Charles V. Shorten Ph.D, P.E.
209 Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center
West Chester, PA 19383
The Environmental Health Program at West Chester University prepares talented students for the technical and professional demands of careers dedicated to the protection of human health and the environment. At all levels, the program embraces the broad environmental ethic of sustainability through human cooperation with nature, including basic rights to a safe home and workplace; clean water supplies for human consumption, recreation and wildlife; safe and available food supply; waste and energy management; and careful resource management for the future.
Bachelor of Science Environmental Health:
Graduates of the program who earn the B.S. degree become entry level Environmental Health Scientists who work to improve the quality of air, water, soil and food using technology to measure and control pollutants, indoors and outdoors. B.S. graduates are widely employed by private industry, environmental consulting firms, regulatory agencies, hospitals and public utilities.
Environmental Health students collect samples and interpret test results
Entering Freshmen: Please click the link, above, to view the recommended course sequence for students entering the Environmental Health major at the beginning of their college careers. This plan balances the course load and ensures that pre-requisite courses are taken, when needed, for advancement to higher-level courses.
Transfer Students and Change of Major: Many students transfer into the Environmental Health major from other colleges or universities. West Chester University examines these transcripts to determine course equivalencies and an individualized student plan is made under the direction of an academic advisor in the Environmental Health Program. We work with local institutions to reach "articulation" agreements that make the transfer to WCU seamless. Other students within WCU change their majors to Environmental Health and they too receive individualized advising. Please see the advising sheet at the link, above, to determine the courses necessary to complete the B.S. Environmental Health degree.
Students, who complete their coursework with a minimum G.P.A. of 2.5, complete a 12-credit internship with an external company or agency. Internships are the best way to prepare oneself for employment in the environmental health field; West Chester University students consistently exceed the expectations of internship supervisors, which often results in an offering of permanent employment. Please review the link of the same name for a listing of internship posting sites.
WCU Environmental Health graduates enjoy employment with some of the nation's most prestigious companies and organizations. Our alumni work at all levels and they often look to WCU for new employees. The link, above, provides an example of some of the past and present employers of our graduates. Please reference the brochure "Careers in Environmental Health," published by the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP) for more information on jobs and careers in Environmental Health. This brochure is also available online at the AEHAP website.
"More than 90% of Environmental Health Graduates who are actively seeking a job have one at graduation or soon after." (National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council, 2006)
West Chester University's Environmental Health Program is an Associate Member of the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP). This affiliation gives students access to Environmental Health resources and faculty from 41 different environmental health programs across the U.S. Please visit the AEHAP homepage to access newsletters, environmental health career information, scholarship/grant opportunities, and links to other environmental health professionals.
Please follow this link for brief biographies of principle faculty members in WCU's Environmental Health programs.
Explore our Environmental Health Laboratory in the Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center through the illustrated tour at the clickable link above. The facility, used for both teaching and research, houses analytical equipment for water quality and wastewater analysis; instrumentation including gas chromatography, atomic absorption spectroscopy and UV-visible spectroscopy; microbiological analysis equipment; industrial hygiene instruments for noise, heat, gas and aerosol detection and measurement; personal protective clothing; and a full range of field meters and sample collection devices.
The Environmental Health Minor provides students in a wide range of majors with an opportunity to learn about the impact of environment on human health and how to protect people from environmental hazards. Students can use this knowledge in their daily lives and in practical application to their major field of study. Concepts and skills learned in these courses can enhance one's professional career.
Environmental Health at West Chester University is a great academic and career choice. We are a nationally-accredited MPH program that prepares advanced students for an exciting career working to solve the most pressing environmental problems of today and tomorrow. Environmental Health professionals anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control hazards that can affect human health in both the natural and built environment. Environmental Health professionals are strong scientists who apply their skills to solving environmental problems. Our graduates are in demand and are widely employed in the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, universities, environmental consulting firms, food supply and distribution companies, state and federal government, and county health departments. Experts trained in Environmental Health are increasingly short in supply but long in demand; for a brief illustration of what we do. At that same link you can also read the article “Environmental Health Workforce Shortage Puts the Health of People and the Environment at Risk.”
MPH Environmental Health Track candidates should have an undergraduate degree in a science, engineering or public health field but others with extensive coursework in the sciences are also invited to apply. We seek applicants with an undergraduate background that includes a year of biology with labs, including microbiology; a year and a half of chemistry with labs, including organic chemistry; math including pre-calculus and a basic statistics course. A broad familiarity with environmental health science is a distinct advantage.
All MPH students complete a common 18-credit core including courses in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Health Care Management and Social/Behavioral Health. This is followed by 21 credits of applied environmental courses in Risk Assessment, Environmental Regulations, Geographic Information Systems, Toxicology, Industrial Hygiene, Bioterrorism & Biocrises, Water Quality, Hazardous Waste Operations, Emergency Preparedness and/or other topical Workshops. During the final summer of your program you will gain hands-on experience through a required 6-credit Applied Learning Experience. In addition to the traditional 45-credit MPH we offer a fast-track option to advanced undergraduates in their final year of study.
Some of the most respected professional organizations represent the discipline of environmental health. For more background about what we do, who hires our students and what kinds of job opportunities await them, take a look at some of these links: