Are you interested in expanding your fundamental knowledge of workplace safety? Are you able to analyze data and assess human situations in occupational settings?

The master of science in occupational safety prepares graduates for leadership positions in occupational safety and related fields. An academic experience in the design and management of enterprise-wide safety systems is provided. This hands-on program includes a strong working knowledge, practical application, and general understanding of the core discipline of occupational safety. Program course work includes analysis of occupation safety and health problems, accompanying problem-solving and decision-making techniques and the application of established principles of accident prevention, control, and reduction in occupational settings. Foundational principles and overarching academic goals of the program include ensuring effective communication skills, the ability to think critically, problem solve, and to develop applied research skills. An academic experience in the design and management of enterprise-wide safety systems is provided.

Sample areas of training include, but are not limited to safety regulations, ergonomics and biomechanics, risk assessment and risk management, insurance and workers compensation, construction safety management, fire safety, transportation safety, organizational and behavioral aspects of safety, and legal implications.

ECU Advantage

Since its foundation in 1994, the program has had approximately 150 graduates who have gone on to assume leadership roles in the field. The program has enjoyed high placement rates and continued demand of graduates by employers. Both the program and its faculty have earned national and international recognition and are actively engaged with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

The program was established to satisfy an ongoing demand for academically trained and competent occupational safety practitioners by training highly qualified and skilled graduates capable of assuming the day-to-day responsibilities of safety professionals. Graduates of the program will have opportunities to assume leadership roles such as risk managers, safety engineers, safety directors, safety managers, EHS managers, loss prevention specialists, safety compliance officers, and safety and health trainers.

What You Will Study

The master of science in occupational safety program prepares students for leadership and managerial positions in occupational safety and health or closely related fields. The program is offered on-campus and online with identical curriculum. Minimum degree requirement is 36-39 s.h. as follows:

1. Foundational/transitional courses - 6 s.h.
  • SAFT 6001 - Regulatory Aspects of Occupational and Environmental Safety
  • SAFT 6002 - Technical Aspects and Field Audits in Occupational Safety
2. Required courses - 21 s.h.
  • SAFT 6040 - Critical Thinking and Research Methods in Occupational Safety
  • SAFT 6250 - Occupational Ergonomics
  • SAFT 6290 - Fire Protection and Prevention and Emergency Management
  • SAFT 6310 - Risk Management and Workers' Compensation
  • SAFT 6402 - Applied Safety Management
  • SAFT 6410 - Systems Safety and Risk Analysis
  • SAFT 6805 - Occupational Safety Monitoring and Control
3. Options - 9-12 s.h.

(Choose one of the following.)

    Practicum option - 9 s.h.
    • SAFT 6995 - Practicum in Occupational Safety (3 s.h.)
    • Approved electives (6 s.h.)
    Thesis option - 12 s.h.
    • BIOS 7021 - Biostatistics for Health Professionals I (3 s.h.)or
    • ITEC 6000 - Statistical Applications in Technology Management (3 s.h.)
    • space
    • SAFT 7000 - Thesis (6 s.h.)
    • Approved electives

Electives from CMGT, ITEC, PSYC, SAFT or other areas are selected as approved by the graduate program coordinator. Students who are deficient in the foundational regulatory and technical aspects of occupational safety may be required to take additional courses. Program prerequisites include chemistry with lab and statistics.

    Admission Requirements

    Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School. Acceptance into MS in occupational safety program is based on:

    BS or BA degree from a regionally accredited institution in safety, environmental sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, technology, environmental health, community health, health education and promotion, economics, business, psychology, and other related fields;

    After a preliminary review of all applications, the program admissions committee will conduct an interview of all applicants to evaluate the qualifications of applicant and content of application for the admission. The program admissions committee reserves the right to deny any applications based on the result of the interview.

      Degree Options

      The program offers two options: practicum option and thesis option. Students enrolled in the program may choose either one of the options, based on their qualification and approval of the program's admission committee or the program coordinator.

        Delivery Methods

        The master of science in occupational safety is offered on-campus and online, with identical curriculum. The online mode of delivery is designed only for qualified working professionals in occupational safety and health or closely related fields. The on-campus mode is designed for individuals who are not working in the field. The program's admissions committee reviews and approves the best mode for applicants, based on evaluation of the application materials and results of admission interview.

          Mission, Goals, and Objectives

          The mission of the MS in occupational safety program is to provide society with servant leaders who possess the highest ethical values and technical capabilities to make a positive impact through strategically managing risks associated with occupational safety and health.

          The overarching goals developed to support the mission of the degree program are to:

          Program objectives include educating graduates with a working knowledge and general understanding in the broad discipline of occupational safety and health. The areas of emphasis include but are not limited to, safety regulations, industrial hygiene, ergonomics and biomechanics, risk management and workers' compensation, system safety and risk assessment, construction safety management, fire safety, transportation safety, organizational and behavioral aspects of safety, and environmental science and legal implications. Upon successfully completing the plan of study, graduates will be expected to:

          Students graduating from the MS in occupational safety program will be expected to be able to demonstrate the ability to:

          (a.) apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and applied sciences; (b.) design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data; (c.) formulate or design a system, process, or program to meet desired needs; (d.) function on multidisciplinary teams; (e.) identify and solve applied science problems; (f.) understand professional and ethical responsibility; (g.) communicate effectively; describe the impact of solutions in a global and societal context; (h.) recognize the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning; (i.) identify and describe contemporary issues; and (j.) use the techniques, skills, and modern scientific and technical tools necessary for professional practice.

            Transfer Credits

            Applicants with a baccalaureate degree in occupational safety and health from a regionally accredited school, significant verifiable work experience, or appropriate professional designations (i.e., CSP, CIH, ARM, and CPE) may be qualified to receive credit for up to two courses, including foundational/transitional courses (SAFT 6001 and SAFT 6002), with appropriate documentation.

              For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

              Careers With This Degree

              Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

              • Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene
              • Health and Human Services
              • Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
              • Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
              • Occupational Health and Safety Technicians
              • Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene

              Career Opportunities

              ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

              NC Tower

              This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

              • Self-employed;
              • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
              • Work outside of North Carolina.

              US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

              This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

              Degree-specific internships

              For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.