Global Environmental Health - MPH



Global Environmental Health - MPH




The mission of the GW Master of Public Health (MPH) Global Environmental Health program – a joint program between the Environmental & Occupational Health and Global Health departments– is to prepare students to work in resource-poor settings and apply analytic skills to prevent or lessen problems associated with environmental hazards for human health. The program has a particular focus on traditional environmental health hazards—a lack of access to clean water, inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene, household air pollution, solid waste disposal, and vector-borne diseases such as malaria.

In addition, the MPH in Global Environmental Health degree coursework helps enhance students' capacity to think critically and creatively. At the George Washington University, we are proud to educate students who are committed to improving public health around the globe and engaging in and promoting public service. We emphasize these qualities in the MPH Global Environmental Health program because they are essential for future environmental and occupational health professionals and public health practitioners. In addition, we’re certain that Global Environmental Health graduates can:

  • Assess environmental exposures and understand the effects of these exposures on human health.
  • Interpret epidemiologic and other research findings related to global environmental health risks.
  • Assume leadership roles in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs that focus on modification of environmental health-related behaviors at local, regional, national, and/or global levels.

Flexible Programming

To help students fit graduate school into their daily life, Milken Institute SPH provides flexible course offerings, which allows Global Environmental Health students to take up to 15 credits online.

Request information for MPH@GW

Program Prerequisites

There are no specific pre-requisites for entering the Global Environmental Health master’s program, other than a bachelor’s degree or higher degree. This program is a good fit for anyone with an interest in the connection between the natural world, human activities, and human health. In particular, students who are especially interested in focusing on these issues in resource-poor settings, often outside the U.S. The differences between the MPH in Global Environmental Health and the MPH in Environmental Health Science and Policy are described here.

MPH Core Requirements

PUBH 6000 | MPH Applied Practice Experience (0 credits)
PUBH 6002 | Biostatistical Applications for Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PUBH 6007 | Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health (2 credits)
PUBH 6009 | Fundamentals of Program Evaluation (2 credits)
PUBH 6011 | Environmental & Biological Foundations of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6012 | Fundamentals of Health Policy (2 credits)
PUBH 6021 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 1: Leading Self and Teams in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6022 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 2: Managing Organizations & Influencing Systems in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6023 | Interprofessional Education Experience (0 credits)


PUBH 6137 | Culminating Experience Part 1 (1 credit)​
PUBH 6138 | Culminating Experience Part 2 (1 credit)



Global Environmental Health Requirements

Environmental and Occupational Health Specific

PUBH 6121 | Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology (3 credits)​
PUBH 6126 | Assessment & Control of Environmental Hazards (3 credits)​
PUBH 6128 | Global EOH (2 credits)​
PUBH 6131 | Quantitative Methods in Environmental and Occupational Health (3 credits)​



Global Health Specific

PUBH 6400 | GH Frameworks (2 credits)​
PUBH 6411 | GH Qualitative Research Methods (2 credits)​
PUBH 6435 | GH Program Development & Implementation (2 credits)​




Global Environmental Health Electives

9 credits - any SPH (PUBH, HSML, EXNS) graduate level course. See program guide.


For the most up to date list of electives, please reference the program guide and course descriptions.

Non-Academic Requirements

Professional Enhancement

Students in degree programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, or symposia related to your field of study.

Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.

Students must submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the student records department [email protected].

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training

All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research prior to beginning the practicum.  This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.

Academic Integrity Quiz

All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity.  This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.

Past Program Guides

Program Guides from prior Academic Years

Students in the MPH in GEH program should refer to the guide from the year in which they matriculated into the program. For the current program guide, click the  "PROGRAM GUIDE" button on the right-hand side of the page.

To view sample schedules and learn about the core competencies developed within the program, see the degree program guide.

Students in GW's MPH programs gain practical skills and knowledge by completing a practice experience, or practicum. It is important for Global Environmental Health MPH graduates to feel confident in their skills and gain real-world experience during their studies. Thanks to GW’s prime Washington, DC location, the university can offer its students a wealth of internship and practicum opportunities. In fact, the school has been ranked #1 in internships by the Princeton Review. Students in the Global Environmental Health MPH degree program use the practicum to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

MPH students also complete a culminating experience (CE) project.

Your Practicum

In the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, the Practicum is a course designed to engage students in a practice activity—a planned, supervised, and evaluated experience in a public health organization. The Practice Activity can be related to either primary research or public health practice. It might include activities such as conducting literature reviews, writing proposals, or collecting and analyzing data.

The Practice Activity for the Global Environmental Health MPH degree may not be directly related to the student's day-to-day work. This is to ensure that students learn and apply new skills in the context of public health. If the student does conduct the Practice Activity at his/her place of employment, it must be work for which the student is not remunerated.

Where Our Students Do Their Practica

Pan American Health Organization

Population Services International

Relief International

Trees for the Future

United Nations Foundation

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

U.S. Peace Corps, WASH Advocates

Water for People

Trees for the Future

United Nations Foundation

Women and Children’s Hope Foundation

World Bank contractors

Practicum Profiles

Click on the links below to learn more about some of the practica completed by students in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. 

Population Services International 

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) 

U.S. Global Change Research Program 

U.S. Green Building Council 

World Bank contractors

Culminating Experiences Put It All Together

The Culminating Experience (CE) integrates the knowledge and skills students acquire through their academic work and the Practice Activity. The CE requires students to identify and define a specific public health issue and formulate hypotheses to address that issue. The CE for the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health will include a major written paper such as a review or applied research project. 

The culminating experiences of a number of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health's MPH students and alumni have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Culminating Experience Topics and Publications

You can read a story about a few students' culminating experience (CE) presentations here. GEH students complete two kinds of CEs: systematic reviews and projects. Some previous CE research topics in both categories completed by students in the Global Environmental Health MPH program include:

Systematic Reviews

  • Agricultural Pesticide Exposure and Congenital Abnormalities in Mexico: A Systematic Review
  • Climate & Vector-Borne Disease: A systematic review with a focus on Dengue, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya & Zika
  • Early-life Phytoestrogen Exposure and the Risk of Uterine Fibroids in Premenopausal Women: A Systematic Review
  • The Effects of Solar Disinfection on Childhood Diarrhea Rates in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review
  • The Efficacy of Household Water Treatment (HHWT) in Reducing Water-borne Disease in Complex Emergency Settings: A Systematic Review
  • Extreme Heat Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Systematic Review (published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; served as the cover for the August issue with a short feature article)
  • Household Air Pollution from Unimproved Cookstoves and the Risk of Elevated Blood Pressure in Adults: A Systematic Review
  • Impact of Green Space Access and Exposure on Depression: A Systematic Review
  • Lead Exposures from Traditional Eye Cosmetics among Vulnerable Populations: A Systematic Review 
  • Microbial Quality Assessment of Roof-Harvested Rainwater in Low and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review
  • Native American Children with Asthma or Respiratory-Related Illness and Exposure to Household Air Pollution in North America: A Systematic Review

Research Projects

  • Assessment of Health and Safety Risks for Manual Pit Emptiers in Africa: A Closer Look at Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Compounded Trauma: Gender-Based Violence and Natural Disasters
  • Do Healthy Guts Grow Healthier Children? A Review of Environmental Enteropathy
  • Extreme Heat Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Systematic Review
  • Recognizing and Managing Valley Fever in the Southwest U.S.
  • A Study of Factors that Determine How FSM Systems Function in SE Asia
  • Thinking About the Unthinkable: Evaluating a Medical Countermeasure for an Improvised Nuclear Device Detonation
  • Uric Acid in Sugar Cane Workers in Nigeria
  • Valley Fever: Challenges to Developing Knowledge around a Cryptic Disease
  • Changing Behavior in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Sector with mHealth: Hype or Hope
  • Perceptions of and Motivation for Climate Change Adaptation in Six United States Cities (published in Global Environmental Change)
  • Green Building Certification as a Tool to Promote Healthy Places
  • WASH & Nutrition: Successes, Challenges, and Implications for Integration.
  • Exposures to Mercury and Sex Chromosome Disomy in Faroese Men.
  • The Iintegration of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services into the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: A Qualitative Study (published in The Journal of Global Public Health)
  • Exploring Changes in Open Defecation Rates in Sub-Saharan Africa based on National Level Indices
  • Water Collection in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa 
  • Examining Household Barriers to Latrine Access in Rural Tanzania
  • Integration of WASH Interventions into HIV Treatment Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa (published in Waterlinesstory about research)
  • Changes in Access to Sanitation and Water Supply in 31 Cities of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Evaluation of a Clean Cookstove Intervention in Nigeria
  • Equity in access to water supply and sanitation in Ethiopia: an analysis of EDHS data (2000–2011)  (published in The Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development)
  • Examining the Role of the Health Sector in Reducing Time and Energy Spent Collecting Solid Fuel and Mitigating Health Outcomes Associated with Indoor Air Pollution
  • Factors Determining Success or Failure of Market-based Technologies for Environmental Health Hazards in Low-income Countries
  • Cookstoves, Greenhouse Gasses, and Global Climate Change:  A Case Study in sub-Saharan Africa
  • The Economics of Collecting, Transporting, and Treating Human Excreta from On-site Sanitation Systems in Urban Settings
  • Assessing the Microbial Risks Associated with Animal Wastes from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
  • Water Quality Assessment of Streams Impacted by Large-scale Poultry Operations


There are numerous opportunities for Global Environmental Health program graduates as the prevalence of preventable disease grows, the global population ages, and natural disasters occur with increasing frequency. MPH Global Environmental Health graduates are in high demand at state, local, and multinational governmental organizations, private global environmental and health agencies, non-profit research centers, and educational institutions. Graduates with an MPH Global Environmental Health degree find careers in teaching, research, and consulting.

Where Our Graduates Go

Our MPH alumni are working throughout the world. They are employed in local, state, and national governments, as well as by intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations Environment Program, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank. Other employers include nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations such as the Rural Coalition and Immaculate Conception, and private companies including Astra Zeneca and Merck. Some gradates go to consulting firms such as Booz Allen Hamilton and EnDyna. Our students have gone on to medical school, law school and into PhD programs at universities including Georgetown University, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – sometimes finding employment there, too.

Agua Vitae
American University of Beirut
Astra Zeneca
Booz Allen Hamilton
Cadmus Group
Catmoa Cia Ltda
Chung Shan Medical University
CRDF Global
Global Watch Group
Health Quest Diagnostic Laboratory
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
ICF International
Immaculate Conception
Improve International
Khmer Community Development
National Cancer Institute
Pan-American Health Organization
Pueblo a Pueblo
Public Health Agency of Canada
Rural Coalition
United Nations Environment Program
U.S. Agency for International Development
U.S. Green Building Council
U.S. Public Health Service
University of Queensland
World Bank

Alumni Profiles

Jennifer Goodnight, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

M. Poonam Sandhu, Pan American Health Organization

Laura Rabb, Captain, USPHS (Retired), Owings Public Health Consulting, LLC

Wilbert Quintanilla, Public Health Consultant in Burundi

Joel Wengerm Pan American Health Organization

Organizations You Are Prepared to Help

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
World Bank
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Intitutes of Health (NIH)
Red Cross
Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Save the Children
World Vision
World Bank Ghana
Children's National Medical Center
Save the Children
Sabin Institute
Center for Global Development
Population Services International
Council on Foreign Relations
Water for People
WASH Advocates
Peace Corps
United Nations Foundation


Students pursuing an MPH in Global Environmental Health have access to a world-class faculty with relevant expertise and diverse experience in research, governmental, and clinical settings. The many areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the Global Environmental Health Master of Public Health program include water supply, sanitation and hygiene, microbiology, the effects of exposure to chemicals in occupational settings, climate change impacts, and exposure to air pollution, including particles from cookstoves.

Faculty from both the Departments of Global Health and Environmental and Occupational Health are engaged in the GEH program.

View a complete list of faculty in the Department of Global Health

View a complete list of faculty in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health