University of California - Berkley - Industrial Hygiene Program
50 University Hall #7360
Berkeley, CA 94720
Each day an average of 15 people die due to workplace hazards in the United States alone. UC Berkeley graduates in Industrial Hygiene are key members of a team of technical professionals and scientists committed to preventing job-related disease and injury. Industrial hygiene is the science and art of recognizing, evaluating, and controlling exposure to harmful agents in the workplace. The goal of the Industrial Hygiene (IH) Program is to educate committed and passionate industrial hygienists with both a firm theoretical background to enable growth and flexibility in our rapidly changing world and a good grasp of the practical aspects of the field to implement this knowledge as practitioners (MS and MPH students) and researchers (PhD students). IH is part of the Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Division, School of Public Health. It offers the MPH professional degree and the MS and PhD academic degrees. For all degree objectives, the curriculum provides fundamental knowledge in toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment and control, risk assessment, biostatistics, health policy, geographic information science, and green chemistry, and the ability to integrate these disciplines in identifying controls for diverse occupational health problems. With the requisite job experience, all graduates should be able to pass the ABIH certification exam.
MPH and MS Students:
MPH students normally complete coursework and an internship in two academic years and take a written and oral comprehensive examination in their last semester. MS students normally complete coursework and a research thesis or project in two academic years. The student’s advisor approves the written thesis or project, but there is no formal ending examination for a MS student. Our goal is to provide students with a multi-disciplinary approach to analyzing and solving occupational and environmental health problems, along with the requisite knowledge foundation and basic technical skills. The knowledge foundation and problem-solving skills are gained via required coursework. Practitioner-oriented training has several components, including hands-on practice with monitoring equipment in the “Characterization of Airborne Contaminants” and the “Exposure Assessment and Control II: Control Ventilation and Physical Agents” courses; experience in the “Occupational Safety” and the “Case Fatality Analysis” courses; participation in the “Occupational Health Clinic” and “Workplace Site Visits”; and the summer internship (for the MPH IH students) under the supervision of a CIH.
Although the MPH degree is not research-oriented, MPH IH students have ample opportunity to participate in academic research if they choose. Faculty members have research grants and contracts on which students can participate for independent study credit or as funded Graduate Student Researchers; EHS faculty currently have numerous occupational health related research grants from NIOSH, NIEHS, Alpha (mining), and the Michael J Fox Foundation. Student initiated projects include those funded by the NIOSH Targeted Research Traineeship (TRT), which requires competitive applications from students, and the COEH Llewellyn Student Award, a competitive interdisciplinary (e.g., industrial hygiene and nursing) project grant that awards up to $5,000 for students from two or more different program areas. One recent project is a study of pesticide exposure among horse trainers that is a collaboration between an UC Berkeley IH student and a UC Davis epidemiology student.
PhD students normally complete coursework in two to three years, and complete a research project and dissertation in four to six years overall. There are no formal course requirements for the PhD IH students other than the “Doctoral Seminar” (PH 293), which is usually taken several times, and “Integrity in the Conduct of Research” (PH 276). For their Graduate Group Examination the students are expected to know the material taught in the required courses for the EHS MPH students and most PhD students take these courses unless they have learned the material previously. In general, other coursework for a PhD student is designed to provide academic knowledge geared to the dissertation project, and to fulfill the course requirements of two minor subjects as suggested by the student’s dissertation committee members. Industrial hygiene related dissertation topics in the past years include:
• Exposure to Manganese from Agricultural Pesticide Use and Neuro Development in Young Children
• Monitoring Particulate Matter with Commodity Hardware
• Spatiotemporal Exposure Modeling & Epidemiological Analyses of the 2008 Northern CA Wildfires
• Design & Applications of Anti Albumin-Adduct Antibodies to Assess Human Exposure to Aromatic Hydrocarbons
• Improving Sensitivity and Specificity when Measuring Environmental Exposure to Engineered Nanoparticle Releases with the use of Low-Background Techniques
• Association between wrist angle and carpal tunnel syndrome among workers
• Effects of Computer Display on Health and Productivity
• Assessing the Exposure and Health Risks of Secondhand Smoke in Restaurants and Bars by Workers and Patrons & Evaluating the Efficacy of Different Smoking Policies in Beijing Restaurants and Bars
• A longitudinal study of wrist tendinosis in Blue Collar Workers
• Assessing Exposures to Particulate Matter and Manganese in Welding Fumes
There are regular interactions among IH students, ergonomics students, occupational epidemiology students, occupational health nursing students and occupational medicine residents.