Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Health Sciences is designed to prepare students for scholarly and professional positions and careers in academia, government, and industry. The program emphasizes the application of biological, physical, and medical sciences to the solution of environmental and public - health problems. The objective of doctoral study is to develop each student's ability to conduct original, advanced research as an independent scientist. In keeping with this goal, each student is expected to guide his or her own research project, under the supervision of a faculty member, with a high level of effort and accomplishment, and thereby gain the capacity to be self - teaching and the ability to design and conduct research on important issues in the student's chosen field. The program typically entails four or more years of full - time study and research beyond the baccalaureate. Students in the M.S. program must complete that degree before entering the Ph.D. program.

Program Overview

The PhD program of study involves the following 67 credits:

  • 17 department core credits
  • 3 laboratory rotation credits
  • 12 elective credits
  • 35 research credits

The program typically follows a four to five year plan of coursework, as well as a two qualifying exams (one before the fourth semester of study and the other after the fifth semester of study), and a doctoral dissertation.


Programs in the Toxicology concentration are designed to prepare students for technical, professional, and supervisory positions and careers in academic institutions, public agencies, and industry. The curriculum emphasizes the application of classical biological, physical and medical sciences to help solve public health problems associated with toxic chemicals. Research specializations are available in microbiology neurotoxicology, in vitro toxicology, biochemical toxicology, molecular toxicology, chemical carcinogenesis, and immunotoxicology. The program is flexible and will reflect the individual needs of the student. Emphasis will be placed on developing the research tools to enable each student to become a productive researcher in toxicology.

Concentration Coordinator: Dr. David Spink

Plan of Study

The environmental occupational health concentration offers graduate education which provides a readily accessible bridge between the disciplines of biology, microbiology, chemistry, physics, and the behavioral sciences and range of problems and issues in the prevention and control of environmental - provoked disease. Emphasis is on the development and use of factual bases to define the health effects of exposure of individuals or populations to hazardous materials and situations, environmentally caused diseases, integrating the results of risk assessment with engineering, social, economic and political concerns to reach a decision. In the first year, all students take a set of core courses in environmental health, epidemiology, toxicology, environmental chemistry, and statistics. During the first semester students also complete two laboratory or field rotations. These rotations allow the student to become familiar with the research interests of the faculty and aid in the selection of an advisor for the Ph.D. dissertation work.

Concentration Coordinator: Dr. Michael Bloom

Plan of Study

The Environmental Chemistry concentration emphasizes significant environmental and public health problems. The concentration’s unique position within New York State's Department of Health provides its students and faculty with first - class, modern instrumentation and facilities as well as an abundance of research problems of fundamental and practical interest. Research specializations include analytical chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, transport and transformations of halogenated compounds including PCB's, dioxins, pesticides, perfluorinated chemicals, brominated compounds, and pharmaceuticals, and nuclear chemistry. Additionally, students may choose to utilize the tools of chemistry and physics in collaborative projects with, for example, scientists in such disciplines as microbiology, toxicology, biochemistry or epidemiology. The goal of the program is to train students to become competent and productive researchers in their chosen specialty so that they may assume leadership positions in academia, government or industry.

Concentration Coordinator: Dr. Xianliang Zhou

Plan of Study