Bachelor of Science in Earth & Environmental Sciences - Environmental Health Sciences Concentration

Overview

photo of a student in a lab

Our undergraduate Environmental Health Sciences program was re-accredited by the National Environmental Health and Protection Accreditation Council in 2012. Both it and our Graduate Programs offer interdisciplinary environmental training for students majoring in biology, chemistry and earth sciences. A wide range of expertise exists in the environmental faculty. They direct active research programs that provide students practical training in current techniques addressing applied environmental problems. Our graduates enjoy the benefits of an excellent education and have an excellent first-time pass rate on the State of Ohio Registered Sanitarian examination. Employers report very favorably on our interns' and graduates' job performance. Our students are employed in public health, industrial hygiene/hazardous materials management, water/air quality protection, and other areas.

Students seeking the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health Science are broadly educated for work in Public Health, Industrial Hygiene or Environmental Protection. A field internship program, operated in cooperation with participating environmental health agencies or industries, gives students an opportunity to gain practical work experience. Students should consult with their advisor when planning a program to ensure it meets their needs and interests. A grade of C or above is required in each course used to fulfill the Environmental Health Sciences Core, required supporting courses in basic sciences and mathematics, environmental specialty courses, and supporting electives units of this degree.

Degree Requirements

The EES-BS-Environmental Health Sciences Concentration is designed to provide the skills and training required to understand and solve environmental problems that can affect both human and ecosystem health. A primary focus on the coursework in the program is on the transport, fate, and effects of contaminants and other stressors in the home, workplace, and natural environment. The program includes an internship in which students can “try on for size” an area of work that may interest them.

I. Wright State Core (40 hours)

Element 1: Communication (6 hours)

Element 2: Mathematics (4 hours)

  • MTH 2240 Applied Calculus

Element 3: Global Traditions (6 hours)

Element 4: Arts and Humanities (3 hours)

Element 5: Social Sciences (6 hours)

Element 6: Natural Sciences (8 hours)

  • BIO 1120 Cells and Genes
  • BIO 1150 Organisms and Ecosystems

Additional Core Courses (7 hours)

  • EES 2600 Environmental Science and Society
  • STT 2640 Elementary Statistics

II. Departmental Core Requirements (41 hours)

  • EES 3600 Water, Wastewater, & Solid Waste
  • EES 3620 General Environmental Health
  • EES 3660 EHS Internship
  • EES 3680 HAZWOPER
  • EES 4280 EES Colloquium (twice at 0.5 credit hours each)
  • EES 4510 Effective Scientific Communication
  • EES 4620 Environmental Toxicology
  • EES 4640 Risk Assessment & Communication
  • EES 4660 OSHA Compliance
  • EES 4680 Environmental Law For Scientists
  • EES 4700 Environ Intern and Career Analysis
  • EES 4720 Epidemiology & Community Health
  • EES 4740 Occupational Health & Safety/Lab
  • EES 4760 Air Quality Management
  • EES 4780 Environmental Issues Seminar

Total Hours Required: 124

Download: B.S. in Earth & Environmental Sciences, Environmental Health Sciences Concentration Degree Requirements (PDF)

Job Fields

Students graduating from our program get jobs in four primary areas: public health, industrial hygiene, environmental protection, and natural resource management. Each of these fields is briefly described below.

Public Health

The field of public health encompasses those responsibilities of scientists who help ensure a healthful environment for general public under the public health statutes. Specifically, the duties of public health officials include community health and epidemiology, restaurant and swimming pool inspections, hazard protection (e.g. asbestos), vector control, proper operation and maintenance of public and private drinking water supplies, and sewage treatment plants. These individuals are usually employed by a state, county, or local health department.

Industrial Hygiene

The field of industrial hygiene encompasses those responsibilities of scientists working in industrial settings who help ensure a healthful environment for employees. Specifically, the duties include measuring employee exposure to hazards, evaluating those exposures, and where appropriate, recommending procedures to reduce risks resulting from exposures. Reducing risk may involve communicating information about risks to employees. Employment opportunities usually are in the environmental consulting firms, industry, or in government.

Environmental Protection

The field of environmental protection covers those responsibilities of scientists who help ensure a healthful environmental for the general public under the environmental statutes. Specifically, the duties of environmental protection officials include monitoring air, soil, and water, plants and animals, assessing impacts that chemicals have on individuals, populations, or ecosystems, and investigating the sources of those chemicals. This field also can involve managing hazardous wastes. These individuals are employed by consulting firms, large industries, and government.

Internship Program

Overview

Excellence in the Environmental Health Sciences program has been a hallmark of undergraduate education at Wright State for over three decades. This reputation developed in large part through a group of environmental specialists from a wide range of government agencies and industries working together with Wright State scientists, first to create the program and then to keep it current. The program is more exciting and relevant now than ever before.

The internship is an essential part of the EHS program, and provides experiences unavailable in the classroom. Only the internship provides you with exposure to real world environmental problems and their solutions, and you are the one who decides where you gain this experience.

In addition, the internship also qualifies as one of the two Writing Intensive Courses or WIC required of EHS students (the other WIC is EES 3600). To be given credit for a WIC, your writing for this course must conform to certain guidelines.

Goal and Objectives

The goal of the internship program is to provide a practical work experience for students like you who are enrolled in the EHS baccalaureate program. This brief but important exposure to field work will:

  • Sharpen your skills by giving you the opportunity to apply already developed knowledge of principles, methods and practices within the environmental health sciences
  • Prepare you for continuing study by providing a better understanding of the relevance that the course work has to real-world situations
  • Afford your sponsoring institution an opportunity to train you and other students, gain use of your skills on a short term basis, and evaluate your future potential for long-term employment after graduation
  • Promote a close working partnership between the university's Environmental Health Sciences Program and environmental practitioners in business, industry, and government

Types of Intern Programs

The intern experience is relatively flexible. The specifics of your internship will depend on your specific interests, matching those interests with an employer, and satisfying the program criteria. You may spend your entire internship with one institution in a single or multi-faceted approach (e.g., work with issues related to food, water, solid or hazardous materials, environmental toxicology, employee work safety or public health), or you may work with various institutions in a multi-program approach.

Requirements

University Criteria

  • Internship consists of a minimum of 400 hours of work. The number of hours worked per week, and the salary earned, are negotiated by agreement between you and the employer. Typically, employers understand that students have multiple responsibilities, and are flexible about when students put in their time.
  • Intern program will be overseen by a Wright State faculty member.
  • Student must have 2.5 over-all grade point average and must not be on academic probation.
  • Student must have already completed three core environmental health sciences courses.

Employer Criteria

  • Local Health Agency:
    • Must be a health agency recognized by the State Health Department.
    • Must have a registered Sanitarian on the environmental staff.
  • State, Regional or Local Planning or Environmental Agency, Industry, or Institution:
    • Must have an environmental specialist qualified either by experience or education.

Operation

The program requires coordination between you, the Environmental Health Sciences Intern Director, Wright State Office of Career Services, and the potential employer. You are invited to speak to Dr. David Schmidt in the EES department, or staff at Career Services to get a better understanding of how the program operates.

Summer is often the term chosen for an internship. However, you will increasingly have the option to select a non-summer internship. Regardless of the term that you will work on your internship, you should begin the process 6 months in advance.

Students who have completed at least two years of college course work and who have taken three of the core environmental courses are encouraged to seek an internship. It is best not to wait until you are almost ready to graduate, because then it may be too late to get any internship, much less the one you would prefer.

There are two ways of arranging an internship. First, you can take your own initiative, which could include examining a list of employers that the program has dealt with in the past. Most of the employers listed are willing to be called directly by students. Exceptions are noted on the list, and these employers should only be contacted by Career Services. You may wish to register with Career Services to take advantage of Wright Search®, an online resume database. In order to place your resume in Wright Search you must attend an orientation at the Career Services office, E334 Student Union. Call the Career Services office at (937) 775-2556 or check postings for orientation times.

Of course, you also can personally look for intern employers and use Career Services. And, even if you do not use Career Services as a source of internship, the Career Services staff will be happy to help with resume writing and interviewing skills.

The internship site needs to ensure you a suitable experience in the environmental health sciences. To ensure this, your internship organization must designate a field counselor from its staff to act as your mentor, instructing and advising you during your entire period with them.

On your part, you should acquaint your field counselor with the relevant courses you have completed and your particular interests. In turn, the field counselor should familiarize you with personnel, organization, resources, and office procedures. A carefully planned orientation period at the outset can provide an easy adjustment and smooth working relationship between all parties, and greatly aid you in identifying the general roles and responsibilities for work at the site.

In varying degrees work assignments will attempt to accommodate your interests, but you must recognize that the field institution must carry on with its normal work routine. We hope that Wright State University's objectives for field training can be met with no disruption to regular program undertakings and that your participation will further help the institution accomplish its goals.

A department faculty member is available to visit the institution for the purpose of helping the counselors and students plan activities and assess the progress of the experience.

After the internship is over, you will have the opportunity to share your experience with other students as part of EES 4700. Provided you took your internship before your senior year. You'll need to take EES 4700 your senior year whether or not you have completed your internship. EES 4700 is typically offered during the Fall Semester.

Reports

You are required to submit (mail or fax) activity reports during each week of the internship to Dr. David Schmidt. These reports summarize your daily activities and must be signed by your field counselor.

In addition, you must prepare a complete written report of your entire field experience, including a personal assessment of its value toward career development. The final field report should generally adhere to the report outline given below. In addition, you must present a verbal report of all or portions of your field experience as part of your work in EES 4700.

Your final grade will require:

  • Documentation that you worked 400 hours
  • Positive evaluation from your field counselor
  • Satisfactory completion of your project report

Evaluation

The field counselor, acting as your mentor, has the primary responsibility for evaluating your performance during the entire period of field placement. A department evaluation form is provided for this purpose, but we invite additional information on the student or the program generally.

Environmental Health Sciences Intern Project Report

The project is to be a worthwhile effort to effectively study a "real world" problem that needs solution by the institution or which provides it with further beneficial information. The report will further develop the student's ability to handle a special problem and how to prepare a well written and documented report.

The title of the project and the assignment is to be determined between the student, the field counselor, and the Environmental Health Sciences Intern Director.

You are expected to develop a comprehensive outline of the project and present it to your field counselor for review. The project may focus on one focused study or a combination of several environmental activities. The corrected outline is then submitted to the Environmental Health Sciences Intern Director for evaluation and review. We strongly encourage you begin this process no later than after 80 hours of the intern period.

The special project report should have the following format:

  1. Title page: Name of project, name of institution, name of Environmental Health Science Intern Director, name of student, and date.
  2. Table of contents with page numbers.
  3. One half to one page abstract. Briefly summarize why you did your project, how you did your project, what you found out, and your conclusions.
  4. Background information on why the institution=s activity in this subject area is required; e.g., regulatory history.
  5. Project description, including objectives and methods.
  6. Presentation of results, including data tabulation and analysis, followed by a discussion of what the data shows.
  7. Summary.
  8. Recommendations.
  9. Bibliography. This should include citations to relevant literature and regulations.
  10. Appendix, which includes charts, maps, forms, or letters used.

In addition to these formatting requirements, a Writing Intensive Course for majors has certain additional requirements that must be met:

  • A draft of the report must be submitted for instructor comment two weeks before the end of the semester.
  • The draft must be at least 2,250 words, not counting: title page, table of contents, bibliography, figures, tables, or appendix. Said another way, the 2,250 word minimum encompasses only the abstract and the main body of the report.
  • The student must be prepared to respond to comments and submit a revised final report.