University of Minnesota
Discover Public Health at the University of Minnesota -- one of the top schools of public health in the country, a distinction that reflects our firm commitment to academic and research excellence.
Environmental Health Sciences MPH
This MPH program emphasizes the scientific, technological, policy and management skills you need to address environmental and occupational health concerns. The program offers high-quality lab facilities, small classes, individual faculty attention, and abundant opportunities to participate in faculty research.

MPH students may pursue a general program in environmental and occupational health, or focus in a specialty area such as environmental health policy, infectious disease or global health.

The MPH degree is a minimum of 42 credits and normally takes two years to complete.
Not all courses are offered every year. Go to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities One Stop for up-to-date Class Schedule information. (All courses are located under Public Health – PUBH).

Required Courses

Environmental Health Core Courses:

  • Exposure to Environmental Hazards (F) (PubH 6103, 2 credits)
  • Environmental Health Effects (F) (PubH 6104, 2 credits)
  • Environmental and Occupational Health Policy (S) (PubH 6105, 2 credits)
  • Master’s Project (F/S) (S-N grade only) (PubH 7194, 3-5 credits)

One of the following Epidemiology courses:*

  • Fundamentals of Epidemiology (F/S) (PubH 6320, 3 credits)
  • Epidemiologic Methods I (S) (PubH 6341, 3 credits)

One of the following Biostatistics courses:*

  • Biostatistical Methods I (F) (PubH 6414, 3 credits)
  • Biostatistical Methods II (S) (PubH 6415, 3 credits)
  • Biostatistics I (F/S) (PubH 6450, 4 credits)
  • Biostatistics II (S) (PubH 6451, 4 credits)

One of the following Ethics courses:*

  • Ethics in Public Health: Practice and Policy (F/S) (PubH 6741, 1 credit)
  • Ethics in Public Health: Research and Policy (F/S) (PubH 6742, 1 credit)

Additional Required Courses for MPH:

  • Field Experience (F/S; S-N grade only) (PubH 7196, 3-5 credits)
  • Social and Behavioral Science (F/S) (PubH 6020, 3 credits)
  • Principles of Management in Health Services Organizations (F/S) (PubH 6751, 2 credits) OR
  • Public Health Management (F/S) (PubH 6752, 3 credits)

*Check with your advisor for selection.

Specialty Requirements

Additional required and elective courses are determined by area of study within the environmental health sciences major. Consult your faculty advisor for specialty requirements, electives and time required to complete the specialty.
In addition, PubH 8888 Dissertation (24 credits) for the PhD and PubH 8777 Thesis (10 credits) or PubH 7194 Master’s Project (3-5 credits) for the MS are required.

Master’s Project

This project signifies a planned undertaking involving studious inquiry or examination. Typically, the product is a formal, written, scholarly report that demonstrates writing proficiency and the ability to critically approach a topic, synthesize, interpret, and successfully convey information to the appropriate audience. Other formats for presenting the results of the project can be used in consultation with the faculty advisor.
Sample Master’s Projects:

  • Arsenic in Drinking Water: Review and Analysis of the Mechanism of Action and Health Risk Assessment
  • Children’s Environmental Health: Special Vulnerabilities, Existing and Potential Policies, and Recommended Guiding Principles
  • Environmental Illness: The Perceptions and Reality of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome
  • Lead Exposures in the Reconstruction Industry
  • Sediment Toxicity from the National Ambient Stream Quality Network
  • Violence Against Teachers: Etiology and Consequences
  • Regional Rural Injury Study: Etiology and Identification of the Total Injury Burden Among Agricultural Household Members

Download a Master’s Project Sample form (fillable).

Field Experience

The MPH program includes opportunities for you to learn first-hand about the organization, operations, and special activities of selected environmental health agencies, institutions, and industries.
The field experience provides you with a means of gaining additional insight into programs, personnel management, governmental relations, public relations, legislative support, and knowledge of special investigations conducted by these organizations. The field experience enriches your training and may be beneficial in seeking employment.
Sample Field Experiences:

  • Centers for Disease Control; National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences; Center for Bioenvironmental Research; India
  • Honeywell
  • Health Service
  • Manipal University Medical Center
  • National Center for Disease Control
  • Metro Transit, Twin Cities

Joint Degrees

The Division also offers the following joint degrees in collaboration with other university schools:

  • JD with Law School
  • DVM, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • MD, Medical School
  • Environmental Health Policy (MPH, MS, PhD)
    Environmental Health Policy provides broad, multidisciplinary training in environmental health issues, including occupational health, risk assessment, risk management, decisionmaking, and policy analysis.
    The multidisciplinary curriculum includes coursework in core public health and environmental health sciences, research methods, statistics, exposure and risk assessment, environmental and occupational health policy, and policy economics.
    Internship experiences are arranged with leading occupational and environmental health policy experts who assist students with synthesizing and applying their academic experiences to potential professional settings. Students participate in ongoing research in the areas of policy making and evaluation, risk assessment and risk management, and policy.

  • Environmental Infectious Diseases (MPH, MS, PhD)
    The Environmental Infectious Diseases specialty is concerned with the emergence of foodborne and infectious diseases in the United States and around the world.
    The environment, and changing conditions in the environment, can have a great impact on the distribution and occurrence of infectious diseases. Global climate change is a growing concern regarding the potential expansion of tropical vector borne diseases. In evaluating the chain of infection, environment may play a key role in reservoir maintenance, as well as a route of transmission through food, water and air. From basic principles of infection control to predicting the impact of emerging infections, this program will explore the environmental factors associated with infectious diseases.

  • Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology (MPH, MS, PhD)
    Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology strives to understand the causal impact of environment and occupation on human health, because public health interventions are most likely to be effective when disease and injury etiology is understood. Epidemiologists develop studies to identify factors that cause diseases and injuries.
    The study of environmental and occupational epidemiology requires knowledge of both subject matter and methods. The curriculum emphasizes both, comprising epidemiologic methods, biostatistics, basic sciences, toxicology, and environmental health. Students may focus in one of three components: exposures related to cancer, exposures related to injury, or epidemiologic methods.

  • General Program (MPH, MS)
    Students are admitted to the General Program in Environmental Health when they are looking for a program of study that does not fit precisely with the concentrations defined in the environmental health sciences major. Emphasis is on the development of a broad, solid foundation in environmental health, with a larger than usual number of elective credits to allow the student an opportunity to pursue their particular interests.
    Planning such a program requires careful discussion between the student and faculty advisor. It is occasionally possible for students to transfer into a concentration after admission to the general program. Applicants to the general program should not assume that they will easily be able to transfer into another concentration.

  • Global Environmental Health (MPH, MS)
    The Global Environmental Health concentration provides key information for individuals looking to work in the field of global environmental health either overseas or in the United States. Issues of water and air quality, food safety, and the effects of industrialization are examined, as well as major ecological problems such as deforestation and sustainable agriculture.
    Interactions between the physical environment and biological health risks are considered also, as the effects of globalization of trade and the rapid movement of populations from one part of the world to the other are important “vectors” for the spread of disease globally.

  • Industrial Hygiene (MPH, MS, PhD)
    The importance of the field of Industrial Hygiene has grown rapidly in recent years as society increasingly recognizes the need to maintain healthy and safe working environments. This has produced a climate where exciting and valuable career opportunities exist for well-qualified practitioners and researchers in industry, government organizations, and academic and research institutions. Read “What is an Industrial Hygienist?” for more information.

    The Industrial Hygiene program is concerned with the health and safety of people at work, and the community at large. Specific concerns are with the recognition, evaluation and control of potential workplace hazards, including chemical, physical and biological agents; and the potential health threats to the community and the environment. The degree options for this program include MPH, MS and PhD.

    Our program is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET,

    Additional Resources

  • Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing (MPH, MS, PhD)
    Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing provides intensive training for nurses interested in the development, management and evaluation of health services, programs, and policies designed to promote health and prevent work-related injuries and disease.

  • Occupational & Environmental Medicine
    The Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) residency program trains physicians who will improve the health and safety of workers. The program emphasizes a solid clinical basis for the practice of occupational medicine and the management of patients with work-related health problems, as well as the identification and remediation of occupational risks and hazards in the workplace.

  • Regulatory Toxicology & Risk Assessment (MPH, MS)
    Regulatory Toxicology and Risk Assessment teaches students to think analytically about the biochemical mechanisms of toxicity, and how toxicology is used to protect human health through laboratory research, and the development of sound environmental policy and regulations.
    Students with a strong background in the biological sciences who are interested in laboratory research or environmental regulation and policy are encouraged to enter this field. The curriculum emphasizes the basic biological sciences, including physiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, toxicology and environmental health.

Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with coursework in the basic sciences. Each specialty area requires slightly different preparation.
Preferred performance levels

  • Occupational health nursing applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited school of nursing
  • Doctoral applicants are expected to substantially exceed the minimum requirements
  • GPA of 3.0
  • GRE Test Scores: Pre-August 2011 test – A combination of 1,000 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment. Post August 2011 test – A combination of 300 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment.
  • Also acceptable: DAT, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT (The test is not required for applicants with a doctoral-level degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian school).
  • TOEFL score of 600/250 (international applicants)

Understanding the interaction of the external environment and humans is important to human health risk assessment, worker health in industry and agricultural settings, and  setting of regulations controlling exposures to humans.

The program in Environmental Health prepares graduates to assume leadership positions in industry, government, and academia. Industrial positions include large and small corporations and consulting firms. Students who obtain an MPH or MS degree often find employment or go on for doctoral work at Minnesota or other Universities. Students who get a Ph.D. may go on for further post-doctoral training, or to a professional position.

Recent graduates have been hired by the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 3-M, Medtronic, ChemRisk, Illinois State University, University of Kansas, Scientific writer at the National Academy of Sciences, Chicago State University, Drexel University, KOA products (cosmetics firm). General Mills, Chevron, Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Others have gone on to pursue  doctoral or medical degrees at institutions such as the University of Minnesota, Harvard, Tulane or Baylor.  Some of our recent Ph.D. graduates also received postdoctoral training at institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania,  University of Leeds, Michigan State, and Scientific American.

See program career spotlights.

NIOSH Traineeships

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides stipend support and tuition reimbursement for students enrolled in full-time programs of study. Areas supported include Industrial Hygiene, Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing, Agricultural Safety, and Occupational Medicine.
In addition NIOSH funding supports two doctoral training programs; Occupational Health Services Research and Policy, and Occupational Injury Prevention Research Training Program.

Public Health Service General Traineeship

The Public Health Service provides funding for students in majors that have been declared as having a severe shortage of health professionals. These traineeships are limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

EnHS Fellowships, Scholarships, and Awards

Nancy A. Robertson Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Injury Prevention: This fellowship provides one or more fellowships annually to students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program at the School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences. Eligibility includes all enrolled graduate students, with a preference for students who wish to focus on the area of injury prevention. View application details
Mary Lauren Olson Minnesota Environmental Health Association Scholarship Award: This fund is a permanently endowed scholarship for students enrolled in the School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences. Recipients are required to be full-time students. Selection may be based on scholastic merit, community service, and/or involvement in the field of injury research. View application details
Susan Goodwin Gerberich Scholarship in Injury Epidemiology and Prevention: This scholarship provides funds for graduate students in the School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, who are committed to study in the field of injury epidemiology and prevention. View application details

University of Minnesota Awards

Graduate School Awards: Graduate School awards and resources are available to new and currently enrolled MS and PhD students. For more information on the awards offered, please visit the Graduate School Fellowship office site.
Carol E. Macpherson Memorial Scholarship & Alumni Society Scholarship: Six to eight one-time scholarships (from $1000 – 4,000) are awarded annually. Eligible candidates must be women, at least 28 years of age, returning after at least a five-year break in post-secondary education, and admitted to or enrolled in a UMN degree-granting program. More details on the Women’s Center site.

Competitive Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships

Many SPH students use graduate assistantships to help finance their education. These are campus working/learning positions that take the form of research, teaching, or administrative appointments. Students in the SPH (MPH, MS, or PhD) registered for six or more credits, including international students, are eligible to apply. Graduate assistantships include the following: hourly wage, tuition benefits, subsidized insurance coverage, and may include resident tuition rates for students and dependents.

Contact Info

Major Program Coordinator
Khosi Nkosi

Major Chair
Matt Simcik

Student Spotlight
Meet Nick Kelley, a rising star and emerging leader in the field of infectious disease research and policy. Kelley earned his MPH and PhD in environmental health sciences. Watch the video
  • © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy