The 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 applicants will have spent two years in the general college before applying to the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Our curriculum emphasizes rigorous preparation in the basic sciences, graduate-level course-work in environmental sciences (with the option of specializing in environmental biology, environmental chemistry or environmental physics tracks) and opportunities for involvement in research.
More Program Information
Feel free to get in touch with one of our BSPH ambassadors.
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.
The undergraduate program is small and selective (25-30 students per year). Students 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.
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:
- General education requirements: including BIOL 101+101L, CHEM 101+101L, MATH 231 and 232; these courses can also help fulfill general education requirements.
- 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.
- Skills: COMP 116 (or approved alternatives) provides a marketable skill in computer programming for data analysis and model building
- 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
- 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.
- Advanced Electives:
General track: 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 Biology Track: Select 2 from: ENVR 411, ENVR 412, ENVR 421, ENVR 431, ENVR 433, ENVR 442, ENVR 468, ENVR 630, ENVR 640 .
Environmental Chemistry Track: Select 2 from: ENVR 403, ENVR 416, ENVR 419, ENVR 451, ENVR 575, ENVR 650, ENVR 675
Environmental Physics Track: Select 2 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.
Application instructions are found here. The deadline for application is in early February of the applicant’s sophomore year. The Department also offers Spring admission for well-prepared applicants.
Suitably prepared BSPH graduates (or BS graduates from any UNC STEM major) can apply to the “+1” or one-year master’s program in the MS, MSPH, or MPH. The student must progress directly to the master’s program after completing their bachelor’s degree in May or August. Additional requirements are:
1. For the MS or MSPH only, a research advisor must be found in advance of application. Ideally, students should make a start on their research project in their senior year.
2. Up to nine credits (for the MS) or twelve (for the MSPH and MPH) may be transferred into the graduate program. Cross-crediting is not allowed. These credits must be graduate level (400 level or above) and be relevant to environmental sciences and engineering.
Prospective students are encouraged to reach out to student services to discuss the requirements. The +1 Master’s Contract must be filled out and submitted to the student services office around the time of application to ensure that the student’s plan is viable, and to allow students to begin obtaining ENVR 400 credit in their senior year.
These new requirements will go into effect for students entering Fall 2019 or later.
- Define current major issues in environmental health, sciences and engineering (EVNR 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, 430)
- Describe the mechanistic basis for environmentally-induced disease and methods for prevention (ENVR 430)