Master of Science in Environmental Health

The MS in Environmental Health prepares graduates to work as program or project managers, staff scientists, and research associates. As awareness of environmental influences on human health increases among policymakers and the public, opportunities for graduates to make a difference are expanding. These opportunities are found in state and federal agencies, town governments, nonprofit organizations, environmental consulting firms, university settings, and industry. Students focus in one of four substantive areas: environmental epidemiology; urban and community health; exposure and risk assessment; or toxicology. The MS program is strongly rooted in the Department of Environmental Health and the School of Public Health and also takes advantage of the rich intellectual community of Boston University to create a deep and flexible curriculum.

Program Competencies

Upon completing the requirements for the MS in Environmental Health, graduates are able to:

  • Communicate the basic characteristics of major chemical, physical, and biological hazards and the properties that govern the hazards’ behavior in the environment;
  • Explain the scientific characteristics (e.g., route of exposure, dose response, mode of action) of major biological, chemical, and physical hazards that result in human health risk;
  • Explain and analyze genetic, physiologic, and social factors that affect the susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards;
  • Critically evaluate and interpret the hypothesis, experimental design, methods, and results presented in a paper from a technical journal article in an environmental health discipline (toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment);
  • Analyze and interpret environmental health data;
  • Identify appropriate intervention strategies for specific environmental health problems; and
  • Communicate the results of a scientific study in a written and oral format.

MS Requirements

MS candidates must complete a total of 48 credits (12 courses), with a minimum grade of B in each required course. All students complete a common set of seven courses and also take required courses in their chosen area of focused study. Course listings are available in the SPH Bulletin. Additionally, students participate in an integrative experience that has three components: a research or internship experience, a paper in which the student conducts a rigorous analysis of the work conducted, and an oral presentation of the paper in a departmental seminar. The program can be completed in 18 months and must be completed in 5 years.

Eligibility for Admission to the Program

  1. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in a field related to environmental health (i.e., a focused undergraduate program in biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering; or a broader undergraduate program in environmental sciences or public health) or must have completed substantial coursework in one of these fields.
  2. Official transcripts for all registered coursework from each college or university attended. A high level of past academic performance is expected, particularly in courses within the applicant’s undergraduate major or coursework related to environmental sciences or public health. Recommended GPA > 3.2/4.0.
  3. All candidates will be required to submit GRE scores or MCAT scores that are less than five years old. It is recommended that relevant test scores (verbal, analytic, and quantitative) be above the 60th percentile.
  4. Applicants must demonstrate competence in English. Candidates from countries where English is not the language of instruction must submit either TOEFL or IELTS scores to the Admissions Committee. Applicants must achieve a TOEFL score of 100 (on the current version of the exam), 250 (for the earlier electronic version), or 600 (for the earlier paper-based version).
  5. Documentation of academic skills and interests from three references will be required. The committee will be especially interested in references from former undergraduate (or graduate) school professors and former supervisors of environmental health or research-related employment.
  6. A résumé or curriculum vitae.
  7. Applicants must provide evidence of their preparedness, interest, and elementary understanding of the environmental health research field in the form of a concise personal statement. This statement should include: the candidate’s reason for studying environmental health; his/her desired particular area of study within the department; the anticipated value of environmental health training at Boston University to the candidate’s personal career plans; and the relevance of his/her prior education and experience.

For more information regarding the MS program, please contact Dr. Jennifer Schlezinger, MS Program Director for the Department of Environmental Health or reference the EH MS Guide.