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.


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. GRSC 7001 and 7770 do not count toward the program of study.

Department Required Courses
EHSC 7010* Intro. to Environmental Health Science
EHSC 8010 Adv. Topics in Environ. Health I
EHSC 8020 Adv. Topics in Environ. Health II
EHSC 8030 Graduate Seminar (x3)
EHSC 8050 Proseminar in EHS
EHSC 8150 Environmental Health Seminar
EHSC 9000 Doctoral Research
EHSC 9300 Dissertation
BIOS, STAT, other Biostatistics (advanced course)
*Students with prior EHS experience may waive this requirement

College of Public Health Required Courses
PBHL 7100* Fundamentals of Public Health
*If no prior public health degree

Graduate School Required Courses
GRSC 7001 GradFIRST Seminar
GRSC 7770** Graduate Teaching Seminar
**For Teaching Assistant’s only
GRSC 8550 Responsible Conduct of Research

EHS Electives
EHSC 6310 (L) Environmental Microbiology
EHSC 6320 (L) Food Safety Control Programs
EHSC 7010 Fundamentals of Environmental Health Science
EHSC 7080 Advanced Environmental Air Quality
EHSC 7150 (L) Occupational Hygiene and Safety
EHSC 7310 Public Health Microbiology
EHSC 7490 Principles of Toxicology
EHSC 7550 Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
EHSC 8010 Advanced Topics in Environmental Health I
EHSC 8020 Advanced Topics in Environmental Health II
EHSC 8110 Fundamentals of Chemical and Microbial Risk Assessment
EHSC 8120 Roles and Responsibilities of Environmental Policy Makers
EHSC 8210 Cancer Etiology and Prevention
EHSC 8220/L Predictive Toxicology Using Mathematical Models
EHSC 8250 Biomarkers: Public Health, Clinical, and Environmental Tox
EHSC 8310 Advanced Topics Aquatic Microbiology, Health, Environ.
EHSC 8350 Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology
EHSC 8410 Oceans and Human Health
EHSC 8450 Genome Technologies
EHSC 8460 Environmental Genomics
EHSC 8550 Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology
EHSC 8610 Aquatic Toxicology
EHSC 8630 (L) Quantitative Ecological Toxicology
EHSC 8650 Advanced Environmental Chemistry
EHSC 8800 Special Problems in Environmental Health Science

How to Apply

General Procedure

Applicants to the Department of Environmental Health Science (EHS) will have their application materials reviewed by the Graduate School and the EHS graduate admissions committee. The committee 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. The Graduate School reviews the department’s recommendation and makes the final determination on acceptance.

Applicants will be evaluated based on GPA (undergraduate and/or graduate), official or unofficial transcripts, statement of interest, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants to the PhD program should have earned a degree (bachelor’s and/or master’s) from an accredited program in Environmental Health or any equivalent science degree (Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology, etc.). Students seeking admission to the PhD 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 PhD level curriculum and research. International students whose native language is not English must also submit TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo language proficiency examination scores.

Application Deadlines

The Department of Environmental Health Science considers applicants for Fall* matriculation.

For full consideration of funding and aid, applicants should have their completed applications submitted before January 1. Otherwise, applicants should have their completed applications submitted by March 1.

Final application deadlines follow the dates set by the graduate school, found here.

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

How to Apply

Step 1: Complete an online application to the University of Georgia Graduate School.

Application materials submitted directly to the Graduate School (Domestic and International):

  • UGA Graduate School online application and application-processing fee ($75 Domestic / $100 International)
  • One unofficial transcript (official academic records for international applicants) from each institution of higher education attended. If accepted, UGA will require one official transcript to be sent. Do not mail official transcripts until offered admission.
  • 3 letters of recommendation. List the names of recommenders along with their e-mail addresses. They will receive a link to access a secure page where they can submit your recommendation quickly and easily via the Web.
  • [OPTIONAL] GRE scores.**

International Applicants – additional information is required:

  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores** (if applicable – see country-specific requirements here for more information).
  • Certificate of Finances (COF) form
  • Financial Certification Statement and Visa Information

**Note: UGA institutional code for ETS reporting: 5813.

Step 2: Complete a supplemental application to the Department of Environmental Health Science.

Please send the following materials directly to the EHS Department (

  • EHS Department Supplemental Application cover form (fillable PDF)
  • A curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé
  • A one-page statement of background and interests in Environmental Health
  • (Optional) One additional item that illustrates of highlights exemplary work, preparation, (e.g. reprint of a publication on which you are an author/co-author, details of a significant award, etc.)

All application materials must be received before they are reviewed by the EHS Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. You can check your UGA application status at

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 [], NSF Graduate Research Fellowships [], 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 GPA do I need to be considered for admission?

The UGA Graduate School has set a minimum of 3.0 undergraduate GPA for consideration. 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 in our admission decision.

Are GRE scores required for admission?

No, we currently do not require standardized test scores such as the GRE for admission to the EHS program. Students may choose to include GRE scores for consideration with their application, but this is optional and not required.

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 and we will arrange contact between a current student in your research area and degree program of interest.