It is estimated that nearly 25 percent of illness and deaths in the global population can be attributed to environmental factors.

The Ph.D. Program in Environmental Health, offered by the College’s Department of Environmental Health Science, prepares students to assess the impact of physical, chemical and biological agents in order to better measure and control their impacts on environmental and human health.

More Information

  • Degree Competencies

    Through coursework and research experiences, Ph.D. graduates will meet the following competencies:

    • Exhibit a strong foundation in the core disciplines of environmental health science, including air quality, food and water quality, environmental exposure, toxicology and risk assessment.
    • Follow and promote good ethical practices in the conduct of research
    • Apply biostatistical approaches and evaluate epidemiological studies as they pertain to environmental health research beyond the introductory level
    • Evaluate and critique emerging areas of research in environmental health science and their application to the larger public health discipline
    • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge in at least one area of specialization within the framework on environmental health science
    • Formulate new scientific knowledge in the field of environmental health science and effectively communicate results and their significance through publications, discussions and presentations.

    Fulfillment of these objectives will be assessed through successful completion of core and elective coursework, satisfactory completion of written and oral comprehensive exams, development and execution of a cohesive research plan, and documentation and communication of research results through a final dissertation. In most cases, dissertations contribute to at least three publications in scientific journals.

  • Curriculum

    To print Ph.D. curriculum, click here.

    The Ph.D. in Environmental Health Science requires 30 hours of coursework. For students entering with a master’s degree, 16 hours must be taken at the 8000 level. Those without a master’s degree must successfully complete at least an additional 4 hours in graduate-only courses. For all students, greater that 50 percent of hours in the program of study must be in classes that are limited to graduate students only. Additionally, all students are expected to enroll in research hours (EHSC 9000) while they work toward their degree.

    Ph.D. Core Required Courses: 18-21 hours

    EHSC 7010 – 3 hr Fundamentals of Environmental Health Science
    (can be waived with prior EHS courses)
    EHSC 8010 – 3 hr Advanced Topics in Environmental Health Science I
    GRSC 8550 – 1 hr Responsible Conduct of Research
    EHSC 8050 – 1 hr Proseminar in Environmental Health
    EHSC 8030 – 1 hr Graduate Seminar in Environmental Health Research
    (3 semesters are required)
    BIOS/STAT 8XXX – 3 hr Biostatistics (advanced course)
    EPID 8XXX – 3 hr Epidemiology (advanced course)
    EHSC 9300 – 3 hr Dissertation
    EHSC 8150 – 1 hr Environmental Health Seminar [Exit Seminar]

    Ph.D. Elective Courses: 9 hours

    Course selection will be determined between student, major professor and dissertation committee.
    NOTE: >6 hrs must be from courses with EHSC prefix.

    Graduate-Level EHSC Electives

    EHSC 6060 – 3 hr Ecotoxicology
    EHSC 7010 – 3 hr Fundamentals of Environmental Health Science
    EHSC 7080 – 3 hr Advanced Environmental Air Quality
    EHSC 7150/L – 3 hr Occupational Hygiene and Safety
    EHSC 7310 – 3 hr Public Health Microbiology
    EHSC 7410 – 3 hr Global Environmental Health: Focus on Developing Countries
    EHSC 7490 – 3 hr Advanced Environmental Toxicology
    EHSC 7550 – 3 hr Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
    EHSC 7650 – 3 hr Water Quality
    EHSC 7900 – 3 hr Integrative Global Environment (Study Abroad)
    EHSC 8010 – 3 hr Advanced Topics in Environmental Health I
    EHSC 8020 – 3 hr Advanced Topics in Environmental Health II
    EHSC 8100 – 2-3 hr Current Topics in Environmental Health Science
    EHSC 8120 – 3 hr Roles and Responsibilities of Environmental Policy Makers
    EHSC 8210 – 3 hr Cancer Etiology and Prevention
    EHSC 8220 – 4 hr Predictive Toxicology Using Mathematical Models
    EHSC 8250 – 3 hr Biomarkers: Public Health, Clinical, and Environmental Toxicology
    EHSC 8310 – 3 hr Advanced Topics Aquatic Microbiology, Health and Environment
    EHSC 8350 – 3 hr Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology
    EHSC 8400 – 3 hr Occupational and Environmental Diseases
    EHSC 8410 – 3 hr Oceans and Human Health
    EHSC 8450 – 3 hr Genome Technologies
    EHSC 8460 – 3 hr Environmental Genomics
    EHSC 8510 – 3 hr Environmental Risk Assessment and Communication
    EHSC 8540 – 3 hr Microbial Quantitative Risk Assessment
    EHSC 8550 – 3 hr Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology
    EHSC 8610 – 3 hr Aquatic Toxicology
    EHSC 8630 – 4 hr Quantitative Ecological Toxicology
    EHSC 8650 – 3 hr Advanced Environmental Chemistry
    EHSC 8710 – 3 hr Issues in Biosafety and Biosecurity
    EHSC 8800 – 1-3 hr Special Problems in Environmental Health Science
    EHSC 8930 – 3 hr Chemical Toxicology

  • How to Apply

    Applicants will be evaluated based on GRE scores, GPA (undergraduate and/or graduate), official or unofficial transcripts, statement of interest and three letters of recommendation. Students seeking admission to the Ph.D. program directly from a bachelor’s degree will be expected to show a high level of achievement in their undergraduate degree to indicate capacity for adequate performance in Ph.D. level curriculum and research. International students whose native language is not English must also submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

    Students admitted to the Ph.D. program should have earned a degree (bachelor’s or master’s) from an accredited program in Environmental Health or any equivalent science degree (Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology, etc.).

    The admissions committee of the Dept. of Environmental Health Science will review all applications and make recommendations to the full faculty. For an applicant to be accepted to the program following favorable departmental review, one member of the faculty will need to sponsor the applicant as the academic and research advisor.

    Deadlines

    The Department of Environmental Health Science considers applicants for fall matriculation*. Final applications deadlines follow the dates set by the graduate school:

    Domestic and International Applicants

    Fall Semester March 1 **

    * Students may be considered for Spring/Summer admission only under extraordinary conditions and based on the explicit recommendation of a faculty advisor.

    **For full consideration of funding and aid, applicants should have their completed applications submitted before January 1, for Fall admission**

    Application materials to be sent directly to the Graduate School:

    • Application
    • Application-processing fee
    • Two transcripts (official academic records for international applicants) from each institution of higher education attended. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted as a part of the application. If accepted, UGA will require one official transcript to be sent.
    • GRE scores
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • (recommended) PPI Evaluation Report offered by ETS, the provider of the GRE

    International Applicants – additional information needed

    • TOEFL scores
    • Certificate of Finances (COF) form
    • Financial Certification Statement and Visa Information
    • For more information on International Applications and tuition please click here.

    Application materials to be sent directly to the EHS department:

    Departmental Application, which includes:
    Cover form (see link above)
    Statement of interest
    CV (or resumé)
    Supplementary evidence of scholarly activity (e.g., published paper, abstract, etc.)

    Please mail the departmental materials to:
    Department of Environmental Health Science
    c/of Graduate Coordinator
    University of Georgia
    206 Environmental Health Science Building
    Athens, GA 30602-2102
    or email to:  ehsgrad@uga.edu

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Is the Ph.D. degree research based?

    Yes. There are required courses for the program but you are expected to develop and execute an original research project in the field under the direction of your major professor and your Ph.D. committee.

    Do I need to find a major professor (faculty advisor) before applying to the PhD?

    We highly recommend that you identify a possible major professor before you apply.  Finding a suitable fit and having a faculty advocate on the admission committee is very important. This person will also be your primary source for funding through research assistantships. We strongly encourage any interested applicants to visit our on-line directory and click on the names of our faculty members to get an idea of their research and background. E-mail is the best way to initiate contact with our faculty.

    Are all graduate students provided funding?

    Ability to support Ph.D. students is considered in our admission process. Because these research-based degrees do not lend themselves well to part-time status and because you will be working in a lab to generate your data we generally only accept students for whom we can reasonably assure that we have funding in the form of assistantships. Assistantships include the following: 1) research assistantships (RAs), which are generally provided from grants held by individual faculty members (another reason that finding a major professor as soon as possible is so important), 2) teaching assistantships (TAs), which are limited in number and offered to students with expertise to teach certain undergraduate seminars, laboratory sections or to assist faculty teaching large lecture classes, or 3) graduate school assistantships (GSAs), which are available only to the most competitive applicants are administered through the graduate school (full applications must be submitted by early January to be considered for the graduate school awards). Because we try to provide funding for all incoming students, we generally have more qualified applicants than we can accept/support. We highly encourage interested students to seek outside funding before applying (e.g., EPA STAR fellowships [http://www.epa.gov/ncer/fellowships/], NSF Graduate Research Fellowships [http://www.nsfgrfp.org], among others).  Very limited funding is available for MPH students unless you have a specific arrangement to work on research with a faculty member.

    What GRE scores and GPA do I need to be considered for admission?

    The UGA Graduate School has set a minimum of 3.0 undergraduate GPA for consideration. While the University does not have a set minimum for the GRE, the Dept. of Environmental Health Science generally expects to see GRE scores for both verbal and quantitative sections above the 50th percentile. However, we evaluate an applicant’s entire package including statement of interest, previous experience, fit in the department and letters of recommendation in addition to undergraduate/graduate GPA and GRE scores in our admission decision.

    Can I be a part-time student?

    For the Ph.D. program, it is very difficult to be enrolled as a part-time student. This is primarily because these are research-intensive programs that generally require full time work in the lab or field. There are select cases where a part-time option is possible but those are usually addressed on a case-by-case basis involving discussions with your major professor.

    How long will it take to get my degree?

    The Ph.D. degree takes from 4 to 6 years, depending on your project and if you are coming in with a prior master’s degree.

    Is a master’s degree required to apply for the Ph.D.?

    No. We consider students with a bachelor’s degree as well as those with a master’s.

    Can I meet with faculty members about the program?

    If you would like to meet with any of our faculty members, please e-mail them to coordinate an appointment.

    Can I speak with current students about the degree?

    If you would like to talk with a current student in the program, please e-mail your request (and your specific interests) to ehsgrad@uga.edu and we will arrange contact between a current student in your research area and degree program of interest.