission of GRE test scores are optional for Fall 2024 entry. Applicants who wish to submit scores are welcome to do so, and this information will be evaluated together with other application components. Applicants choosing not to submit scores will be evaluated for admission based on their other application information.

Applicants to the PhD in EOH program should submit their application and all materials through SOPHAS – the Centralized Application Service for Public Health.

To learn more about admissions and application requirements for the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program, please visit the page below.

Learn more about Application and Admissions requirements

Occupational and Environmental Health PhD Program Curriculum

The Environmental and Occupational Health PhD program curriculum is rooted in hands-on research and analysis that encourages students to respond to significant environmental and occupational health challenges, while serving as leaders in the public health field.

Throughout the program, students will develop a course of study that will build their skills in areas including:

  • Environmental Hazard Assessment
  • Occupational and Environmental Epidemiologic Methods
  • Toxicology
  • U.S. Environmental and Occupational Health Policy

Required Courses to Complete a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health

The PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program requires two academic years of structured coursework, consisting of required core courses in the Dornsife School of Public Health, as well as directed dissertation research.

Students complete core Environmental and Occupational Health classes, with an opportunity to specialize in areas such as environmental epidemiology, injury prevention and control, occupational health and safety, industrial hygiene, or exposure assessment.

Required core courses in the program include:

  • EOH 805 Evaluation for Identification of Environmental Hazards - 3 credits
  • EOH 810 Environmental and Occupational Toxicology - 3 credits
  • EOH 815 Environmental and Occupational Health Policy - 3 credits
  • EOH 825 Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology - 3 credits
  • EOH 800 Professional Development - 3 credits
  • EOH 997 Dissertation Guidance in Environmental and Occupational Health - 9 credits

Students consult with their faculty mentor on all elective selections. Elective coursework must be aligned with the student’s research interests and dissertation focus.

Degree Requirements for the Environmental and Occupational Health PhD

To graduate with a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health, students must meet the following academic requirements:

  • A minimum of 90 credit hours 
  • Completing a dissertation of publishable quality
  • Passing the final defense

To learn more about the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health curriculum and to see plans of study, please follow the links below.

Review degree requirements and courses

Sample Plan of Study

How Long Does a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health Take?

The sample plan of study for the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health suggests a sequence of courses over a four-year period. Each student regularly meets with their faculty mentor to implement a plan of study that best suits their needs. 

A student in the PhD in EOH degree program has up to seven calendar years to complete and successfully defend their dissertation.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health?

Graduates of the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program enjoy successful careers in environmental and occupational health organizations, as well as corporate and policymaking organizations engaged in the field.

A PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health prepares individuals for unique career paths and leadership opportunities, including:

  • Environmental Health Scientist
  • Environmental and Occupational Epidemiologist
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Occupational Health and Safety Engineer
  • Project Director
  • Researcher
  • Educator

A PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health provides a unique opportunity for a career focused on creating healthier environments in communities and workplaces.

Where Can You Work With a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health?

Current students pursuing a PhD in EOH have a wide range of research interests and backgrounds, and our alumni pursue careers in many different settings. Places that individuals with a PhD in EOH can work include:

  • Academica
  • Research
  • Government
  • Corporate organizations
  • Laboratories

PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health Salary Scale

While salaries can range across industries, the median annual wage for health and safety engineers was $103,690, for environmental scientists was $78,980, and for epidemiologists was $81,390 in May 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Develop the skills to become a public health leader and address pressing environmental and occupational health challenges. Start your PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health application from the CEPH-accredited Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health today.

Apply today

PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health Student Handbook from Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

PhD in EOH Student Handbook


Learn more about Drexel Dornsife's PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program, including mentoring, curriculum, dissertation process, and academic policies:

Student Handbook

95 percent of Drexel Dornsife doctoral students receive some kind of funding

Paying for Your Public Health Degree


Ninety-five percent of PhD students receive tuition remission, stipend, and health insurance.

In general, PhD students finance their education through a variety of sources, and the Dornsife School of Public Health provides financial support through training grants, scholarships, stipends, and working as a teaching or research assistant.

Explore scholarships and financial aid


Contact


Anneclaire De Roos, PhD, MPH
Professor and PhD Program Director
Environmental and Occupational Health
ajd335@drexel.edu

David A. Wood, MBA, MS
Executive Director, Enrollment Management
267.359.6092
daw348@drexel.edu