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Environmental Health Sciences Program

Professor and student conducting research in the woods


Environmental Health recognizes that our well-being depends upon our social and physical environment, as well as our lifestyle. The Environmental Health (ENVH) Program is focused on the protection of human health from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in the environment. The program includes an exciting and challenging curriculum of courses in the basic and applied sciences.

Graduates of the department are highly trained scientists and professionals capable of identifying and measuring environmental hazards and effective management and control of those hazards. They pursue careers in the public or private sector as environmental health practitioners (Registered Environmental Health Specialists or Registered Sanitarians), occupational safety and health professionals (Certified Industrial Hygienists or Certified Safety Professionals), researchers, educators, and managers.

Additionally, environmental health is an excellent "pre-professional degree" for such disciplines as medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, and other healthcare fields.


The WCU Environmental Health Program is one of less than 30 nationally accredited programs. The accrediting body is the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).

Environmental Health Faculty

The faculty and staff of WCU’s Environmental Health Program are student-oriented and committed to their education and success.

Geraldine Riouff

Assistant Professor


Admission Information

In order to major in environmental health, students must first be accepted through the WCU Office of Admissions. Once admitted to the Program, students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 in major coursework.

As with all programs in the School of Health Sciences, students with an associate’s degree or community college credit are strongly encouraged to apply. For more information on transferring to WCU, visit transfer admissions.

Declaring a major in Environmental Health does not guarantee admission into the program.  Students must maintain an overall 2.3 GPA and earn a grade of C (2.0) or above in each of the core environmental health courses to remain in the program.  In addition, students are expected to adhere to the technical and professional standards of the program.  For the most up-to-date information regarding these standards, program suspension and termination, refer to the Environmental Health Program website linked from School of Health Sciences.  The program is nationally accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).  

The technical standards set forth by the Environmental Health Program establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to this program to achieve the knowledge, skills, and competencies of an entry-level environmental health professional.

The following abilities and expectations must be met by all students admitted to the Environmental Health Program. In the event a student is unable to meet these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, the student will not be admitted into the program.

Candidates for selection to the Environmental Health Program must demonstrate:

  1. The mental capacity to assimilate, analyze, synthesize, integrate concepts and problem solve to assess environmental health challenges and issues;
  2. To accurately, safely and efficiently use equipment and materials during the assessment of environmental health issues;
  3. The ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with clients and peers, including individuals from different cultural and social backgrounds; this includes, but is not limited to, the ability to establish rapport and communicate relevant information effectively. Students must be able to understand and speak the English language at a level consistent with competent professional practice;
  4. The capacity to maintain composure and continue to function well during periods of high stress;
  5. The perseverance, diligence and commitment to complete the Environmental Health Program curriculum as outlined and sequenced;
  6. The ability to adjust to changing situations and uncertainty in field situations;
  7. Affective skills and appropriate demeanor and rapport that relate to professional education.

Candidates for selection to the Environmental Health Program will be required to verify they understand and meet these technical standards or that they believe that, with certain accommodations, they can meet the standards.

The Western Carolina University Student Support Services will evaluate a student who states he/she could meet the program's technical standards with accommodation and confirm that the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws.

If a student states he/she can meet the technical standards with accommodation, then the University will determine whether it agrees that the student can meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodation; this includes a review of whether the accommodations requested are reasonable, taking into account whether accommodation would jeopardize safety, or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework and internship(s) deemed essential to graduation.

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