Program launches Fall 2014
SUNY-ESF’s bachelor of science in environmental health focuses on the study of how people interact with their environment: the air and water around us, the plants and animals we encounter, and the workplaces and homes where we spend much of our lives. The field is a broad one, encompassing both the direct effects of the environment on human health and the factors that could, in the long term, adversely affect the ecological balances that are essential to both human health and environmental quality.
The environmental health program educates students about the intersection of human health and the environment, specifically, the analysis, prevention and mitigation of potential environmental hazards that could be biological, chemical or physical. The program prepares students for employment in private industry, government agencies, and non-governmental agencies concerned with pollution abatement, protection of public health, and research in health science or advanced study in the science of environmental health or the allied health professions.
Program outcomes for the undergraduate (B.S.) program in environmental science are to produce graduates who:
In addition to knowledge of the subject matter, graduates will have important skills in critical thinking and applied problem solving to help face current and future environmental threats. Graduates will be prepared for jobs in the currently understaffed national environmental health workforce.
The program is designed for accreditation by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council.
Coursework for the Environmental Health major includes core courses in biology and both general and organic chemistry, with classwork and labs; environmental health; information literacy; calculus; physics; environmental microbiology; environmental sampling methods; food safety and quality assurance; atmospheric sciences; epidemiology; environmental risk assessment; and hazardous/solid waste management. A summer internship/professional experience and a senior synthesis are also required.
In addition, students will take general education electives covering biology, chemistry, calculus, writing, humanities, social science, the arts and world civilizations. Electives are also recommended in areas such as biochemistry, vertebrate anatomy, immunology, ecology, conservation biology and parasitology.
Students will also take credits in one of seven focus areas: built environment, geospatial technology, soils, water and wastewater, solid/hazardous materials and waste management, hydrogeology, and food production.
Students will earn 122 credit hours in obtaining the degree.
The outlook for students in the environmental health field is promising. Employment growth of nearly 30 percent is predicted by 2018, with 18 percent growth in New York, which is a leader in the field. Employment opportunities exist with public health departments, no-profit organizations, government agencies, private companies, environmental research corporations and state environmental health associations.