Do you have an undergraduate degree in environmental health science or a related field and want to improve your knowledge, skills and career prospects? Are you currently an environmental health professional and want to upgrade your credentials and improve your professional prospects while continuing to work?

The master of science in environmental health (MSEH) program at East Carolina University is a great opportunity for students seeking rewarding career opportunities while protecting the environment and public health. The MSEH also program provides current environmental health professionals an opportunity to upgrade their credentials and improve their career prospects. Graduates from the program will be prepared for the challenges and opportunities available with local, state, federal and international organizations and agencies. Topics of study include air pollution control, elements of environmental engineering, water supply and wastewater technologies, food safety, toxicology, epidemiology, industrial hygiene, occupational health, vector borne disease and environmental law and management.

Prospects for employment and career advancement are excellent. The US Bureau of Labor statistics predicts that the employment opportunities in Environmental Health Sciences will expand by 28 percent in the next decade. Both public- and private-sector employers seek trained environmental health professionals for a wide variety of important jobs. In addition to local, state, and federal public-health agencies, other potential employers include military installations, industry, consulting firms, and institutional environments. Graduates may also choose to pursue a career in environmental health research and/or pursue a doctorate in a related field of interest.

ECU Advantage

The MSEH degree at ECU is currently one of only eight environmental health graduate degree programs accredited by the National Environmental Health Sciences Protection and Accreditation Council (NEHSPAC). The program offers the only NEHSPAC-accredited master’s degree in the nation that may be completed entirely online by professionals working in the field or a related discipline.

Students are provided a variety of research opportunities working with the environmental health program faculty. Faculty have a wide range of research interests, including vector borne disease, air quality, water and wastewater management, industrial hygiene, occupational health, and agricultural waste management. Graduate research assistant positions are available to help support students.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Tim Kelley (3409 Carol G. Belk Building; 252-737-2225; kelleyt@ecu.edu)

The master of science in environmental health requires completion of a minimum of 35 s.h. A student with less than 30 undergraduate semester hours in the natural sciences may be admitted with the approval of the environmental health sciences faculty and may be required to complete additional science coursework. All students must pass a written, comprehensive examination typically completed during the student's last semester prior to graduation.

Environmental health offers two degree paths:


1. Required core courses for research and applied options - 26 s.h.
  • HLTH 6011 - Introduction to Epidemiology or
  • MPH 6011 - Introduction to Epidemiology
  • space
  • BIOS 7021 - Biostatistics for Health Professionals I
  • EHST 5001 - Seminar in Environmental Health
  • EHST 5010 - Principles of Toxicology
  • EHST 5011 - Principles of Toxicology Laboratory
  • space
  • EHST 6010 - Fundamentals of Environmental Health or
  • MPH 6010 - Fundamentals of Environmental Health
  • space
  • EHST 6210 - Topics in Environmental Health and Safety
  • EHST 6220 - Topics in Environmental Health and Safety
  • EHST 6230 - Topics in Environmental Health and Safety
  • EHST 6800 - Environmental Health Program Management
  • space
  • EHST 6990 - Environmental Health Professional Paper or
  • EHST 7000 - Thesis
  • Note:

    All students write and orally defend a thesis or professional paper.  The thesis research or professional paper proposal and thesis or professional paper must be approved by the student's advisor and committee. The research and applied option committees must be comprised of a minimum of three members, two of whom must be environmental health sciences graduate faculty, and one of whom must be external to the environmental health sciences program. 

    2. Additional environmental health-related courses - 9 s.h.

    One elective course must be completed in the competency area of the natural sciences* (See examples below.).  Course selection (including alternate selections) in consultation with the student's advisor.  

    • BIOS 5010 - Epidemiology for Health Professionals
    • EHST 5800 - Solid and Hazardous Waste Management and Laboratory *
    • EHST 5801 - Solid and Hazardous Waste Management and Laboratory *
    • EHST 6100 - Elements in Environmental Engineering
    • EHST 6201 - Individual Studies
    • EHST 6202 - Individual Studies
    • EHST 6203 - Individual Studies
    • EHST 6300 - Public Health Pests and Vector Borne Disease *
    • EHST 6301 - Public Health Pests and Vector Borne Disease Laboratory *
    • EHST 6400 - Technical Advances in Water Supply and Waste Treatment *
    • EHST 6420 - Food Safety Science and Public Health Protection *
    • EHST 6520 - Biological and Chemical Environmental Health and Safety *
    • EHST 6530 - Physical and Radiation Environmental Health and Safety *
    • EHST 6600 - Air Quality Control Methods and Devices *
    • EHST 6700 - Industrial Hygiene Application
    • EHST 6701 - Industrial Hygiene Application Laboratory
    • EHST 6710 - Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality and Laboratory
    • GEOL 5710 - Ground Water Hydrology *
    • GEOL 5711 - Ground Water Hydrology Laboratory *
    • MPH 6020 - Research Methods
    • PLAN 6301 - GIS and CAD Application for Planning
    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:

    • Environmental Health
    • Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
    • Occupational Health and Safety Technicians
    • Health and Human Services
    • Education and Training
    • Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene
    • Environmental Health

    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.