Prospective Graduate Student Information
For application information and requirements click here. A list of frequently asked questions is also provided below (scroll down).
Graduate programs in environmental health science emphasize the chemical, microbiological, physical, risk assessment, and policy aspects of environmental and occupational exposures and effects. Faculty members measure and model human and wildlife exposures to environmental and workplace contaminants; develop techniques and methods for collecting, analyzing, and assessing the effects of chemical, microbiological, and physical factors; and conduct risk evaluations of hazardous agents in water, soil, air, and food. Collaborative research is conducted with investigators throughout the United States and abroad.
Graduate students conduct research under the guidance of one or more faculty member in the department and complete a curriculum of required and elective courses. The Environmental Health Science (EHS) Department comprises 8 full-time faculty members who also serve as advisors to graduate students. All faculty members are housed on the Athens campus with fully equipped laboratories and instrumentation needed for graduate environmental health.
To the extent possible, the EHS faculty supports the education of graduate students in the form of a graduate assistantship. An assistantship grants the student a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend. Students with assistantships provide service to their advisor and to the department through a combination of teaching and research activities. Typically, assistantships are funded by research projects directed by individual faculty members (Graduate Research Assistantships). A very limited number of teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis each year. Thus, prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to browse the biographical sketches of EHS faculty and learn about their research interests and current projects.
Prospective students are encouraged to initiate contact with faculty members whose research interests overlap with the interests and career goals of the student. Prospective students are invited to contact Dr. Erin Lipp, the EHS Graduate Student Coordinator, for an introduction to graduate programs in environmental health science.
General information about graduate school at the University of Georgia is contained in the UGA Graduate School Bulletin. Details about the formal application process are available from the UGA Graduate School Admissions Office.
Graduate Programs Environmental Health Science
Other Graduate Programs in which Environmental Health Science Participates
M.S. or Ph.D. Degrees in Toxicology. Faculty members in the EHS Department also advise graduate students who choose to pursue a graduate degree at M.S. or Ph.D through the UGA Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the MS and PhD degrees research based?
Yes. There are required courses for the program but you are expected to develop and execute an original research project in the field under the direction of your major professor and your MS/PhD committee.
2. What is the difference between the MPH and MS degrees in Environmental Health Science?
The MPH with a concentration in Environmental Health Science is a professional degree that focuses on curriculum and practical experiences. You take about 4 semesters of course work, complete a one-semester internship and write a capstone paper. The MS degree is an academic and research-based degree. You take a smaller number of courses and spend a significant amount of time working on an original research project, which generally includes collection of primary data (field, bench, etc.) and analysis. The research is written in the form of the thesis, which you must defend publically, and will be submitted for publication with your major professor. Both degrees take about 2 years to complete.
3. Do I need to find a major professor (faculty advisor) before applying to the MS or PhD?
We highly recommend that you identify a possible major professor before you apply. Finding a suitable fit and having a faculty advocate on the admission committee is very important. This person will also be your primary source for funding through research assistantships. We strongly encourage any interested applicants to visit our on-line directory and click on the names of our faculty members to get an idea of their research and background. (http://www.publichealth.uga.edu/ehs/about/directory) E-mail is the best way to initiate contact with our faculty. You do not need to find a faculty advisor for the MPH degree.
4. Are all graduate students provided funding?
Ability to support MS and PhD students is considered in our admission process. Because these research-based degrees do not lend themselves well to part-time status and because you will be working in a lab to generate your data we generally only accept students for whom we can reasonably assure that we have funding in the form of assistantships. Assistantships include the following: 1) research assistantships (RAs), which are generally provided from grants held by individual faculty members (another reason that finding a major professor as soon as possible is so important), 2) teaching assistantships (TAs), which are limited in number and offered to students with expertise to teach certain undergraduate seminars, laboratory sections or to assist faculty teaching large lecture classes, or 3) graduate school assistantships (GSAs), which are available only to the most competitive applicants are administered through the graduate school (full applications must be submitted by early January to be considered for the graduate school awards). Because we try to provide funding for all incoming students, we generally have more qualified applicants than we can accept/support. We highly encourage interested students to seek outside funding before applying (e.g., EPA STAR fellowships [http://www.epa.gov/ncer/fellowships/], NSF Graduate Research Fellowships [http://www.nsfgrfp.org], among others). Very limited funding is available for MPH students unless you have a specific arrangement to work on research with a faculty member.
5. What GRE scores and GPA do I need to be considered for admission?
The UGA Graduate School has set a minimum of 3.0 undergraduate GPA for consideration. While the University does not have a set minimum for the GRE, the Dept. of Environmental Health Science generally expects to see GRE scores for both verbal and quantitative sections above the 50th %-ile. However, we evaluate an applicant’s entire package including statement of interest, previous experience, fit in the department and letters of recommendation in addition to undergraduate/graduate GPA and GRE scores in our admission decision.
6. Can I be a part-time student?
For the MS and PhD programs, it is very difficult to be enrolled as a part-time student. This is primarily because these are research-intensive programs that generally require full time work in the lab or field. There are select cases where a part-time option is possible but those are usually addressed on a case-by-case basis involving discussions with your major professor. The MPH degree is more amendable to a part-time format.
7. How long will it take to get my degree?
In general the MS and MPH degrees take about 2 years to complete. The PhD degree takes from 4 to 6 years, depending on your project and if you are coming in with a prior master’s degree.
8. Is a master’s degree required to apply for the PhD?
No. We consider students with a bachelor’s degree as well as those with a master’s.
9. Can I meet with faculty members about the program?
If you would like to meet with any of our faculty members, please e-mail them to coordinate an appointment.
10. Can I speak with current students about the degree?
If you would like to talk with a current student in the program, please e-mail your request (and your specific interests) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange contact between a current student in your research area and degree program of interest.