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Environmental Health Sciences

Industrial Hygiene


What is Industrial Hygiene?

Industrial Hygiene (IH) is a health profession that applies knowledge and principles from the natural sciences, engineering, environmental health, statistics, psychology, and program management to the protection of workers and the public from chemical, biological, physical, and psychosocial agents of disease. The anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of hazardous exposures entail the integration of technical skills, judgment, ethics, creativity, and human interaction.

If you love science and have a desire to embark on an exciting, challenging, and rewarding career concerned with protecting the health and well-being of workers, then the IH Program may be right for you!

What Do Industrial Hygienists Do?

IH professionals evaluate and manage a wide range of workplace hazards, including toxic gases and vapors, dusts, aerosols, biological agents and pathogens, engineered nanomaterials, noise, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, ergonomic stresses and safety hazards.

As we move toward a more holistic view of human health and well-being (i.e., Total Worker Health), the roles of IH professionals are expanding to include health promotion, wellness, and emotional and mental health issues associated with increased workloads and job stress.

Increasingly, IH professionals are also responsible for environmental issues outside of the workplace, such as hazardous waste, residential indoor air quality, ambient air and water pollution, and ecological impacts of industrial activities.

Industrial hygiene professionals are at the forefront of an emerging cross-disciplinary field called Exposure Science.

The Program

Distinguishing features of the University of Michigan Industrial Hygiene Program include the following:

  • One of the longest-standing and most highly regarded IH programs in the country
  • Rigorous curricula providing comprehensive practitioner and research training
  • Diverse supporting faculty with a wide range of experience as practicing IH professionals
  • Faculty that are highly effective teachers and mentors, with active research addressing cutting edge issues as well as professional practice experience
  • An award-winning IH student organization that provides a tight-knit community of friends/peers
  • Over 800 alumni, many of whom hold influential, leadership positions in private industry, government, and academia in the U.S. and throughout the world
  • A core program within the NIOSH-funded Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering Center, which has supported IH student training at Michigan for over 38 years
  • Continuous record of accreditation by ABET for over 20 years

We offer the Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Some relevant aspects include:

  • The MPH and MS require four semesters to complete
  • The MPH includes a summer internship (field experience), typically in private industry or with a governmental agency, either in the U.S. or abroad
  • The MS degree includes a focused thesis project guided by one or more faculty mentors.
  • The PhD degree entails in-depth training/mentorship in research skills, and the generation of high-impact, scholarly research findings.
  • The curricula are comprehensive, yet sufficiently flexibility to permit students to pursue "minor" concentrations and certificate programs.


Our graduates are employed by numerous private and public sector organizations, for example:

  • Large (often multi-national) corporations (e.g., Chevron, BP, Abbvie, Intel, General Motors)
  • Insurance companies (e.g., Liberty Mutual)
  • Environmental consulting firms (e.g., Cardno ChemRisk, Exponent, ENVIRON International)
  • Regional and national governmental agencies (e.g., MIOSHA, NIOSH)
  • Academic institutions (e.g., University of Michigan, Penn State, National Taiwan Normal University)
  • Health care facilities (e.g., Veterans Administration Hospital)
  • All branches of the U. S. military (e.g., U. S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force)
  • National/international non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups(e.g., AFL-CIO, Qatar Environment and Energy)

Our career placement record is outstanding, with virtually all of our graduates receiving job offers immediately upon finishing ( often prior to finishing!) their degrees. Our network of school-spirited alumni literally spans the globe, along with our reputation for excellence in IH education.

For more information, visit our Careers page.

Financial Support

Qualified students can receive financial support from one or more of the following sources:

  • Traineeships from the NIOSH ERC
  • Grants/Scholarships from the Rackham Graduate School and the School of Public Health
  • Teaching assistantships from the EHS Department (or other departments)
  • Research assistantships from faculty research grants (mostly for MS and PhD students)
  • Smaller scholarship awards from external organizations, such as the American Industrial Hygiene Foundations (AIHF), Chevron, and the 3M Corporation.

Every effort is made to provide financial aid for admitted students.

How Do I Apply?

Applicants should have a strong interest in science and health, an undergraduate degree in some field of basic or applied science, and, at a minimum, should have taken courses in biology and/or physiology, general and organic chemistry, physics, and calculus.

MPH applicants apply to our program through SOPHAS (School of Public Health Application Service), a centralized application service for public health.

MS and PhD applicants apply to our program through the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School.

More Information

For answers to any questions that you might have, please contact:

Sue Crawford
Student Administrative Coordinator

Professor Ted Zellers
Industrial Hygiene Program Director