Degree Division
Occupational & Environmental Health Division
Program Contact
Paul Bozek

Program Overview

Occupational hygiene is a multidisciplinary profession drawing upon many basic and applied disciplines in the life, physical, engineering and behavioural sciences. The main aim of the profession is the prevention of disease and injury arising from the workplace. It involves the identification of health hazards, the evaluation or assessment of the extent of risk posed by the hazards, and the elimination or control of the risks. Health hazards typically found in the workplace include chemicals; physical agents, such as noise, heat, vibration and radiation; and biological agents, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. These risks often extend beyond the workplace and into the ambient environment. In addition, ergonomic and safety hazards are encountered in workplaces, and their identification and control are part of an integrated approach to managing health, safety and environment.

Occupational Hygienists require a sound understanding of modern technology and industrial processes, and their impact on health and safety. Also they must understand the political, psycho-social and economic context in which they operate and they must work effectively with medical/clinical, engineering, and human resources professionals, employees/workers as well as business/organizational leaders and workplace stakeholders such as union and labour leaders. Occupational Hygiene is a well established profession, with professional competency standards, set by both the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH) and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH).

The Occupational Hygiene (OH) emphasis is designed to fulfill the competencies required of the field to meet standards set by the International Occupational Hygiene Association and permit subsequent professional accreditation as a Registered Occupational Hygienist, via post-graduation examination.

The Environmental Public Health (EPH) emphasis is designed to meet the needs of those students who want competencies, as they exist in the OH emphasis, but apply them to ambient/outdoors environments, instead of work environments. This emphasis will accommodate graduates choosing to work in government (all 3 levels) or private firms assessing and interpreting the impact of contaminants (chemical, physical and biological) on the health of communities exposed via air, water, soil and food.

Program Objectives

The objective of this degree is to train Occupational Hygiene professionals to anticipate, identify, assess, and manage risks to health posed by hazardous materials, agents and processes.  Although the focus is the occupational environment, graduates can also apply these principles in non-occupational settings within built environments.  Key themes of the program are; evaluation of exposures to hazards, devising effective hazard controls, and developing management strategies to optimize occupational health.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Identify physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial agents, factors, stressors generated or associated with defined sources, operations or processes
  • Describe the effects of exposure to workplace hazards and scientific methods used in hazard analysis and risk assessment
  • Develop and implement control strategies to mitigate or reduce exposure and evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of physical and biological sciences necessary for developing competence in the theoretical and practical aspects of occupational hygiene
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ergonomics, occupational safety, accident prevention, and, occupational health and safety considerations of labour relations
  • Demonstrate the critical skills required in the review of scientific literature, and a knowledge of research methods, including epidemiological and statistical techniques as they apply to occupational health
  • Communicate effectively with labour, management, the public and other members of the scientific community

Explain the influence of workplace hazards on the general environment and the role of the hygienist in environmental protection

Students are provided with hands-on experience during field exercises in actual industrial and occupational environments. This is a vital component of their professional training.  The full core competencies of the MPH Occupational and Environmental program are listed here [Link to competencies]

Career Opportunities

Graduates in OEH are in demand across Canada, entering directly into responsible positions. Approximately 35% of the graduates are working in the industrial sector: employed in manufacturing, petrochemical, aerospace, pharmaceutical, steel, mining and other industries. Over one quarter of the graduates work in the service/public sector, for employers such as municipal, provincial and federal governments, school boards, colleges, universities, hospitals and public utilities, in corporate health and safety functions. Fifteen percent of the graduates are employed by provincial and federal governments in a regulatory/policy role. Another 15% of the graduates are employed as consultants, either independently, in small groups or for larger consulting firms. In addition, some of the graduates have gone on to careers in research and academia.

Admission Requirements

MPH students are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and should hold an appropriate bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a recognized university with at least a mid-B average in final year of the degree, or in the last 5.0 full course equivalents completed at a senior level. Proof of English Language Proficiency is required (See below).

Minimum Admission Requirements for MPH Occupational and Environmental Health

  • Ideally, applicants have completed courses in a variety of areas including chemistry, physiology/toxicology, statistics, mathematics, biology, and physics.
  • Successful applicants have obtained their undergraduate degree in the physical, life, engineering or environmental sciences.
  • It is highly recommended that applicants have taken at least one undergraduate statistics course.  To fulfill this admission requirement, applicants should have successfully completed this course during their undergraduate education, prior to the application deadline.
  • Previous applicable experience is taken into account, but is not necessary for admission.
  • All suitable applicants are invited to an interview (in person or by telephone/internet).

Each year we accept approximately 15 students in total, with varied academic science backgrounds. Admitted applicants must choose either the Occupational Hygiene or Environmental Public Health emphasis upon registration in year one of the degree program.

International applicants

No applicant will be admitted without evidence of English Language Proficiency (ELP).  As per the policy of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), the following applicants do not have to provide direct supporting evidence of ELP in the application.

  • A Canadian citizen who studied at a Canadian university where instruction is in English or French;
  • Any applicant who has obtained a qualifying undergraduate degree from an institution that is recognized by the University of Toronto, and where the language of instruction and examination is uniformly English.

If either criterion above is satisfied, the application can be submitted without test scores or other proof of ELP.  The ELP requirement will be waived, in the online system, when the application is reviewed.

Otherwise, an approved test of English Language Proficiency must be submitted at the time of application.  Scores must meet the minimum requirements set by SGS and must be valid (taken within 2 years of submission of the application). See SGS website for details.

The MPH Occupational and Environmental Health program does not make other exemptions. If an applicant is required to submit proof of ELP and does not include this with the application, by the application deadline, the application will be rejected as incomplete and inadmissible.

Applicants who studied outside Canada must consult the School of Graduate Studies website to determine whether evidence of ELP can be waived. The SGS website lists those countries where university instruction in English will be recognized without further documentation. Click here for more information.

The SGS website also has an international degree equivalency tool that may be consulted to determine minimum admission requirements for graduates from recognized institutions outside Canada.  Admission eligibility cannot be determined until a complete application is submitted. We are not able to review or assess your academic record without an official application to a graduate degree program, including payment of the appropriate application fee.

Program Requirements: Occupational Hygiene Emphasis

Students in this program are required to complete 10.0 Full Course Equivalents (FCE) within the maximum time limit of 3 years as a full-time student and 6 years as a part-time student.  Please note most students complete their degree within 2 years. The table below is a guideline indicating what and when course can be taken, including practica.

Term Course Title FCE
TERM 1
(3.0 FCE)
CHL5004H1 Introduction to Public Health Sciences1 0.5
CHL5220H
or
CHL5201H
Introduction to Quantitative Research
or
Biostatistics I
0.5
CHL5904H Perspectives in Occupational Health and Safety – Legal and Social Context 0.5
CHL5910H Occupational and Environmental Hygiene I 0.5
CHL5912H  Industrial Toxicology 0.5
MIE1411H2 Applied Occupational Ergonomics2 0.5
Term 2 (2.5 – 3.0 FCE)
CHL5911H Occupational and Environmental Hygiene II 0.5
CHL5914H Physical Agents I – Noise (or CHL5907H in Term 4) 0.5
CHL5915H Control of Occupational Hazards 0.5
2-3 electives 1.0 – 1.5
Term 3 (2.0 FCE)
CHL6010Y
CHL6012Y
Required MPH Practicum 2.0
Term 4 (2.0 – 2.5 FCE)
CHL5902H Advanced Occupational Hygiene 0.5
CHL5410H Occupational Epidemiology 0.5
CHL5907H Radiological Health (unless CHL5914H was taken in Term 2) 0.5
CHL5917H Concepts in Safety Management 0.5
1-2 electives 0.5 – 1.0
Total 10.0

1CHL5004H begins earlier in September than regularly scheduled graduate courses.
2 Students with a degree in human factors/ergonomics or kinesiology are advised not to take MIE1411H.

Program Requirements: Environmental Health Emphasis

Students in this program are required to complete 10.0 Full Course Equivalents (FCE) within the maximum time limit of 3 years as a full-time student and 6 years as a part-time student.  Please note most students complete their degree within 2 years. The table below is a guideline indicating what and when course can be taken, including practica.

Term Course Title FCE
TERM 1 (2.5 – 3.0 FCE)
CHL5004H1 Introduction to Public Health Sciences1 0.5
CHL5220H
or
CHL5201H
Introduction to Quantitative Research
or
Biostatistics I
0.5
CHL5904H Perspectives in Occupational Health and Safety – Legal and Social Context 0.5
CHL5910H Occupational and Environmental Hygiene I 0.5
CHL5912H  Industrial Toxicology 0.5
1 elective 0.5
Term 2 (2.5 – 3.0 FCE)
CHL5903H Environmental Health 0.5
CHL5914H Physical Agents I – Noise (or CHL5907H in Term 4) 0.5
TBA Air Pollution Health Effects 0.5
TBA Graduate Seminars in Environmental Public Health 0.5
1-2 electives 0.5 – 1.0
Term 3 (2.0 FCE)
CHL6010Y
CHL6012Y
Required MPH Practicum 2.0
Term 4 (2.0 – 3.0 FCE)
CHL5413H Public Health Sanitation 0.5
CHL5809H Ecological Public Health 0.5
CHL5907H Radiological Health (unless CHL5914H was taken in Term 2) 0.5
1-4 electives 0.5 – 2.0
Total 10.0

1CHL5004H begins earlier in September than regularly scheduled graduate courses.
2 Students with a degree in human factors/ergonomics or kinesiology are advised not to take MIE1411H.