1 Harvard School of Public Health Department of Environmental Health Exposure, Epidemiology & Risk Program Master s Student Handbook:
2 Introduction: Master of Science The mission of the EER program is to investigate and mitigate health risks associated with environmental and occupational hazards and provide scientific evidence for sound environmental and health policies by using an interdisciplinary approach. The EER Program has identified the essential elements of a broad knowledge base representing environmental health sciences and our students take core courses in human physiology and toxicology, exposure assessment, environmental and occupational epidemiology, and risk assessment. In addition to the defined set of core courses, we also provide opportunity for research, concentrated course work, practical experience and exploration in a number of related disciplines. Graduates of the EER Program will have a sound technical foundation in basic topics in environmental health, as well as specific coursework related to their chosen specialty area. All students pursuing the EER Program s MS degree in Environmental Health will acquire core competencies in each of the three domains in which faculty members focus their research: *Exposure Assessment, which emphasizes the chemical, physical, microbiological, and engineering aspects of environmental and occupational exposures. Faculty members study the transport and fate of environmental contaminants by measurement and modeling of ambient, indoor, and personal exposures to environmental and workplace contaminants. They also develop instruments and methods for collecting, analyzing, and assessing the effects of physical, chemical, and biological stressors. *Environmental Epidemiology, which focuses on identifying and measuring the influence of physical, chemical, and biological environmental factors on human disease in communities to provide scientific evidence for sound environmental and health policies. Faculty members study the effects of air pollution on respiratory and cardiovascular health, and examine the importance of genetic susceptibility to environmentally induced diseases *Risk Assessment, which integrates evidence from exposure assessment, epidemiology, toxicology, and other disciplines to inform policy decisions in the presence of uncertainty. Faculty members are involved in research and training on analytic methods and applications to quantify human health risks with applications that include evaluations of new products, fuels, water supplies, technologies, remediation strategies, and development of policies to protect both ecological and human health. Master of Science students take additional courses beyond these core competency areas, to develop expertise in one or more of the areas of interest described below: Environmental epidemiology - for students interested in measuring the influence of environmental factors (physical, chemical, and biological) on human disease in communities to provide scientific evidence for sound environmental and health policies. Environmental exposure assessment for students interested in training in the identification and characterization of human and ecological exposures to environmental contaminants, and in modeling their fate and transport, to develop strategies to control environmental hazards, allergens, and pathogens. Ergonomics and Safety for students interested in learning a public health and engineering approach to the prevention of work-related injuries and musculoskeletal disorders, encompassing exposure assessment, occupational biomechanics, and epidemiology. Occupational hygiene for students interested in training in the anticipation, identification, evaluation, and control of occupational hazards. Risk and decision sciences for students interested in an integrated education in environmental science, risk analysis, and decision science as applied to environmental management.
3 Graduates of our professional MS program have assumed positions in government, in private companies, or in research institutions. In the past several years, some graduates have gone to work as industrial hygienists with biotech firms, consulting companies, and the military. Some have gone to work for nonprofit community or international organizations, while others have gone on to pursue doctoral programs. In the risk assessment track, graduates have pursued careers utilizing decision analysis skills in program design, management, and policy. Recent graduates in the environmental epidemiology track are working in academic research, public agencies, environmental advocacy groups, and environmental consulting companies. Master of Science Course Requirements EER s MS in Environmental Health is classified as a professional (vs. academic or research) degree in public health and, as such, our students must fulfill the general requirements for courses in the five core areas as established by our accrediting agency, the Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH). These are the five core areas: 1. Biostatistics 2. Epidemiology 3. Environmental Health Sciences 4. Health Services Administration 5. Social and Behavioral Sciences The CEPH also requires that students receiving professional degrees complete a practicum or a culminating experience in which they apply and integrate the knowledge and skills acquired during their course of study. The following are the current HSPH courses which meet each of the CEPH requirements: 1. BIOSTATISTICS BIO 200 Principles of Biostatistics, 5.0 credits BIO 201 Introduction to Statistical Methods, 5.0 credits NOTE: THIS IS THE BIOSTATISTICS COURSE RECOMMENDED FOR MOST EER STUDENTS BIO 202 Principles of Biostatistics I & BIO 203 Principles of Biostatistic II, 5.0 credits each BIO 206 & (BIO 207 or BIO 208 or BIO 209) Introductory Statistics for Medical Research, 5.0 credits ID 200 Principles of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, 7.5 credits NOTE: Course offered Fall 2013, which fulfills both the BIO and EPI core requirements and is equivalent to BIO 200 and EPI EPIDEMIOLOGY EPI201: Introduction to Epidemiology-Methods I, 2.5 credits - NOTE: EER students in the Environmental Epidemiology specialty area MUST take EPI201 (along with EPI202: Elements of Epidemiological Research, 2.5 credits) as the foundation for the additional Epidemiology courses required for the Environmental Epidemiology focus EPI208: Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology, 5.0 credits EPI500: Fundamentals of Epidemiology, 2.5 credits - NOTE: THIS IS THE EPIDEMIOLGY COURSE RECOMMENDED FOR MOST EER STUDENTS ID 200 Principles of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, 7.5 credits NOTE: Course offered Fall 2013, which fulfills both the BIO and EPI core requirements and is equivalent to BIO 200 and EPI 500.
4 3. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES EH 201 Introduction to Environmental Health 2.5 EH 202 Principles of Environmental Health 2.5 EH 232 Introduction to Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2.5 EH 278 Health and Global Environment 2.5 ID215: Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, 2.5 credits - NOTE: THIS IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES COURSE RECOMMENDED FOR EER STUDENTS 4. HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION EH231: Occupational Health Policy and Administration, 2.5 credits* - NOTE: THIS IS THE HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION COURSE RECOMMENDED FOR EER STUDENTS *HSPH offers a number of courses in the planning, organization, administration, management, evaluation, and policy analysis of health programs. Students in the EER program who cannot take the recommended course EH231 should discuss with their advisors which of the approved alternative courses is most appropriate to their interests. A list of these courses can be found on the website for the HSPH Office of Education: (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-life/educationalprograms/student-resources/core-areas/index.html). 5. SOCIAL and BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES SBS201 Society and Health 2.5- NOTE: THIS IS THE SOCIAL and BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES COURSE RECOMMENDED FOR EER STUDENTS SBS 250 Research on Social and Behavioral Health 2.5 SBS 281 Principles of Social and Behavioral Research 2.5 SBS 503 Exploring Health Behavior: Insights from Behavioral Economics Practice and Culminating Experience EH263: Analytical Methods and Exposure Assessment serves as a practice experience for students to learn about assessments and analytical methods in environmental field studies. Students design studies, go into the field in teams, gather and analyze data, interpret, and present their findings and conclusions, and learn from the team, the instructor, and their project mentor(s). This required course for all students in the EER MS program provides the opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their prior course work and studies to address realworld issues in environmental health practice. The research projects designed by the students culminate in a written report and oral presentation documenting the study goals, design, methods, results, implications, and recommendations. Working in teams to identify public health problems and issues, to design field studies to address these questions, to conduct the field data collection and analysis, and to interpret and present their findings, the students develop the skills they will use in their professional careers. This course is typically taken in conjunction with course EH507: Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Practicum, in which students must first develop a proposal for an independent research project, with an identified faculty member as an advisor. EH507 is usually taken in the Fall of the second year of the MS program and EH263 is then taken in the Spring of the second year. There are also opportunities during the summer between the first and second years of the two-year MS program for EER students to participate in practice experiences, applied research projects and internships that demonstrate proficiency in the practice of public health. Projects developed for course EH507 can be an extension of research conducted over the summer or during a student s first year, or a project can be developed using information and data sets obtained in the class. SBS 506 Disease Distribution Theory/A 2.5
5 Students who intend the Master of Science to be their terminal degree are encouraged to include an internship that involves experience outside of the classroom as part of their curriculum. A research component is available for MS degree students who may be interested in continuing into a doctoral program, or for others interested in research. The 300-level/Independent Study courses provide the opportunity for research tutorials and two-year MS students can participate in research during their second year with EER Faculty approval. However, interested students must discuss this with their advisors to ensure all requirements of the terminal MS degree can still be fulfilled and to allow the specific program details to be put in place. Please note that 300-level courses are taken on a Pass/Fail basis, and this must be taken into account when computing course credit taken on an ordinal basis. HSPH requires two-year degree candidates to take at least 60 ordinal credit units. In addition to the coursework required by the CEPH for students in professional degree programs, EER students must fulfill requirements of both the EER Program and the Department of Environmental Health (EH). EH Departmental Requirements: All students in the Department of Environmental Health are required to take the following course: EH205: Human Physiology EER Program Requirements: EER Master of Science students must take the following courses: EH504: Principles of Toxicology (for 5 credits) ID215: Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology EH257**: Water Pollution EH263: Analytical Methods and Exposure Assessment EH297**: Atmospheric Environment Seminars RDS500: Risk Assessment *Students with a focus on Occupational Hygiene or Ergonomics and Safety may take EH267: OH/ERGO Internship and Environmental Sciences Research Seminar, instead of EH507. **EH257and EH297 are recommended, but not required for students with a focus on Occupational Hygiene or Ergonomics and Safety. EER students must also fulfill requirements for their chosen specialty area: Environmental Exposure Assessment students must take the following: 5 credits of Biostatistics beyond BIO201 at least 2.5 credits in environmental law or environmental policy MIT 1.811J: Environmental Law, Policy and Economics (5 credits) is strongly recommended but a selection of alternative courses can be found on the following websites of Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government: es.html EH507*: Environmental Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Practicum EH510: Fundamentals of Human Exposure Assessment
6 Environmental Epidemiology students must take the following: EPI202: Elements of Epidemiologic Research EPI203: Design of Cohort and Case-Control Studies EPI204: Analysis of Case-Control and Cohort Studies BIO210: The Analysis of Rates and Proportions (or BIO213: Applied Regression for Clinical Research) ID271: Advanced Regression for Environmental Epidemiology Risk and Decision Sciences students must take the following: RDS280: Decision Analysis for Health and Medical Practices RDS282: Economic Evaluation of Health Policy and Program Management at least 2.5 credits in environmental law or environmental policy MIT 1.811J: Environmental Law, Policy and Economics (5 credits) is strongly recommended but a selection of alternative courses can be found on the following websites of Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government: es.html, 5 credits in economics Occupational Hygiene and Ergonomics and Safety students must take the following: EH241: Occupational Safety and Injury Prevention EH243: Ergonomics/Human Factors EH253: Ventilation * EH254: Control of Noise and Vibration* EH262: Introduction to the Work Environment EH 507: Environmental Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Assessment Practicum EH292: Properties and Behavior of Airborne Particles ID263: Practice of Occupational Health EH256: Introduction to Aerobiology EH279: The Radiation Environment: Its Identification, Evaluation and Control *offered alternate years Students with a focus in Ergonomics and Safety are also required to take the following: Biomedical Engineering110 : Physiological Systems Analysis Additional Requirements for Master of Science students: HSPH requires that all students maintain a grade point average of at least 2.7 (B-). PLEASE NOTE that the EER Program prefers EER Master of Science students to maintain a grade point average of 3.3 (B+) or better. 5 credits of Biostatistics beyond BIO201
7 Course Load A typical course load is 20 credits per semester--the equivalent of four full-time (5-credit) courses. Students must register for a minimum of 15 credits to be considered full-time students. HSPH students may take courses at other Schools within Harvard University and at other participating Schools (such as MIT). However, at least 50% of credits must consist of courses offered at HSPH. Course loads of more than 20 credits are allowed within reason however, PLEASE NOTE that full tuition covers only 40 credits per year. Students taking additional credits may be responsible for payment for each additional credit above the 40 credit total. Students supported by training grants may have additional requirements and restrictions specific to the training grant. These students should always check with the administrator(s) of the grant providing their support, to clarify what is covered. Credit and Residency Requirements Students admitted to a one-year MS program must spend a minimum of one academic year in residence at Harvard University and successfully complete a program of at least 42.5 credit units. At least 30 of the 42.5 credits must be taken for an ordinal grade. Students admitted to a two-year MS program must spend two academic years in residence and successfully complete a program of at least 80 credit units. At least 40 of the 80 credits must be taken for an ordinal grade. Students in the EER Program must take ALL required courses (required by HSPH, the EH Department or the EER Program) for an ordinal grade. No required course can be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Waiver Procedure To waive a required course, a student must obtain written permission from the course instructor by presenting evidence of previous equivalent coursework. No credit units are awarded for a course that is fully or partially waived. To waive one of the HSPH-required Biostatistics or Epidemiology core courses, a Waiver of Core Course form is required. Students submitting this form should first obtain the approval from their faculty advisor, then obtain signatures of the course instructor(s). The completed form must be submitted to Barbara Zuckerman, Assistant Director of Faculty and Academic Affairs for the Department of Environmental Health (HSPH Building 1, 13th Floor, Room 1301), for approval of the Chair of the EH Department. The Waiver of Core Course form must be obtained from the HSPH Registrar s Office. To waive EH department or EER program requirements, a Department/Program Requirements Waiver Form is required. Students submitting this form should obtain signatures from the faculty advisor and the course instructor and submit the completed form to Rose West, for approval of the EER Program Director. This form can be obtained from Rose Landmark Center West, 4th Floor, Room 412A). Changes in Specialty Area/Program Students wishing to change their specialty area within the EER Program (for example, from Environmental Epidemiology to Risk Assessment) may do this by completing a Request for Change of Major/Specialty Area form. This form must be approved by the faculty advisor and submitted to Rose West, for approval of the EER Program Director. Please contact Rose to obtain a copy of this form.
8 Changes in degree programs Changes in degree programs within EER (for example, from masters to doctoral), must be done via the Admissions Office. This requires submission of a new application, including new references and a new statement of purpose. In addition to the new application, a General Petition must be submitted. This form may be obtained from the HSPH Registrar s Office and must also be completed and submitted to the Registrar s Office. Copies of all paperwork should be submitted to Barbara Zuckerman, for the EH Department files and to Rose West, for EER Program files. Changes from one EH program to another To change programs within the EH Department (for example, from EER to EOME) also requires submission of a General Petition to the Registrar and a new application to the Office of Admission, including new references and a new statement of purpose. The General Petition form may be obtained from the HSPH Registrar s Office and must also be completed and submitted to the Registrar s Office. Copies of all paperwork should be submitted to Barbara Zuckerman, for the EH Department files and to Rose West, for EER Program files. Change of faculty advisor Changing your faculty advisor may be done by submitting a Request to Change Advisor Form and the form can be obtained from Rose West. This form must be approved by the current advisor, the new advisor and the Department Chair. Students wishing to change advisors should obtain the current advisor s and proposed new advisor s signatures on the form and then submit the form to Barbara Zuckerman, for approval of Dr. Dockery. Keep Your Files Up-to-Date It is imperative that the EER Program student files be kept up-to-date. Therefore, each student is required to submit relevant information to Rose West at Landmark. Necessary items include: petitions for program changes (waivers, etc) or other documents related to your academic program. Please also provide a forwarding address and phone number, before you graduate. Employment Students often try to work in positions with corporations, government agencies, unions or public interest groups in the summer between their first and second year of study. Students interested in summer work should begin looking for a position during the beginning of the Spring term. distribution of job opportunities occurs throughout the year. The staff of the Career Services Office (CSO) can also provide services for students, post-doctoral fellows and alum, starting with their first day of classes and lasting throughout their professional careers. An overview of the CSO services for students can be found at the following website: The CSO is located in the Kresge Building, Room G18, and can be reached via at or by phone at
9 Useful Websites: Students are encouraged to visit the following websites: Harvard School of Public Health Office of the Registrar: Harvard School of Public Health Student Handbook: The Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE): Harvard University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: