Industrial Hygiene

Recognize, evaluate, and control potential workplace hazards.

The Industrial Hygiene program focuses on the health and safety of people at work, the community at large, and the environment. Specific concerns are with the recognition, evaluation, and control of potential workplace hazards, including chemical, physical, and biological agents.

The Industrial Hygiene Master’s (MPH and MS) programs are accredited (2014 to 2020) by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Accreditation is an important element of the program because it ensures applicants that the program is of high quality and that their education will prepare them for future employment and certification.

The importance of the field of Industrial Hygiene has grown rapidly in recent years as society increasingly recognizes the need to maintain healthy and safe work environments. Exciting and valuable career opportunities exist for well-qualified practitioners and researchers in industry, government organizations, and academic and research institutions. Read “What is an Industrial Hygienist?” for more information.

MPH, MS, or PhD degrees are available in Industrial Hygiene. See the tabs below to further explore these options.

Why Minnesota?

  • Atmosphere: Excellent laboratory facilities with access to the latest industrial hygiene instrumentation.
  • Scholarly environment: Faculty members who are internationally recognized leaders in the Industrial Hygiene field
  • Well-connected: Energetic and highly supportive network of Industrial Hygiene program alumni and friends.
  • Opportunities: Traineeships that cover tuition and fees for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, plus many opportunities for paid internships and post-graduation employment in the Twin Cities.
  • Accredited: ABET accreditation for the Industrial Hygiene program

MS and MPH students in the Industrial Hygiene program must complete a Culminating Experience that most often takes the form of a small research project. PhD students conduct larger research projects that produce a dissertation and manuscripts that are submitted for publication to technical journals. Students may conduct research that is laboratory-based or field-based, or some combination of the two.

The Industrial Hygiene Laboratory occupies 2,500 square feet and is equipped with the latest instrumentation for measuring gases, vapors, particulate matter, and biological aerosols. Large research apparatuses housed in the laboratory include a new walk-in exposure chamber, a wind tunnel, a filter tester, three laboratory hoods, and a biological safety cabinet. The Industrial Hygiene program owns a wide variety of portable samplers and instruments that can be used to measure exposures to hazards at work sites.

Examples of recent research projects include:

  • Nanoparticle Releases During Vehicle Recycling: Workers involved in recycling automobile components may receive harmful exposures to airborne nanoparticles emitted from the nanocomposite parts as they are shredded for recycling. MPH student Jessica Ingraham and Dr. Raynor evaluated particles generated as a granulator shredded nanocomposite test plaques. Performed in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory and the US Council for Automotive Research, the study suggested that recycling of nanoclay-reinforced plastics is unlikely to generate more airborne nanoparticles than recycling of conventional plastics.
  • Evaluating Measures to Reduce Exposure to Mouse Urine Protein: MS students Joe Hexum and Ning Lee and MPH student Rebecca Burton worked with Drs. Ramachandran and Raynor on projects to understand how to control exposures to airborne mouse urine protein (MUP) among workers who transfer research mice between cages and dump bedding from dirty cages. Exposures to MUP can lead to severe allergic reactions. This work indicated that biosafety cabinets and clean benches are not sufficiently protective for workers during cage changing, and respiratory protection should be required for animal care staff even while using biosafety cabinets.
  • Exposure Assessment in the Taconite Industry: PhD students Jooyeon Hwang and Tran Huynh and Drs. Ramachandran and Raynor measured worker exposures to elongated mineral particles (EMPs), respirable dust, and silica in six taconite mines in northern Minnesota. The results are being used for an epidemiological study of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and silicosis in taconite workers.
  • Comparison of Emissions between Self-Generated Vacuum and Conventional Sanding Systems: MPH student David Liverseed and Dr. Raynor conducted research at 3M Company to understand the differences in particle emissions between a conventional random orbital sanding system and a self-generated vacuum random orbital sanding system with an attached particle filtration bag. Particle concentrations were measured for each system in a controlled test chamber. Depending on the substrate being sanded, concentrations were between 300 and almost 5000 times greater for the conventional system than the vacuum sanding system.
  • Assessing Inhalation Exposures of Clean-up Workers During the BP Oil Spill: PhD student Tran Huynh and Dr. Ramachandran developed new statistical methods to analyze the inhalation exposures to several volatile organic chemicals including total hydrocarbons (THCs) and BTEX chemicals (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene) among oil spill clean-up workers. The results are being used in an epidemiological study being conducted by federal government researchers. The methods are also useful for analyzing data below limits of detection.

All MS and MPH students in the Industrial Hygiene program are required to participate in a field experience, which provides an opportunity to learn first-hand about an organization and its operations. Typical field experiences offer a variety in activities ‒ a mixture of office and in-plant work ‒ that fully encompass the responsibilities of an industrial hygienist. Many of these field experiences are paid internships.

Recent field experiences for Industrial Hygiene program students have occurred at locations such as 3M, Honeywell, Metro Transit, the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation, and the university’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

Graduates from the Industrial Hygiene program have a range of employment opportunities available to them, in Minnesota and elsewhere. Some graduates work for multinational corporations. Others work for consulting firms. Some work for local, state, or federal government agencies or the U.S. military. Employers of our young alumni include 3M Company, Intel Corporation, Caterpillar Inc., the U.S. Navy, the Minnesota Department of Health, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Western Kentucky University, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Keimyung University.

The employment prospects for graduates of the Industrial Hygiene program are strong, with excellent compensation. In a 2013 salary survey conducted by the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the average annual salary nationally for industrial hygienists with MS or MPH degrees and less than 5 years of experience was about $70,000. For those with MS or MPH degrees and 11-14 years of experience, the average salary was about $100,000. The average salary for industrial hygienists with PhD degrees was about $120,000.

Admission Requirements

Admission requires a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited college or university. The admissions committee reviews applicants according to their personal statements, background, and experience, record of academic achievement, demonstrated academic potential, letters of recommendation, compatibility of interests with program faculty, and other factors. Test scores and GPAs provide competitive points of reference for admission but are not alone decisive in the admissions review.  

Candidates for the MPH and MS degrees in the Industrial Hygiene Program must meet these additional criteria:

  1. Have a good undergraduate academic performance record in a relevant discipline (preferably science or engineering, but other disciplines are not excluded)
  2. A minimum level of coursework is expected in biology, chemistry (including organic), physics, and mathematics (including calculus). With appropriate additional coursework or work experience, students having undergraduate degrees in non-science fields may also apply
  3. Complementary courses in non-science disciplines (e.g. social sciences, languages, etc.) to demonstrate a well-rounded education
  4. A clear motivation toward occupational and environmental health as demonstrated by their written statement
  5. Success in prior industrial hygiene-related work is considered as a strong factor favoring admission
  6. Strong letters of recommendation

Preferred Performance Levels

  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00

GRE Test Scores

  • Pre-August 2011 test – A combination of 1000 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment.
  • Post August 2011 test – A combination of 300 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment.

Also Acceptable:

  • DAT, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT. (The test is not required for applicants with a doctoral-level degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian school.)
  • TOEFL score of at least 600/250 (for applicants whose native language is not English)
  • GRE can be waived by completion of the Public Health Certificate Program with a minimum GPA of 3.25

Cost & Funding

The University of Minnesota offers affordable and competitive graduate tuition while also being situated in one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the country. See SPH Tuition & Finances for full details.

Funding

 

Other Costs to Consider

  • Average cost of living in Minneapolis for a one-bedroom apartment is $899
  • Minnesota offers no tax on clothing
  • Minnesota students may receive an unlimited bus pass for $100/semester
  • Free use of the light rail train and shuttles between Twin Cities campuses

Admission Requirements

Admission requires a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited college or university. The admissions committee reviews applicants according to their personal statements, background, and experience, record of academic achievement, demonstrated academic potential, letters of recommendation, compatibility of interests with program faculty, and other factors. Test scores and GPAs provide competitive points of reference for admission but are not alone decisive in the admissions review.  

Candidates for the MPH and MS degrees in the Industrial Hygiene Program must meet these additional criteria:

  1. Have a good undergraduate academic performance record in a relevant discipline (preferably science or engineering, but other disciplines are not excluded)
  2. A minimum level of coursework is expected in biology, chemistry (including organic), physics, and mathematics (including calculus). With appropriate additional coursework or work experience, students having undergraduate degrees in non-science fields may also apply
  3. Complementary courses in non-science disciplines (e.g. social sciences, languages, etc.) to demonstrate a well-rounded education
  4. A clear motivation toward occupational and environmental health as demonstrated by their written statement
  5. Success in prior industrial hygiene-related work is considered as a strong factor favoring admission
  6. Strong letters of recommendation

Preferred Performance Levels

  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00

GRE Test Scores

  • Pre-August 2011 test – A combination of 1000 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment.
  • Post August 2011 test – A combination of 300 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment.

Also Acceptable:

  • DAT, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT. (The test is not required for applicants with a doctoral-level degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian school.)
  • TOEFL score of at least 600/250 (for applicants whose native language is not English)
  • GRE can be waived by completion of the Public Health Certificate Program with a minimum GPA of 3.25

Cost & Funding

The University of Minnesota offers affordable and competitive graduate tuition while also being situated in one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the country. See SPH Tuition & Finances for full details.

Funding

 

Other Costs to Consider

  • Average cost of living in Minneapolis for a one-bedroom apartment is $899
  • Minnesota offers no tax on clothing
  • Minnesota students may receive an unlimited bus pass for $100/semester
  • Free use of the light rail train and shuttles between Twin Cities campuses

Admission Requirements

Admission requires a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited college or university. The admissions committee reviews applicants according to their personal statements, background, and experience, record of academic achievement, demonstrated academic potential, letters of recommendation, compatibility of interests with program faculty, and other factors. Test scores and GPAs provide competitive points of reference for admission but are not alone decisive in the admissions review. Doctoral applicants are expected to substantially exceed the general admission preferences.

Preferred Performance Levels

  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00

GRE Test Scores

  • Pre-August 2011 test – A combination of 1000 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment.
  • Post August 2011 test – A combination of 300 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the test and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing assessment.

Also Acceptable:

  • DAT, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT. (The test is not required for applicants with a doctoral-level degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian school.)
  • TOEFL score of at least 600/250 (for applicants whose native language is not English)
  • GRE test scores or other standardized post bacc test scores (e.g. MCAT, LSAT, DAT) are required of all PhD applicants to the EnHS program.

Cost & Funding

The University of Minnesota offers affordable and competitive graduate tuition while also being situated in one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the country. See SPH Tuition & Finances for full details.

Funding

 

Other Costs to Consider

  • Average cost of living in Minneapolis for a one-bedroom apartment is $899
  • Minnesota offers no tax on clothing
  • Minnesota students may receive an unlimited bus pass for $100/semester
  • Free use of the light rail train and shuttles between Twin Cities campuses
Industrial Hygiene student Nicole Gryska

I have had a great experience and learned a lot about the field from brilliant professors and classmates alike. –Nicole Gryska, MS, 2015

Application Deadline

Scholarship Consideration Deadline: December 1
Final Deadline: June 15

Contact Us

Program Coordinator
Khosi Nkosi
612-625-0622
nkosi001@umn.edu