University of Nebraska Medical Center

Program Tracks

The doctoral program in Environmental Health, Occupational Health & Toxicology is designed to prepare students for careers in academia, government, or industry. It provides students with the knowledge base, field and laboratory skills, and problem-solving abilities to become independent, innovative professionals using state-of-the-art approaches to address scientific problems in the fields of environmental health, occupational health and safety, and toxicology. Our PhD program offers two educational tracks to meet the research interests of our students.

Environmental and Occupational Health Track

The curriculum in the Environmental and Occupational Health track is designed for students seeking depth and breadth in the field of environmental and occupational health. In addition, the curriculum will benefit practicing and aspiring occupational health and safety (OHS) practitioners such as industrial hygienists, who seek to improve OHS practices and/or compliance in their organizations. Students will learn about physical and psychosocial hazards in occupational environments, risk assessment, applying control measures and monitoring their effectiveness, and environmental assessment and modelling.

Students are eligible for additional certification: the 30-hour OSHA General Industry card and the Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist credential from the Council for the Accreditation of Occupational Hearing Conservationists. Collaborations currently exist with several businesses addressing occupational health and safety issues. Additional collaborators include first responders, construction and trucking companies, and environmental consulting and engineering firms. The UNMC College of Public Health is the home of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health. This federally funded center offers students numerous research and outreach opportunities.

Toxicology Track

Toxicologists and other environmental and population scientists play an essential role in ensuring that we are not endangering our health or the environment with the products and by-products of modern and comfortable living. This is especially true in states such as Nebraska, where production agriculture dominates the economy, but the potential impacts of such intense agricultural production on human health and environment are unclear. Therefore, there are increased demands for new and better ways to determine the potential harmful effects of chemical agents. In addition, we need to establish rules and regulations aimed at protecting human health and preserving the environment. This includes developing conditions under which toxic chemicals can be used safely, and assessing the probability that a particular chemical(s) presents a significant risk to human health and/or the environment.