Our Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) in Environmental Health Sciences is a four-year, residential program offered by the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. Successful graduates will have spent two years in the general college and two years in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. 

Our curriculum emphasizes rigorous preparation in the basic sciences, advanced coursework in environmental sciences (with the option of specializing in environmental health biology, environmental chemistry or environmental physics tracks) and opportunities for involvement in research. 

BSPH Program Contacts

Program Director: Amanda Northcross, PhD
Student Services Coordinator: Jennifer Joyce Moore, (919) 966-3844
Learn more about our program from our current students, reach out to one of our BSPH Student Ambassadors!

Program Information

Our undergraduate program is small and selective (30-40 students per year). You can participate in research alongside graduate students and postdocs. Recent BSPH graduates have worked on water purification (chemical and microbiological); genetic tracking of malarial infections; aerosol formation in the atmosphere; dermal exposure to chemicals in work environments; food insecurity in migrant communities; and many more areas.

Many of our students participate in the honors program and/or write a senior honors thesis. We also offer a dual bachelor’s-to-master’s degree for suitably qualified students.

Typical destinations for our BSPH graduates include non-profit organizations; environmental consultancies; local, state and federal agencies; graduate study in environmental science; and medical, dental and other professional schools.


The curriculum is composed of six elements:

  1. General education requirements: including BIOL 101+101L, CHEM 101+101L, MATH 231 and 232; these courses can also help fulfill general education requirements.
  2. Basic science requirements in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics: BIOL 201, 202; CHEM 102+102L, 261; MATH 233 if placed out of MATH 231 and 232; PHYS 118 and 119 [116 and 117] or PHYS 114 and 115 [104 and 105]. + For Chemistry Track: MATH383, CHEM241 and CHEM241L, CHEM481. + For Physics Track: MATH383.  These courses provide grounding  in the basic sciences equivalent to most fundamental science BA degrees.
  3. Skills: COMP 116 (or approved alternatives) provides a marketable skill in computer programming for data analysis and model building
  4. Public Health Core: Coursework in the central Public Health disciplines, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Health Behavior, BIOS 600, EPID 600, HBEH 600, HPM 600
  5. Environmental Health Core: ENVR 230, 205, 403 and 430 or alternative (ENVR 593 is an approved alternative) provide a broad perspective on environmental health problems and specific understanding of the scientific mechanisms underlying environment—related health effects.
  6. Advanced Electives:
    • General Concentration: Two advanced undergraduate or graduate-level courses (400 or higher) relevant to Environmental Health allow in-depth study of specific aspects of Environmental Health.
    • Environmental Health Biology Concentration: Select two from: ENVR 411, ENVR 412, ENVR 421, ENVR 431, ENVR 433, ENVR 442, ENVR 468, ENVR 630, ENVR 640
    • Environmental Chemistry Concentration: Select two from: ENVR 403, ENVR 416, ENVR 419, ENVR 451, ENVR 575, ENVR 650, ENVR 675
    • Environmental Physics Concentration: Select two from: ENVR 403, ENVR 416, ENVR 451, ENVR 452, ENVR 453, ENVR 666, ENVR 671, ENVR 672, ENVR 675

Electives from outside the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering need to be approved by a program director.


  • Define major issues in environmental health, sciences & engineering. (ENVR 230)
  • Provide quantitative answers to complex environmental questions and describe the potential underlying uncertainties. (ENVR 205)
  • Describe linkages between sources of environmental contaminants, ambient concentrations, human exposures and possible solutions. (ENVR 403)
  • Describe the mechanistic basis for environmentally-induced disease and methods for prevention. (ENVR 430)
  • Demonstrate written and oral communication skills in environmental health, sciences and engineering within a public health context. (Capstone, Practicum or Research)

ESE Course Competencies Mapped to ESE Degrees

Special Opportunities in Environmental Health Sciences

Accelerated Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Program

The Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering offers an accelerated path to obtain a master’s degree for students who are completing, or have completed, a B.S.P.H or any B.S. in a STEM field from UNC–Chapel Hill. An accelerated master’s degree has the same overall credit requirements as a regular master’s degree, but potentially allows a student to finish in a single year. The M.S. and M.S.P.H. degrees are research-focused; the M.P.H. is focused on coursework and public health practice. These degrees prepare students to work as researchers, program officers, or consultants in industry, government organizations, and the non-profit sector; many graduates have gone on to complete doctoral degrees at UNC–Chapel Hill or elsewhere.

Students interested in the accelerated degree program must have completed their B.S. or B.S.P.H. in the previous academic year. Students progressing to an M.S., M.P.H., and M.S.P.H can transfer up to twelve hours of graduate-level (400 or above) coursework. For the M.S. and M.S.P.H., it is strongly recommended that students have identified an advisor and made progress toward their master’s research as early as possible, preferably by their senior year.

Interested? Learn more.

Honors in Environmental Health Sciences

Students who have a grade point average of 3.3 or higher are eligible to participate in honors research and to write an honors thesis.

Study Abroad

There are several opportunities for pursuing environmental study abroad, both through the department and through the UNC Study Abroad Office.

Affiliated Study Abroad Programs

School and Departmental Involvement

Opportunities exist for involvement in student organizations such as the Environmental Student Organization (ENVRSO), the Student Global Health Committee, GlobeMed, the Minority Student Caucus, the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and the school’s student government. Students are also actively involved in environmental and health focused organizations on campus.

The Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering is home to UNC’s Water InstituteCenter on Financial Risk in Environmental Systems, and the Institute for Environmental Health Solutions, and participates in UNC’s strong University-wide environmental and climate change communities, including NC Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center.  

Undergraduate Research

Many undergraduate students participate in the research programs of the department. Students are encouraged to consult individual faculty members for opportunities to participate in such research. In addition, the department has information concerning fellowships and internships, some of which are combined with research opportunities in laboratories or field settings.

B.S.P.H. in Environmental Health Sciences Ambassadors

Current student ambassadors for the bachelor of science in public health program in environmental health sciences are happy to answer questions you may have about the application process, the program, or student life in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Learn more.

Current Undergraduate Student Resources

Current students pursuing a BSPH in Environmental Health Sciences can find important information and resources here.

Application Details

Gillings Schoolwide BSPH application instructions are found here. Learn more about the BSPH in Environmental Health Sciences degree requirements and application information here. The Department offers fall admission only. The deadline for applications for Fall 2024 – COMING SOON.

Contact your Academic Coordinator.
Who is my Academic Coordinator?

Assistant to Chair: Rhoda Cerny
Looking for someone else?
MPH@UNC (MPH Online) Only:
Program Coordinator, John Sugg

135 Dauer Drive
166 Rosenau Hall, CB #7431
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7431
(919) 966-1171