Board of Higher Education Approves New Environmental Health Degree Program

03/17/2010
By For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224

New Bachelor of Science Fills Critical Need, Begins This Fall

LOWELL, Mass. ߝ  As a result of yesterday’s approval by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, UMass Lowell’s School of Health and Environment will offer the only bachelor of science degree in Environmental Health in the Northeast.

The new program will begin in September 2010, meeting a growing demand from the public health field. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of current environmental health practitioners will retire within the next 10 years.

“This new environmental health program at UMass Lowell will offer a new generation of students an opportunity to learn skills that will help them tackle the world’s toughest problems, many of which are preventable,” said Associate Prof. Joel Tickner of the Department of Community Health and Sustainability, who led the development of the new program. “Our research and interviews showed that with the shortage of qualified professionals, students will have tremendous career options that will make a difference for all of us.”

Environmental health, a branch of public health, includes the study of epidemiology, toxicology, sanitation, occupational health and safety, food safety, health communications and policy. It involves learning about all aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human health. Environmental health specialists work as inspectors, health and safety experts, scientists, researchers and analysts at local, state, and federal environmental and public health agencies, as well as for industry, consulting firms and not-for-profits.

“More than 90 percent of environmental health graduates who are actively seeking a job have one at graduation or soon after,” said Tickner. “It’s this generation of change agents that will help solve our health and environment issues for a healthier future.”

UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 13,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.