2015-16 General Bulletin

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Phone: 216.368.5957
Jonathan Haines, PhD, Interim Chair

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences is devoted to the study of the fundamental mechanisms responsible for disease processes initiated or aggravated by environmental agents. Indoor and outdoor environments consist of complex interacting systems. These systems require the development of new approaches to understanding the basis of their action. Current research interests of the faculty include chemical and environmental carcinogenesis, genetic and reproductive toxicology, cytogenetics, radiation biology, and clinical and forensic toxicology.

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences offers the MS degree and an MD/MS program for students who have received formal acceptance to the School of Medicine and are interested in expanding their training in the area of environmental health sciences. This program allows students to complete the requirements for both degrees within a four-year period.  

MS Environmental Health Science

The Master of Science degree program is designed to increase the student’s knowledge of environmental health science as well as to provide a firm foundation in the life sciences. The program is multidisciplinary and emphasizes cancer biology, environmental toxicology, and nutrition and toxicology. It is based on a core classroom curriculum in the biological sciences, including biochemistry, biostatistics, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, pharmacology, epidemiology, and toxicology.


Applicants must complete a CWRU Graduate Application. Tuition or stipends will not be provided for the master of science program (no additional tuition is required for enrolled medical students).

Degree Requirements

Currently, a student can obtain a MS with a thesis based on an individual research project [Plan A] or may obtain a MS based solely on course work and a comprehensive exam [Plan B]. Both degrees require completion of 27 semester hours of credit. Under Plan A, up to 9 of the 27 semester hours can be obtained through research. Students also prepare a written thesis and complete an oral defense for a Plan A Degree.  Completion of a Plan B, MS Degree, requires satisfactory performance on a written comprehensive exam taken after the student has finished their 27 hours of coursework.  Also, for Plan B, it's recommended that the student take CBIO 453 Cell Biology I & CBIO 455 Molecular Biology I [8 Credits] or BIOC 407 Introduction to Biochemistry: From Molecules To Medical Science [4 Credits] & BIOC 408 Molecular Biology [4 Credits].   

Of the 27 semester hours of coursework required for the MS degree, 9 hours of credit are fulfilled by the EVHS Core Curriculum. This Core Curriculum is comprised of three 3 credit courses: EVHS 401 Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Biochemical Toxicology and EVHS 402 Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Risk Assessment. Finally, as part of the 12 credits of Core Courses, a student must take a Statistics course of their choosing (must be approved by the Department).  

The required course list is as follows:

Course List

EVHS 401Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Biochemical Toxicology3
EVHS 402Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Risk Assessment3
EVHS 435Environmental Health Law and Policy3
EVHS 506Independent Study in Environmental Health Sciences1 - 6
EVHS 651Master's Thesis Research1 - 9


EVHS 401. Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Biochemical Toxicology. 3 Units.

This course details the fundamentals of biochemical toxicology. Specific topics include oxidation-reduction reactions, Phase I and II xenobiotic metabolism and mechanisms of cellular toxicity. Also, this course focuses on pharmacology. General principles of pharmacology, drug transport and absorption, drug metabolism, neuropharmacology, immunopharmacology and pharmacokinetics are discussed.

EVHS 402. Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Risk Assessment. 3 Units.

This course presents an overview of the scientific approaches used to determine whether environmental agents are potentially dangerous to people. In this course, criteria utilized for establishing exposure limits is presented. A variety of assays which can be employed to assess the impact of environmental exposure on normal and genetically susceptible individuals are studied. These include: numerous animal tests, short term toxicity and mutagenicity tests, functional assays, molecular techniques to delineate mechanisms of action, epidemiology studies and controlled clinical trials. Recommended preparation: EVHS 429.

EVHS 435. Environmental Health Law and Policy. 3 Units.

This course will introduce students to environmental law and policy, with a focus on federal environmental law. The goal of the course is to enable students to understand the distinctive characteristics of a regulatory agency, where scientific insights must be channeled through the paths set out by law. Students will consider how federal statutes are implemented through agency regulations, and the role of courts in overseeing the regulatory process. Substantive statutes we will consider include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the regulation of hazardous wastes and the cleanup of contaminated sites, and a range of federal statutes regulating chemical manufacturing/use and the workplace. The course includes an overview of the common law concepts of torts and nuisance. Prereq: EVHS 429 or permission of instructor.

EVHS 506. Independent Study in Environmental Health Sciences. 1 - 6 Unit.

EVHS 651. Master's Thesis Research. 1 - 9 Unit.

EVHS 701. Dissertation Ph.D.. 1 - 9 Unit.

(Credit as arranged.) Prereq: Predoctoral research consent or advanced to Ph.D. candidacy milestone.