The MPH degree in the field of Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) is offered in two options: a professional training option in occupational hygiene, and a research training option in occupational or environmental health.
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 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]
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.
Each year we accept approximately 15 students in total, with varied academic science backgrounds. We advise all prospective students to review the general admission requirements prior to submitting an application. From this link, information about how to submit an application, timelines and specific information for international applicants can be obtained.
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.
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. 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)
Program Requirements (Professional Option)
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 1 (3.0 FCE)|
|CHL5004H1||Introduction to Public Health Sciences1||0.5|
|CHL5220H||Introduction to Quantitative Research||0.5|
|CHL5904H||Perspectives in Occupational Health and Safety – Legal and Social Context||0.5|
|CHL5910H||Occupational and Environmental Hygiene I||0.5|
|CHL5914H||Physical Agents I – Noise||0.5|
|Term 2 (2.5 FCE)|
|CHL5911H||Occupational and Environmental Hygiene II||0.5|
|CHL5915H||Control of Occupational Hazards||0.5|
|CHL5918H||Biological Hazards in the Workplace and Community||0.5|
|MIE1411H3||Applied Occupational Ergonomics3 or Elective||0.5|
|Term 3 (2.0 FCE)|
|Required MPH Practicum||2.0|
|Term 4 (2.5 FCE)|
|CHL5413H2||Public Health Sanitation2||0.5|
|CHL5902H||Advanced Occupational Hygiene||0.5|
|CHL5917H||Concepts in Safety Management||0.5|
1CHL5004H begins earlier in September than regularly scheduled graduate courses.
2 Students are encouraged to select one of these two recommended electives, but may select another graduate course subject to approval.
3Students with a degree in human factors/ergonomics or kinesiology are advised not to take MIE1411H.
Research Training Option
The objective of the MPH Occupational and Environmental Health research option is to provide training to students who wish to pursue a research career in occupational and/or environmental health. The program requires 10.0 FCE, however, there is considerably more flexibility in the course selection and in the nature of the practicum activities than in the professional option.
This program typically takes 20 to 24 months to complete but can take the maximum time allocated if necessary (i.e. 3 years as a full-time student and 6 years as a part-time student). Applicants considering this option are encouraged to seek out potential supervisors, in areas of research that are of interest to them, in the spring preceding their first fall term.
Program Requirements (Research Training Option)
|Course Code||Course Title||FCE|
|CHL5004H||Introduction to Public Health Sciences||0.5|
|CHL5904H||Perspectives in Occupational Health and Safety – Legal and Social Context||0.5|
The research practicum/practica account for 5.0 FCE and are typically completed as either one large or two smaller research projects, producing a literature review, research protocol, data collection/analysis, report and presentation of research findings.
Students undertaking research practicum are expected to determine the amount of time they will dedicate to research activity each term and enrol in practicum credits accordingly. Enrolment in research practicum can occur in increments of 0.5 to a maximum of 3.0 FCE for each term. Credit is provided for work performed on research activity, after evaluation by the faculty member supervising the work. Suitable work includes: literature review, learning laboratory methods, study design, developing research protocols, data collection, survey development, data analysis and report writing.
Admission Requirements (Research Training Option)
Admission requirements for the research option are similar to those in the professional option, as well as:
- Completion of an undergraduate statistics course is required;
- Research experience gained through an undergraduate research project and/or a work setting is an asset.
- Admission is dependent upon the availability of a supervisor to oversee the student’s research project. Applicants considering this option are encouraged to seek out potential supervisors, in areas of research that are of interest to them, and identify them in their letter of intent.
For more information about the MPH – Occupational and Environmental Health, please contact the MPH Program Director, Paul Bozek (firstname.lastname@example.org).