Are you interested in utilizing education, surveillance, consultation, inspection and enforcement to improve the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, to safeguard the food we eat and to protect the population from exposure to hazardous substances at home and work? Would you like a career in a public health profession that the US Bureau of Labor statistics predicts will grow by 28 percent in the next decade?

Environmental health is a branch of public health that is concerned with all aspects of how the natural and built environment affects human health. Environmental health science students are trained to ensure the safety of what people eat, breathe, touch, and drink through a curriculum that blends science, public health, management, and policy. Environmental health professionals work in a wide variety of settings. Almost all of these involve working with people and translating scientific and technical information into clear and understandable language for educational, legal and public information.

Students will be prepared to use technologies and strategies to address environmental disease causes and apply preventative measures associated with foodborne, waterborne, and vector borne diseases, as well environmental diseases causing birth defects and cancer. A BSEH degree will also prepare students to develop clean energy alternatives, reducing carbon emissions. Student will also provide leadership in development of comprehensive energy plans to avoid major economic disruption during disasters.

Graduates from the ECU's environmental health sciences program will be prepared for the professional challenges and opportunities available with local, state, federal, and international agencies. Student will learn the value of teamwork and communication skills necessary to protect the public health from any environmental threat.

ECU Advantage

ECU's environmental health program is one of only 30 National Environmental Health Sciences Protection and Accreditation Council (NEHSPAC) accredited undergraduate programs. Students learn from a diverse and knowledgeable faculty as well as guest lecturers from local, state and federal agencies. Students have access to modern classrooms and laboratories, as well as field sites such as wastewater and water treatment facilities, child care centers, institutional and recreational settings, tattoo establishments, recycling centers, solid and hazardous waste disposal sites, onsite wastewater sites, and mosquito-breeding sites. Study abroad opportunities and domestic and international internships with private industries and regulatory agencies are available. Students are encouraged to participate in the ECO-Pirates club, a student-led environmental health organization promoting sustainability and environmental awareness on campus and in the community.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: William Hill (3404 Carol Belk Building; 252-737-1475; hillw@ecu.edu)

A minimum GPA of 2.0 in all 1000 level basic science and math courses, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on at least 30 s.h., and completion of EHST 2110 are required for admission to the professional phase of the environmental health sciences curriculum. Environmental health majors must pass all environmental health courses with a minimum grade of C- (1.7). A student earning a D (1.0 or lower) in any of these courses must petition the environmental health sciences faculty for probationary continuation.

Minimum degree requirement is 125 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements including those listed below - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

    • BIOL 1050 - General Biology
    • BIOL 1051 - General Biology Laboratory
    • MATH 1065 - College Algebra

    (Choose 9 s.h. from the below courses.)

    • HIST 1051 - American History Since 1877
    • PSYC 1000 - Introductory Psychology
    • RCLS 2601 - Leisure in Society
    • SOCI 2110 - Introduction to Sociology
2. Common core - 42 s.h.
    Select from the following with advisor approval:
    • EHST 2110 - Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences
    • EHST 3003 - Environmental Epidemiology
    • EHST 3200 - Food Sanitation Principles
    • EHST 3201 - Food Sanitation Principles Laboratory
    • EHST 3350 - Safe Water
    • EHST 3351 - Safe Water Laboratory
    • EHST 3370 - Waste Water Management
    • EHST 3371 - Waste Water Management Laboratory
    • EHST 3600 - Air Pollution
    • EHST 3700 - Industrial Hygiene
    • EHST 3701 - Industrial Hygiene Laboratory
    • EHST 4010 - Toxicological Foundations of Risk Assessment
    • EHST 4200 - Environmental Health Management and Law
    • EHST 4300 - Institutional and Recreational Sanitation and Laboratory
    • EHST 4301 - Institutional and Recreational Sanitation and Laboratory
    • EHST 4350 - Vector Borne Disease Ecology and Laboratory
    • EHST 4351 - Vector Borne Disease Ecology and Laboratory
    • EHST 4990 - Environmental Health Internship
    • EHST 5001 - Seminar in Environmental Health
    • EHST 5800 - Solid and Hazardous Waste Management and Laboratory
    • EHST 5801 - Solid and Hazardous Waste Management and Laboratory
3. Cognates - 29 s.h.
    Required cognates - 23 s.h.
    • BIOL 2110 - Fundamentals of Microbiology
    • BIOL 2111 - Fundamentals of Microbiology Laboratory
    • BIOL 2130 - Survey of Human Physiology and Anatomy *
    • CHEM 1150 - General Chemistry I
    • CHEM 1151 - General Chemistry Laboratory I
    • CHEM 1160 - General Chemistry II
    • CHEM 1161 - General Chemistry Laboratory II
    • CHEM 2750 - Organic Chemistry I
    • CHEM 2753 - Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
    • PHYS 1250 - General Physics I
    • PHYS 1251 - General Physics Laboratory I

    • MATH 2228 - Elementary Statistical Methods I or
    • BIOS 1500 - Introduction to Biostatistics
    • Note:

      * This course counts towards the general education requirements. See section one.

      Recommended cognates - 6 s.h.

      (Choose at least 6 s.h. from the below courses.)

      • MIS 2223 - Introduction to Computers
      • PHYS 1260 - General Physics II
      • PHYS 1261 - General Physics Laboratory II

      • GEOG 3220 - Soil Properties, Surveys, and Applications
      • or
      • GEOL 5710 - Ground Water Hydrology
      • GEOL 5711 - Ground Water Hydrology Laboratory

      • MATH 2119 - Elements of Calculus
      • MATH 2121 - Calculus for the Life Sciences I
    4. General electives to complete requirements for graduation.

    (Choose at least 6 s.h. of EHST electives from the 3000-level and above.)

      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.