Environmental Quality, Sustainability and Health
The Environmental Quality, Sustainability and Health (EQSH) Program is a multidisciplinary program that blends the sciences of environmental health and sustainability sciences. Environmental health is aimed at understanding, identifying, characterizing and mitigating environmental exposures that may adversely impact human health and the environment. Sustainability science addresses the dynamics of human-environment systems and the design, implementation, and evaluation of practical interventions to evaluate, mitigate, and minimize the consequences of human impacts on society and the planet.
What do EQSH Scientists Do?
At the interface between sustainability and health, the EQSH scientist works in a variety of private, governmental and academic settings to meet present and future needs for environmental management related to human health.
- We study, identify and characterize the natural background and the extent of chemical, physical and biological comtaminant impacts on our environment and health.
- We communicate knowledge to strengthen our ability to anticipate, recognize and respond to environmental health challenges
The EQSH Program responds to the growing need for qualified professionals in both public and private sectors who have expertise in environmental health as well as sustainability fields. These individuals find employment in a wide range of fields:
- government (local, state and federal) in positions related to environmental and occupational health, environmental quality, planning and infrastructure, and economic development, and infrastructure;
- industry (consulting and industry), in jobs related to environmental and sustainability policy, product stewardship, and community relations;
- non-profit/non-government sector (community organizations, foundations and international programs), where they respond to concerns and needs of communities, states and other associations,and
- academia for research and teaching.
Below are examples of careers where EQSH students have started in the past years:
- Environmental Sanitarian at Livingston County Department of Public Health, Michigan
- Environmental Quality Analysis, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
- Certification Project Manager at NSF International
- Environmental Defense Fund (NGO)
- Research Associate at Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute
- ORISE Fellow at US EPA
Unique to the University of Michigan, the graduate program in EQSH provides students with the background and skills to evaluate and develop sustainable solutions to prevent environmental exposures.
- Exposures to environmental stressors, including chemical and microbial contaminants in air, water, food and consumer products, are studied through a combination of field measurements, laboratory studies, modeling, risk, health and life cycle assessment.
- Health and environmental risks and impacts are evaluated using a comprehensive life cycle approach, addressing local to global scales.
- This knowledge provides the basis for designing and promoting innovative and sustainable solutions and policies that prevent adverse exposures, and for developing synergies and solutions that improve human and ecological health in a sustainable manner.
We are a specific EQSH specialization within the Environmental Health Sciences MPH program. You can also select the department EHS Master of Sciences (MS) and/or the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree(s) and focus your selection of courses and research on EQSH topics.
- The 60 credit hour MPH requires four semesters to complete. It includes a summer internship, typically in private industry, NGOs, consultants or with a governmental agency, either in the U.S. or abroad
- The MS degree can be completed within 3 to 4 semesters and includes a focused thesis project guided by one or more faculty mentors.
- The PhD degree entails in-depth training/mentorship in research skills, and the generation of high-impact, scholarly research findings that are published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature
- The curricula are comprehensive, yet sufficiently flexibility to permit students to pursue any of a number of other interests, including "minor" concentrations and Certificate Degrees
Applicants must have a strong background in the natural sciences. Successful applicants have at least one course in the basic sciences which includes:
biology and/or physiology
Some deficiencies may be made up after admission to the program. Courses taken to fulfill basic deficiencies do not count toward fulfillment of the degree's course requirements.
Visit the Admissions & Aid section of the U-M SPH site for details on the application process and financial aid options. Additional information for international applicants can be found here.
Qualified students can receive financial support from one or more of the following sources:
- Fellowships/Scholarships from the Rackham Graduate School and the School of Public Health
- Teaching assistantships from EHS or other SPH departments
- Research assistantships from faculty research grants (mostly for M.S. and Ph.D. students)
Curriculum and Sample Schedules
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)
The Environmental Quality, Sustainability and Health (EQSH) Program provides students with the background and skills to evaluate and develop sustainable solutions to prevent such exposures. Exposures to environmental stressors, including chemical and microbial contaminants in air, water, food and consumer products, are studied through a combination of field measurements, laboratory studies, modeling, risk, health and life cycle assessment. Health and environmental risks and impacts are evaluated using a comprehensive life cycle approach, addressing local to global scales. This knowledge provides the basis for designing and promoting innovative and sustainable solutions and policies that prevent adverse exposures, and for developing synergies and solutions that improve human and ecological health in a sustainable manner.
- The EQSH subplan provides the scientific foundation for understanding and anticipating environment and health impacts, the skills for using this knowledge to promote sustainable and healthy solutions, and an appreciation of applications and best practices in the field. Based on the following competencies, upon completion of the subplan students are expected to be able to:
- Identify environmental contaminants, including their sources, chemistry and cycles,
- Describe multi-media transport and fate, and apply environmental and exposure modeling from local to global scales,
- Assess human exposure, develop exposure assessment strategies and apply them to multiple pathways,
- Describe and implement environmental quality study design, sampling, data collection and practices in the laboratory and field,
- Evaluate environmental quality and health, including air and water quality and their effect on individual, community and global health,
- Demonstrate understanding of sustainability sciences, including sustainability goals and the ability to design, evaluate and promote interventions that minimize adverse consequences on society and environment.
|Year 1 - Fall Term (September - December)||Credit Hours|
|BIOSTAT 521 - Applied Biostatistics||4|
|EHS 510 - Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship||1|
|EHS 601 - Exposure Science and Health||3|
|EHS 602 - Essentials of Toxicology||3|
|EHS 574 - Environmental Chemistry||3|
|EHS 688 - Professional Development in Environmental Health||0.5|
|Year 1 - Winter Term (January - April)||Credit Hours|
|Select one (1) of the following:||3|
|BIOSTAT 502 - Application of Regression Analysis to Public Health Studies|
|BIOSTAT 522 - Biostatistical Analyses of Health Related Studies|
|EHS 655 - Human Exposure Analysis|
|EPID 503 - Strategies and Uses of Epidemiology||3|
|EHS 410 - Sustainability and Environmental Health||3|
|EHS 582 - Principles of Community Air Pollution|
|EHS 603 - Occupational and Environmental Diseases||3|
Field Experience (May-August)
|Year 2 - Fall Term (September - December)||Credit Hours|
|EHS 570 - Water Quality Management||3|
|EHS 572 - Environmental Impact Assessment (or EHS 674 in Winter Term)||2|
|EHS 604 - Professional Perspectives in Environmental Health||2|
|EHS 640 - Environmental Chemistry Laboratory||2|
|EHS 689 - Professional Development in Environmental Health II||0.5|
|BIC Requirements/EQSH Requirements/Electives||6|
|Year 2 - Winter Term (January - April)||Credit Hours|
|EHS 674 - Environmental and Health Risk Modeling (or EHS 572 in Fall Term)||3|
|BIC Requirement/EQSH Requirements/Electives||12|
Master of Science (M.S.)
Our M.S. degree is geared to students seeking research careers. It serves as a doctoral preparatory program, while also providing sufficient coursework in core toxicology topics to qualify graduates for professional practice should they not continue on to the Ph.D. program.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The Ph.D. program follows conventional norms in terms of essential coursework, proficiency examinations, proposal writing/presentation, research and professional development, and defense of the written dissertation.
If you want to find out if EQSH is for you, please contact one of our faculty members or our student services coordinator:
Graduate Program Coordinator
Professor J. Tim Dvonch
Environmental Quality, Sustainability and Health Program Director