Occupational Hygiene or Exposure Science

Here you can:

Translate your
research into
policy impact.

Harness your passion for improving public health.
At DEOHS, you can:

construction worker
Help shape health and safety protections for temporary workers and others doing precarious work (the PhD research of Trevor Peckham, pictured above).

Marijuana plants
Identify on-the-job respiratory hazards for workers in the fast-growing cannabis industry.

farmworkers in the sun
Work with our Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety to study the health effects of heat exposure for agricultural workers.

Why study Occupational Hygiene or Exposure Science?

Exposure scientists quantify hazardous environmental exposures and their risk to human health. Occupational hygienists apply those skills in workplace settings by recognizing, evaluating and controlling exposures from risks such as heat, noise, dust and psychological stress that can cause occupational diseases and aggravate other health problems.

Students can choose between our areas of emphasis in occupational hygiene or exposure science.

Our Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, part of DEOHS, offers traineeships for the Industrial Hygiene/Exposure Science training program, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

As a student in Occupational Hygiene or Exposure Science, you will:

  • Choose to earn your MS, MS Applied or PhD degree.
  • Take common core courses introducing foundational concepts and skills, including: risk assessment, management and communication; assessment and management of exposures to environmental hazards; core principles of toxicology; and how to use a One Health approach to address complex challenges.
  • Learn how to monitor, analyze and control exposures to chemical, physical and biological agents in hazardous chemicals in a variety of settings. Students choosing the Occupational Hygiene area of emphasis receive additional training in occupational and environmental disease and industrial hygiene.
  • Complete a culminating experience (thesis, project or dissertation) showcasing your ability to integrate the skills you have learned to address an environmental or occupational health problem.
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Since joining the department, I’ve been impressed with how much research is going on and how many opportunities there are for students to get involved.

Allen Chan,
MS, Occupational Hygiene
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Our faculty and research

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This is a chance to use my training to mentor students and directly impact workers and businesses to help keep people safe.

Dr. Marissa Baker,
DEOHS Assistant Professor and Director of the industrial hygiene training program at the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety at DEOHS.
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Research spotlight

DEOHS Professor Elena Austin stands in a parking lot outside a school holding an air monitoring instrument.

Monitoring air quality in schools

Does ultrafine air pollution infiltrate schools near Sea-Tac Airport? DEOHS researchers partner with cities in South King County to find out.

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3 people wearing face masks stand next to weather monitoring equipment inside a chain-link fence.

Heat, fire, smoke and health in Washington’s ag industry

DEOHS researchers investigate the combined health effects of wildfire smoke and heat on Washington’s agricultural workforce and test strategies to protect workers and crops

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Students sit at tables interviewing construction workers.  In the foreground a female student with a laptop interviews a male construction worker with a packet of papers in front of him.

Making workplaces safer through science

DEOHS study assesses gender differences in stress levels among construction workers

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Career pathways

Our Occupational Hygiene and Exposure Science graduates work in the public, private and nonprofit sectors and in academia. Recent DEOHS graduates work as:

  • Safety and Health Compliance Officer with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
  • Industrial Safety Professional at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • Industrial Hygienist at Boeing.
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Alumni profile

I was actually surprised by how invested the faculty wanted to be in me and my own professional development in addition to helping me find funding. It’s just been a really rewarding experience.

Jessica Porter,
Industrial Safety Professional, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
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