What is Environmental Health & Safety?

Master of Environmental Health and Safety


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MEHS Safety Harness Demonstration

First and foremost, EHS professionals maintain and improve the quality of life of those around them. 

Not only do they keep workers safe on the job by reducing the likelihood of injury, illness or death, but they work to ensure the financial success of their employers or clients while making decisions to protect the environment and society as a whole. In doing so, no day is ever the same.

EHS professionals blend technical and management expertise with the communication skills needed to interact and cooperate with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Surveys show that EHS professionals enjoy their jobs, reporting high job satisfaction rates and better than average salaries. Recent grads from the MEHS program have accepted salaries starting around $45,000, with a few making more than $80,000.

Why get a masters degree in EHS from UMD?

The Master of Environmental Health and Safety (MEHS) program prepares graduates for professional careers in environmental health and safety – encompassing occupational safety, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, risk management and environmental health.

However, we strive to not only provide academic-based knowledge, but also the technical and practical skills necessary to be a successful EHS professional.

While our coursework covers a broad range of EHS topics, students may also choose areas to explore more in depth. We invite people from all undergraduate backgrounds to apply and offer an evening course option for workers considering a career change.

How do I know if this is right for me?

The Master of Environmental Health and Safety degree is best suited to students with a solid background in engineering, technology, natural science, and health who are interested in further specialization in occupational safety and health. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, preferably with a major in technology, engineering, science, or other appropriate field.

Baccalaureate degree holders with different majors but with other relevant backgrounds or qualifications will also be considered. If deficiencies exist, candidates may be accepted into the program contingent upon the successful completion of certain courses designed to correct them.

All MEHS candidates gain thorough preparation in:

  • Problem solving methods
  • Decision making techniques
  • Record keeping procedures
  • Training and presentation skills
  • Cross-organizational communication
  • Leadership

In addition to studying safety principles and practices, MEHS program candidates learn how to analyze data and assess human situations, often drawing on personal experience in occupational settings. Shared information, group discussion and the give and take of opinions help develop the sound professional judgment and practical knowledge that are of immediate value to prospective employers.

Students are also encouraged to join related professional organizations where they have opportunities to learn from people in industrial safety, hygiene and ergonomics and establish professional contacts. In addition, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) student chapter also brings in guest speakers and program alumni.