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PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health

About the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental and Occupational Health will equip students with the skills to identify, examine, and respond to important environmental and occupational health challenges, and to disseminate and translate findings.

Students will benefit from engagement with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health's interdisciplinary faculty and the Dornsife School of Public Health's emphasis on urban health and social justice.

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

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.

Upon completion of the PhD program, students will be able to:

  • 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.
  • Apply appropriate and rigorous methods to analyze and interpret original data.
  • 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.

Program Highlights:

  • Full-time students with research fellowships or graduate assistantships receive full tuition, 12-month stipend, and health insurance.
  • Students are paired with outstanding faculty mentors with expertise in environmental and occupational health.
  • Teaching and research opportunities.
  • Small cohort size, for a favorable faculty-to-student ratio.

Applicants to the PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program 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.

Application requirements

Faculty and Research

The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health has 11 faculty members whose research focuses on environmental exposures, industrial hygiene, risk assessment, social and environmental epidemiology, toxicology, infectious disease, injury prevention and control, global health, environmental justice, climate change, urban health, health disparities, and health policy. Students will have a broad range of opportunities to learn from and participate in research.

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Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 90 quarter credit hours of course work beyond the bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 45 quarter credit hours of course work beyond the master’s degree
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3
  • Passing the doctoral comprehensive examination
  • Passing the proposal defense
  • Completing a dissertation of publishable quality
  • Passing the final defense

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Sample Plan of Study

image of graduation cap with percent of Doctoral student's that receive some kind of funding

Paying for Your Public Health Degree

95 percent of PhD students receive tuition remission, stipend, and health insurance.

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Kristi LeBlanc, MSEd
Senior Program Manager
Environmental and Occupational Health

David A. Wood, MBA, MS
Director of Recruitment, Enrollment, and Retention