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MS in Environmental Health Sciences

Offering Department: 
Program Description: 

The MS in Environmental Health Sciences is a research-oriented degree that includes coursework and the preparation of a thesis or completion of a comprehensive examination and a major written report. Students may choose to concentrate on one of the following areas of academic focus: air quality; climate change; environmental biology; environmental chemistry; built environment; environmental health practice and policy; industrial hygiene; toxicology; or water quality. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

Students in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences gain a comprehensive understanding of:

  • The role that the environment plays in human health;
  • How people are exposed to hazards in the environment;
  • The outcomes are of environmental exposures at the cellular or organismal level;
  • The outcomes of environmental exposures are at the level of human populations; and
  • What the societal implications are of these outcomes; and
  • How to design science-based policies to address current and future environmental health challenges.

Program Requirements

The program consists of a minimum of 65 quarter-credit units.

Course Requirements:


  • Biostatistics 100A: Introduction to Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics 100B: Introduction to Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology 100: Principles of Epidemiology
  • EHS C200A:  Foundations of Environmental Health Sciences
  • EHS C200C: Foundations of Environmental Health Sciences
  • EHS 200D: Policy Analysis for Environmental Health Science
  • EHS C240: Fundamentals of Toxicology
  • EHS C257: Risk Assessment and Standard Setting
  • EHS 411: Environmental Health Sciences Seminar. Taken once a year for two years EHS 596 (Comp/Report Plan) OR 598 (Thesis plan): 4 units are required
  • Advanced Laboratory Course

18 units of elective courses: MS students are required to complete 18 units of upper division (200 level) or grad level (400 level) elective courses. These courses may be taken in related fields outside of the department, but should be selected in consultation with your advisor. Students who have not previously completed a CEPH-accredited degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree) are required to complete Public Health 201: Contemporary Health Issues.

Chemistry Waiver Exam

Students must successfully complete a written examination in Chemistry when they enter the program, or else they will be required to take Environmental Health Sciences 101. 

Industrial Hygiene Focus

Students may choose to focus on Industrial Hygiene, which has additional curricular requirements beyond the standard MS program.  For the Industrial Hygiene curriculum and other details  please see:
Students interested in being supported for fees and a stipend by the NIOSH Southern California Education and Research Center must contact the UCLA IH Program Director, Professor Shane Que Hee at

Masters Thesis OR Comprehensive Examination

Students must complete either a masters thesis or a comprehensive examination and report.

Option 1: Masters Thesis

While preparing their thesis, students must enroll in EHS 598: Master’s Thesis Research for an appropriate number of units. At least 4 units are mandatory for graduation. MS Thesis research usually begins in the summer before the student’s second year.  Every master's degree thesis plan requires the completion of an approved thesis that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research.

Option 2: Comprehensive examination/report option

If the student chooses this option, he or she must pass a comprehensive examination on the major area of study.

In addition, the student must complete a research activity under their advisor’s supervision and prepare a comprehensive report, which must be approved by their advisor and one other faculty member. The research subject can be an experimental, field, theoretical, library, modeling or computer study. The student also has the option of submitting an externally peer-reviewed publication (e.g. journal article, book chapter) that was completed while a student.

Time To Degree

The MS degree is normally obtained after six academic quarters of full-time study (2 years).


Desired Qualifications

In addition to meeting the University’s minimum requirements, students should have a bachelor's (or master's) degree in public health, environmental health, life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, environmental science, or a related field.

Applicants with non-science majors who meet the following course work requirements will be considered for admission:

Course Work

  • 1 university-level course or equivalent in Calculus, Linear Algebra, or Statistics
  • 1 university-level course in Chemistry or equivalent
  • 1 university-level course in Biology or equivalent

Students who do not have the prerequisites at the time of application may take equivalent courses at UCLA in their first year.

Admissions Process

Applicants are typically only admitted in the Fall.  Applicants who wish to be considered for all financial aid considerations should have their applications, letters, transcripts and official GRE scores here at the School of Public Health by December 1 of the year preceding the desired entrance year.

The application process has three steps. You must:

  1. Submit an on-line application and pay the application fee at SOPHAS,
  2. Submit an online application and pay the application fee at UCLA Graduate Admissions, and
  3. Mail required academic documents and test scores to SOPHAS and to UCLA's School of Public Health.

For complete application instructions and the list of required materials, review UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Admission Application Check List and Submission Instructions.

As we receive many more qualified applicants for the program than there are available spaces, meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission to the program. 

Tuition and Fees

For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment, summer internship funding, and need-based aid. Please note that opportunities listed under 'Summer Internship Funding' are only applicable to MPH students.



Graduates of the department have pursued careers in both the private and public sectors as researchers, educators, managers, policymakers, and practitioners.

Faculty in this Department

For a list of faculty in the department of Environmental Health Sciences, please click here.

To search all School of Public Health faculty members by name, department or area of expertise, click here.

Helpful Links

Who to Contact for More Information

For more information or questions, please contact Susana Luis at or 310.206.1619.


*This information is intended as an overview, and should be used as a guide only. Requirements, course offerings and other elements may change, and this overview may not list all details of the program. For the most up-to-date information, please consult the registrar’s office.

* Admission requirements listed are departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.