A Ph.D. degree in occupational and environmental health (OEH) is an advanced research degree that emphasizes depth of knowledge and original research skills. The degree is designed to develop leaders in environmental and occupational health research and practice.

Students work with their faculty advisor to design a specialized curriculum of coursework and research projects in the following areas:

  • agricultural safety and health
  • environmental health
  • environmental toxicology
  • ergonomics
  • industrial hygiene
  • occupational epidemiology
  • occupational injury prevention

The Doctor of Philosophy program in occupational and environmental health requires 72 s.h. of graduate credit. All students must complete a dissertation.

The Doctor of Philosophy with a major in occupational and environmental health requires the following work.

Required Courses

Students may use a course only once to fulfill a requirement.

All of these:
OEH:4240Global Environmental Health3
OEH:5010Occupational and Environmental Health Seminar1
OEH:5620Occupational Health3
OEH:7060Research Design in Occupational and Environmental Health3
OEH:7070Interpreting Occupational and Environmental Health Research3
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health2
CPH:7270Principles of Scholarly Integrity: Public Health1
EPID:4400Epidemiology I: Principles3
One of these:
OEH:6460Quantitative Exposure Assessment: Study Design and Evaluation3
OEH:6520Injury Epidemiology3
At least 9 s.h. from these:
OEH:6110Rural Health and Agricultural Medicine3
OEH:6420Methods in Exposure Science3
OEH:6431Assessing Noise Hazards1
OEH:6432Assessing Nonionizing Radiation Hazards1
OEH:6433Assessing Ionizing Radiation Hazards1
OEH:6440Control of Occupational Hazards3
OEH:6450Aerosol Technology3
OEH:6460Quantitative Exposure Assessment: Study Design and Evaluation3
OEH:6510Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology3
OEH:6520Injury Epidemiology3
OEH:6710Human Toxicology and Risk Assessment3
OEH:6720Advanced Toxicology4
BIOS:5120Regression Modeling and ANOVA in the Health Sciences3
BIOS:5130Applied Categorical Data Analysis3
BIOS:6310Introductory Longitudinal Data Analysis3
EPID:6400Epidemiology II: Advanced Methods4
STAT:6516Design of Experiments4


Students must earn a minimum of 18 s.h. in non-research-related courses, including classroom courses or equivalent web-based courses. Students work with their advisor to select courses appropriate for their professional goals.

Research Credit

Students earn the remaining credit for the Ph.D. by completing any combination of the following courses or other classroom courses. All students must complete a dissertation.

OEH:7020Independent Study in Occupational and Environmental Healtharr.

Applicants must apply through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS); they also must apply for admission to the Graduate College through the University of Iowa Office of Admissions. For detailed application information and admission requirements, visit the How to Apply to Occupational and Environmental Health web page.

The occupational and environmental health faculty takes several factors into consideration when evaluating applications for admission, including grade-point averages, letters of recommendation, intent and motivation for graduate study, and research interests. Students with deficiencies in one area may be admitted if all other components of their application are very strong.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test (DET).

Ph.D. applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.25. Completion of a master's program before beginning Ph.D. study is recommended.

Students may enter in the fall. May 1 is the final application deadline.

Most students receive financial support through traineeships, graduate research assistantships, and teaching assistantships.

Students accepted to programs with a focus on occupational health and safety, including agricultural safety and health, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, occupational epidemiology, and occupational injury prevention, may receive traineeships and financial support in the form of fully paid tuition and a monthly stipend. These traineeships are offered through the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety, and are only available for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.

Students with a focus on environmental health, global health, or environmental toxicology are generally funded by graduate research assistantships or teaching assistantships.

Postdoctoral Positions

The College of Public Health's Environmental Health Sciences Training Program offers postdoctoral positions in environmental health/toxicology. Appointments are for two years with the possibility of an additional year. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The program prepares students for professional and academic careers in environmental and occupational health. Graduates will be qualified for a career in a range of private, public, and academic positions; consulting firms; state and federal occupational and environmental agencies; chemical and consumer products areas; pharmaceutical industries; and universities.