Degrees and Certificates

Current students: click here for current student resources

ESE offers six degrees ranging from the bachelors to the doctorate, with five of these under the auspices of the Graduate School. At the graduate level, the degree requirements are hierarchical and result from a combination of Graduate School, School of Public Health, and department requirements. These requirements are designed to satisfy learning objectives, which are annotated for each of these degrees and further specified at the department level. Below is a brief description of each degree we offer, which includes links for more information on each degree. A concise summary of requirements for all of our graduate degrees is also available.

We now offer an opportunity for undergraduate students at UNC-CH with appropriate science backgrounds to pursue dual bachelor’s/master’s degrees. This program is intended to allow students to complete a master’s degree in ESE in one additional year beyond receipt of the bachelor’s degree. Interested students should read the program description and requirements carefully.

We also offer the opportunity to pursue a dual master’s degree between ESE and the Department of City and Regional Planning’s MCRP degree.

Another interdisciplinary offering is the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research, which provides graduate level training in the theoretical bases, rationale, and methodologies for carrying out research in equitable partnership with host communities.

The curriculum of the Department provides the vehicle through which degree requirements are met and learning objectives are satisfied. As a result of the size, diversity, and research focus of the Department, other important aspects of the curriculum are seminar programs, degree-required exams and defenses, and faculty advising and mentoring.

Guide to choosing a graduate degree in ESE.


Check out the beta version of our new Gillings Program Search (GPS) for prospective students. The GPS provides a search option for our School’s degree and non-degree programs, as well as the ability to drill down to an overview of each program’s quick facts and related information about how to apply. Find out more: click link(s) below to view more details about your program(s) of interest. See our School’s tuition and fees page for related information.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD Residential)

Terminal degree intended for students with a strong background in the sciences or engineering who are interested in careers in basic and applied research, education, advanced practice, and management in the field of environmental sciences and engineering.

Master of Public Health (MPH Residential)

Terminal degree intended for students with a prior background in health-related areas. Prepares graduates for careers in practice or management in the field of public health with emphasis in environmental sciences and engineering.

Master of Science (MS Residential)

Intended for incoming students with a strong background in the sciences or engineering and who are interested in advanced education or careers in research, practice or management in the field of environmental sciences and engineering.

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MSEE Residential)

A non-research, public health-oriented terminal degree intended for students interested in careers in environmental engineering practice.

Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH Residential)

Intended for incoming students with a strong background in the sciences or engineering. It prepares students for careers in practice as well as for further studies and careers in advanced education, research or management in the field of public health with emphasis in environmental sciences and engineering.

Dual Bachelor's-to-Master of Science Program (BSPH-MS Residential)

Intended for current UNC-Chapel Hill students in a science or math undergraduate program (including BSPH) who are interested in a research-based master’s degree and advanced practice or doctoral study in environmental science or engineering.

Dual Bachelor's-to-Master of Science in Public Health Program (BSPH-MSPH Residential)

Intended for current UNC-Chapel Hill students in a science or math undergraduate program (including BSPH) who are interested in a research-based master’s degree with a public health focus and advanced practice or doctoral study in environmental health sciences.

Dual Master of Public Health and Master of City and Regional Planning (MPH-MCRP Residential)

Intended for incoming students with a prior background in health-related areas who are interested in combining environmental health with community, urban or regional planning.

Dual Master of Science and Master of City and Regional Planning (MS-MCRP Residential)

Intended for incoming students with a strong background in the sciences or engineering who are interested in combining environmental science with community, urban or regional planning.

Dual Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and Master of City and Regional Planning (MSEE-MCRP Residential)

Non-research, public health-oriented terminal degree intended for students interested in careers in environmental engineering practice, and who are interested in combining environmental engineering with community, urban or regional planning.

Dual Master of Science in Public Health and Master of City and Regional Planning (MSPH-MCRP Residential)

Intended for incoming students with a strong background in the sciences or engineering who are interested in combining environmental health science with community, urban or regional planning.

Bachelor of Science in Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences (BSPH Residential)

Provides students with a fundamental grounding in the basic and applied sciences for advanced scientific education, professional schools, or careers in practice in the field of public health with emphasis in environmental health sciences. BSPH graduates will be able to demonstrate a basic level of understanding in the fundamental sciences; describe the relationship between public health and environmental sciences and engineering; identify major issues in environmental sciences and engineering; describe significant regulatory components that have shaped environmental policy; and demonstrate written and oral communication skills related to environmental sciences and engineering issues within a public health context.

Graduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Disparities (CIHD Residential)

Provides training that supports a long-term and sustained public health effort toward addressing and ultimately eliminating public health disparities experienced by African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders, compared to the U.S. as a whole. Students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Certificate Program will gain a synthesis of knowledge across a variety of disciplines and an expanded depth of the nature and causality of health disparities and be able to translate knowledge into effective action within the U.S. and across the globe. This residential certificate program is available to current degree-seeking residential UNC system affiliate graduate students and professional learners enrolled in the Part-Time Classroom Studies program through the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

Graduate Certificate in Global Health (CGH Residential)

This residential, interdisciplinary program of study examines the complexities inherent in improving health on a global scale. Prepares students to work in changing environments and with diverse populations and to respond competently to health challenges presented by permeable geographic and cultural boundaries. Students will gain competence with satisfying and analyzing factors that generate disparities in health status, health resources , and access to health information and health services, particularly for ethnic minorities and other marginalized and vulnerable populations groups. In conferring a Global Health Certificate, UNC Gillings acknowledges students’ capability and capacity to perform as public health professionals with a global perspective and with collaborative and cross-cultural sensitivity and skills. Residential certificate programs are available to students currently enrolled in a residential graduate degree program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Graduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Communication (CIHC Residential)

Provides current degree-seeking residential UNC graduate students with specialized training in health communication. Courses are designed to build expertise for applied practice, academic, and research settings. IHC faculty represent 6 disciplines and conduct research on e-health, message tailoring, risk communication, health decision-making, dissemination, media effects, usability of electronic medical information, and health marketing. Residential certificate programs are available to students currently enrolled in a residential graduate degree program at UNC Gillings.

Graduate Certificate in Public Health Informatics (CPHI Residential)

This 12-credit hour specialized educational option prepares graduates for a variety of public health informatician roles. Combining the existing strength of the SPH curriculum and the informatics curriculum at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS), it will offer focused education with emphasis on public health information systems, information management and manipulation as well as evidence-based public health policy. The PHI certificate is envisioned as complementary to a graduate degree from SPH. Residential certificate programs are available to students currently enrolled in a residential graduate degree program at UNC Gillings.