The Environmental Health minor is intended for science majors.
A minor in environmental health paired with degrees such as Applied Science, Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Food Science, Dietetics and other programs will open doors for job opportunities in this field and will provide a solid foundation for advanced degree programs related to environmental health.
The Love Canal tragedy, the Chernobyl disaster, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the drinking water crisis in Flint, MI illustrate the impact environmental issues have on humans, animals and plants. Environmental health, which focuses on the relationship between people and the environment is a key component of any comprehensive public health system. Environmental health specialists play an important role in food safety, water and air quality protection, hazardous waste disposal and emergency response to environmental disaster. They also serve to educate the community about the health risks associated with environmental pollutants.
This minor will provide students an understanding of the impact of environmental issues on human health. It will familiarize students to the sources and distribution of toxic substances in the environment, the adverse effect of environmental pollutants and how they contribute to human diseases, and the laws and regulations pertaining to environmental issues. This minor will aid in the development of critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate environmental hazards and exposures, assess health risks, and formulate rational policy decisions.
Environmental Health Minor Objectives
After completion of the minor, students will:
- demonstrate an understanding of the basic building blocks of toxicology including the basic principles of target organ toxicity and the toxicity of substances.
- demonstrate knowledge of the field of environmental chemistry including the understanding of the sources and fate of environmental pollutants and their impact on animal and human health.
- exhibit the ability to perform procedures for the chemical analysis of pollutants in the environment.
- demonstrate knowledge of laws and regulations governing environmental issues and analyze and critique environmental lawsuits.
- perform risk assessment of environmental disasters and identify measures to mitigate the risks
- interpret and critically analyze environmental health data; conduct research and understand basic statistical analysis of data from laboratory and field studies.
- articulate the interplay between biology, environmental chemistry, toxicology, epidemiology and general environmental health.
The regular occurrence of manmade and natural disasters has propelled the need for environmental health specialists. The demand for air pollution analysts, disaster management specialists, environmental toxicologists, epidemiologists, groundwater protection experts will continue to increase.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the job outlook for Environmental Scientist and Specialist for 2018-28 is 8% faster than average. The Skills and Related Occupation Analysis study conducted by the University Marketing Office indicated that “Overall, the demand for environmental health-related skills is healthy and is projected to remain stable nationally.”