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Master of Science (MS)

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; environmental biology; environmental chemistry; environmental health practice and policy; industrial hygiene; toxicology; or water quality. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

Students in EHS 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;
  • 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
  • C200A: Foundations of Environmental Health Sciences
  • C200C: Foundations of Environmental Health Sciences
  • EHS 200D: Policy Analysis for Environmental Health Sciences 
  • EHS C240: Fundamentals of Toxicology
  • EHS C257: Risk Assessment and Standard Setting
  • EHS 411: Environmental Health Sciences Seminar. One quarter each year is required
  • EHS 596 (Comp/Report Plan) OR 598 (Thesis plan): 4 units are required*
  • Advanced Labratory Course on a topic in or related to Environmental Health Sciences (3 or more units)
  • 18 units of elective courses: Elective courses should be selected from the student's academic area of focus, in consultation and with approval from your Faculty Advisor.

* Only 4 units of 596 OR 598 may be applied toward the MS minimum total course requirements.

Public Health Course Requirement: Students who have not previously completed a Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accedited 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. 

Master's Thesis OR Comprehensive Examination: students must complete either a master's thesis or a comprehensive examination and report.

Option 1 Master's 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.

Typical Course Sequencing

Students in the MS program should take Environmental Health Sciences C200A and Biostatistics 100A in their first quarter, Environmental Health Sciences C200C and Biostatistics 100B in their second quarter. They may also take additional courses in each of those quarters. Students with an extensive math background may take Biostat 110 A-B instead of Biostat 100A-B.


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

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.

For More Information 

Please contact Susana Luis at (310) 206-1619 or 

*This information is intended as an overview and should only be used as a guide. 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.