Community Health & Sustainability

About the Environmental Health Program

Make a Difference, Build a Sustainable Future!

UMass Lowell's Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Health is the only program offered in the Northeast!

Read the  Boston Globe article "UMass responds to rising demand, starting new program in environmental health"

Listen to Program Director Joel Tickner discuss the need for new chemicals regulations at a Northeastern University Public Policy Forum.

Find out more information by contacting: Malinda_Buchannan@uml.edu, 978-934-4856. 

Environmental Health_optEnvironmental Health is the study and practice of all factors that are external to a person-physical, chemical, biological and social factors-and affect human health. It encompasses the assessment, control, and prevention of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. Its ultimate aim is to prevent disease and create health-supportive environments.

Environmental Health requires the study of multiple disciplines in public health including epidemiology, statistics, toxicology, sanitation, occupational health and safety, food safety, and health communications, policy, history, and environmental justice.

About The Program

The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health offers students a high caliber education in environmental health with leading faculty in their fields, at a university with a strong commitment to regional health and sustainable development. While the practice of environmental health has a long history in sanitation, water quality and food safety, the field is rapidly evolving and expanding as scientists better understand the complex links between exposures to chemicals, radiation, pathogens, climate change and ecosystem damage and human health. Given this rapid evolution, it is an exciting time to be an environmental health practitioner and the opportunities for applying environmental health knowledge for prevention at the local, regional, national and global levels are endless.

To learn more please see the Student Video Projects and the Program Brochure (pdf).

Go to Environmental Health Program Videos to learn about the importance of environmental health, our program and career opportunities. 

Program Strengths

  • The only undergraduate Environmental Health B.S. program in New England.
  • Based at an affordable, public university.
  • Nationally and internationally recognized faculty.
  • Low student-faculty ratio and small class size.
  • Internship and student-learning opportunities with a number of local and regional community organizations and agencies.
  • Numerous opportunities to work on research projects with faculty.
  • Convenient location in a vibrant small city with easy access to a multitude of outdoor activities and many exciting. restaurants and cafes, museums, and local cultural events
  • Boston is easily accessible in under 45 minutes by commuter rail or car.

Program Features

Multi-focus

The flexibility in the Environmental Health Program allows students to develop learning concentrations that adapt the curriculum to their interests allowing them to pursue a unique program of study. This flexibility allows students to focus on issues ranging from sanitation and waste water treatment to global climate policy. Students choose from a range of electives to form their program of study, guided by a faculty advisor.

Interdisciplinary Education

The Environmental Health Program integrates an emphasis in health sciences with the natural and social sciences, providing students with the foundation necessary to understand the complex causes of environmental problems and their solutions. The program provides strong foundations in research, writing and analytical skills necessary to address the ever changing demands of an environmental health professional.

Opportunities for Community Service-Learning

As Environmental Health involves science, community outreach and politics, the program provides community service, project-centered learning, and interactions with those working at the forefront of Environmental Health Practice to ground students in applied environmental health.  The program includes a 25 hour a week senior internship working with a government agency, non-profit organization or forward looking company where students learn real world skills for future careers.

Opportunities for Research

Faculty in the Departments of Community Health and Sustainability and Work Environment lead world-renowned research efforts in environmental and occupational health. Opportunities abound for students to participate in cutting-edge faculty-led research through centers such as the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, and the Center for Health Promotion and Research.  Students also have opportunities to develop their own research projects, guided by faculty advisors.  For more information about research in the Department of Community Health and Sustainability see .

Career Opportunities

Environmental Health is an expanding field. At the local and regional levels, there is a strong need for qualified Environmental Health practitioners given the pending retirement of a large percentage of the current workforce. The Environmental Health Program will prepare students for careers improving our quality of life and health through environmental health science, education and public policy. With a foundation in applied environmental health, problem solving and research skills, graduates are well prepared to obtain high quality jobs in environmental health and other health and environmental fields. Graduates will find exciting and rewarding jobs in health departments, public agencies, such as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health or Environmental Protection Agency, environmental consulting firms providing environmental health and safety or site remediation services, forward looking private firms seeking to improve their environmental performance, and non-profits organizations working to achieve policies that make industrial processes and products safer.

Upon completion of the program, students will also be prepared for graduate training.  The Environmental Health B.S. program offers a five-year bachelor's to master's track (or Plus One) through the internationally renowned Department of Work Environment. The program includes concentrations in industrial hygiene, ergonomics, epidemiology, and cleaner production. 

Admissions and Degree Requirements

All students in the Environmental Health Program complete a basic core of courses. The first two years cover a range of health science courses to ground students with knowledge that will serve as a foundation for the practice of Environmental Health after graduation. These include anatomy and physiology, microbiology and pathology, physiological chemistry. Students also must take upper level environment and community health courses and general education courses. Upper level courses focus on environmental law, epidemiology, toxicology, agriculture and food, chemicals and health, politics of health, computer technologies, program management, and communication techniques.  Each senior student is assigned to an environmental health practicum based on individual interest. The total number of required credits is 120 with 126 in the BS to MS option.

For specific admissions and degree information, please consult the UMass Lowell online catalog.

For further program information, please contact Malinda Buchannan at 978-934-4856 or Malinda_Buchannan@uml.edu.

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