Environmental Health Sciences

For detailed information about our DrPH program, including advising, program requirements, and dissertation, please consult the Department of Environmental Health Sciences Doctoral Student Handbook.

Overview

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in Environmental Health Sciences is a professional degree indicating qualification for leadership careers in advanced public health practice and administration related specifically to environmental risks to human health. The DrPH program is designed for individuals seeking knowledge and skills in environmental health to advance their careers, particularly within governmental, nonprofit and private settings as well as in advocacy and policy, where specialized knowledge in environmental health sciences are essential.  DrPH students will have the option of carrying out research and writing a thesis.

Each student will work with a faculty advisor who will help guide them through their coursework, practicum and culminating experience.  If the student opts to do a thesis, they will work with their faculty advisor and a thesis committee. 

Graduates of this program will be qualified to pursue leadership positions in government agencies, private and public institutions involved with health and safety, developing environmental policy and studying the effects of environmental exposures on human health.

All EHS DrPH graduates are well-prepared for leadership roles within their chosen specialty area of environmental health sciences. In administering the doctoral program, the Department is governed by the Guidelines for the Doctor of Public Health Degree (PDF) prepared by the Standing Doctoral Committee of the School.

Career Options

The career paths of our graduates demonstrate wide applicability, including:

  • Senior roles in research or data analysis at governmental regulatory agencies at the local, state, national, and international levels;

  • Researchers within academia and industry, including pharmaceutical companies and consulting firms;

  • Leadership/senior roles at government organizations involved in environmental and health protection, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC);

  • Faculty positions at academic institutions;

  • Community-based organizations concerned with health issues related to environmental pollutants; and

  • Non-governmental organizations involved in developing and advocating for sound environmental policy.

Competencies

The DrPH degree in EHS is designed to train professionals for advanced applied research, teaching, and administrative positions in the area of environmental health sciences. Students in the program gain a set of competencies required of well-trained professionals. Upon satisfactory completion of the DrPH degree in EHS, in addition to the school-wide competencies* there are several departmental-specific competencies that all graduates will have achieved including:

  • Recognize and analyze challenges that face population health in Environmental Health Sciences.

  • Apply the principles of exposure assessment to evaluate human exposures to environmental and occupational hazards.

  • Evaluate current knowledge and key assumptions in environmental health sciences and other areas to advance the development of the field.

  • Gain skills needed to establish and manage an environmental health program.

  • Evaluate current knowledge and key assumptions in environmental health sciences and other areas to advance the development of the field.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of the EHS field and how major stakeholders collaborate with the goal of informing public and private constituency groups of environmental outcomes.

  • Recommend interventions for reducing human exposures to environmental and occupational hazards.

  • Communicate effectively, in writing and orally, knowledge of environmental hazards to other professionals and the public, including effective risk communication.

Research Option

Students electing to do research and a thesis are expected to achieve the following additional competencies:

  • Conceive, develop, and conduct original research leading to practical applications in environmental health sciences;

  • Apply the latest applied science methodologies for testing research hypotheses and solving practical problems in environmental health sciences;

  • Communicate effectively in writing and orally the results of research findings to the public and other professionals;

  • Have the skills to develop a well-conceived hypothesis and to create a written proposal aimed at acquiring funding for a project to test the hypothesis.

  • Compose a research article for submission to a peer reviewed, scientific journal;

  • Report research findings at professional meetings;

  • Summarize research findings for a non-technical audience;

  • Identify significant gaps in the current applied knowledge in environmental health sciences and develop approaches to fill those gaps;

  • And establish, organize, and operate an independent applied research program in environmental health sciences.
     

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the DrPH program, an applicant must have a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited school of public health and satisfy additional admission requirements specific to the Mailman School of Public Health. As part of the application process, each applicant is asked to describe an area or areas of research interest in their personal statement; this important aspect of the application enables the admissions committee to evaluate whether the applicant’s interests match those of the faculty. Thus it is essential that applicants review the research interests of faculty prior to applying to the program. Potential applicants should contact the njk2128 [at] columbia.edu (Director of Academic Programs) to discuss this issue and to arrange a meeting with individual faculty with whom they may have an interest in working.

The deadline for fall admissions is December 1st; Spring applications are not accepted.

For additional information, please feel free to contact the Office of Admissions directly by ph-admit [at] columbia.edu (email) or by phone at 212-342-5127.