Goals of the Certificate

The Certificate in Risk Science and Human Health is designed to support science-informed and socially responsive decision-making on risks to human health. The Certificate is founded on four core principles:

  1. Human health risk decisions should always be grounded in evidence.
  2. Effective solutions to risk challenges demand an integration of cross-disciplinary expertise.
  3. For effective action on risk challenges, evidence needs to be translated into to actionable intelligence.
  4. Effective management of existing and emergent risks is essential to sustainable social and economic growth.


Upon completion of the Risk Science and Human Health Certificate students will have acquired experience in a minimum of four of the following competencies:

  1. Understand definitions, concepts, and principles of public health, and the cross-disciplinary nature of risk science.
  2. Develop and evaluate policy and communication strategies to address human health risks.
  3. Quantitatively characterize the risk to human health from existing and emergent hazards.
  4. Recognize and utilize systems-based approaches to risk management and sustainability.
  5. Conduct and compare benefit/cost analyses related to human health risk.


Students who complete the Certificate will receive science-based yet integrated training in some of the many disciplines that risk science encompasses. These include public health, risk assessment, business, engineering, public policy, social research, economics and communication. This training spans a number of different content areas (“clusters”):

  • Cluster 1: Public Health
  • Cluster 2: Risk Communication and Risk Management Policy
  • Cluster 3: Quantitative Environmental Risk Assessment
  • Cluster 4A: Systems Approaches to Risk and Sustainability
  • Cluster 4B: Benefit/cost and Risk Analysis

Clusters 1,2, and 3 are core components of training in risk science. Clusters 4A and 4B represent other important components of risk science; students can choose the cluster that best suits their background and career interests.

The multidisciplinary courses for the Certificate will be drawn from a number of schools and departments from around the University of Michigan.

  • Department of Environmental Health Services
  • Department of Epidemiology
  • Department of Health Behavior and Health Education
  • Department of Health Management and Policy
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Law School
  • School for Environment and Sustainability
  • School of Information
  • School of Public Health
  • Stephan M. Ross School of Business

While Certificate students will have to take at least one course in the School of Public Health, students in some schools – particularly the School for Environment and Sustainability – will be able to complete the rest of Certificate program completely within their schools, e.g. without additional coursework in Public Health.