You are here

PhD in Environmental Health Sciences (ENH)

The PhD program in Environmental Health Sciences prepares scientists for careers in research, environmental program management, and policy analysis.  Education and research in the identification, evaluation, and control of hazards to human health are emphasized in this program.  Students may concentrate on a wide variety of areas including exposure assessment, environmental chemistry, non-point source water pollution, risk assessment and management, environmental toxicology, and industrial hygiene.  Graduates are qualified to assume upper-level positions in the public or private sector in management, teaching, research, or consulting.  Graduates are particularly qualified for teaching or research positions in academic institutions that require sound research training.

PhD Learning Objectives

The PhD in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences is an academic research degree.  In addition to understanding the advanced concepts of environmental health sciences, as they are related to environmental health, industrial hygiene, or environmental toxicology, graduates of this program are expected to develop skills that will enable them to identify and define questions of environmental health importance, design research studies to address these questions, and to complete a program of research that demonstrates abilities as an independent investigator.

The general learning objectives of the PhD will allow students to:
  • critically analyze the environmental health literature, identify environmental health problems, and formulate research hypotheses to address these problems;
  • design original research for the evaluation of hypotheses;
  • conduct all aspects of the proposed research in a manner that will provide accurate data and prepare a comprehensive report of the research;
  • successfully defend the methods, results, and conclusions drawn from the research in a public forum; and
  • communicate new knowledge through the published literature.

In addition to the general learning objectives, students must demonstrate an understanding of the advanced concepts of environmental health sciences as they are related to environmental health, industrial hygiene, and environmental toxicology as evidenced by:

  • knowledge of the essentials of pathophysiology and toxicology and ability to apply these principles to the occurrence of diseases among human populations;
  • understanding of the dispersion of contaminants in the air, water, and land phases of the environment and how these contaminants affect human health;
  • understanding of the appropriate techniques necessary to collect and analyze environmental, medical and biological samples;
  • the ability to use chemical, biological, physical and biostatistical tools for evaluating exposure to environmental or occupational toxins;
  • the ability to quantitatively assess the probability that environmental agents or processes present a significant risk to human health or the environment; and
  • the ability to implement or use environmental policies, processes, and technology, to minimize the impact of human activities on the environment and on human health.
The PhD degree in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences has two foci:
  • Environmental Health Sciences Research
  • Industrial Hygiene

Admission:  Particular emphasis is placed upon students' interest and their commitment to research.  The PhD degree requires an original and carefully thought out research dissertation.  Students with previous experience and therefore specific ideas for research are particularly encouraged to apply.  The general departmental admission requirements apply to the PhD applicants; however, a previous master's degree is also required.  Those students who do not have a master's degree in an appropriate area of environmental health must meet the department's course requirements for the MSPH in environmental health and toxicology or industrial hygiene, depending upon the focus of the PhD dissertation research.

Curriculum:  PhD students are expected to complete the department core course requirements, as well as those courses required for their foci and are necessary to prepare them to conduct their dissertation research.    Other courses preparatory to dissertation research will be determined by the student in consultation with his/her academic advisor.

Note that although GRD 717 is required, this course will not be considered in the total credit hours required for the degree.

Credit Hours
PhD Departmental Core
BST 611
Intermediate Statistical Analysis I
ENH 710
Biomedical Sciences Grant Writing
ENH 790
Current Topics in Environmental Health Sciences Research
ENH 791
Advanced Environmental Health and Toxicology Seminar
ENH 796
Environmental Toxicology Lab
GRD 717
Principles of Scientific Integrity
Environmental Health Sciences Research Focus
ENH 720/IBS 700
Integrated Biomedical Science for Environmental Health I
ENH 721/IBS 701
Integrated Biomedical Science for Environmental Health II
ENH 722/IBS 702
Integrated Biomedical Sciences for Environmental Health III: Genetics and Genomics
TOX 711
Principles of Toxicology
TOX 712
Actions and Assessments of Toxicants
TOX 713
Advanced Topics in Toxicology
Elective *
At least one elective at discretion of the student and the research advisor
Research Hours
ENH 798 **
Doctoral Directed Research
ENH 799 ***
Dissertation Research
Industrial Hygiene Focus
BST 612
Intermediate Statistical Analysis
ENH 700
Scientific Basis of Environmental Health
ENH 701
Environmental Chemistry
ENH 770
Advanced Topics in Environmental Disasters
TOX 711
Principles of Toxicology
Electives *
At the discretion of the student and the research advisor
Research Hours
ENH 798 **
Doctoral Directed Research
ENH 799***
Dissertation Research


Suggested electives: *      
EPI 616 Environmental Epidemiology
BST 626/627 Data Management/Reporting with SAS and the associated lab or another upper-level computer based BST course
ENH 752 Genetic Toxicology of Environmental Agents  

** Students must register for this course until the comprehensive/qualifying exam and the dissertation proposal is approved leading to admission to candidacy
*** Students may enroll for this course after admission to candidacy and must enroll for a minimum of two semesters but must continue to enroll in this course each term until graduation.