This program prepares nurses to take on environmental health duties within a wide range of health care settings—from local and state health departments to regulatory agencies and non-profit/advocacy organizations.
The relationship between human health and our environment, including air (indoor and out), water, food, and products is a vital part of nursing assessments. To meet this growing need, UMSON has developed the Certificate in Environmental Health for professional nurses. The program will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the multi-disciplinary and multi-agency roles in environmental health as well as the critical role they play in protecting environmental and public health. This 12-credit certificate program will prepare you to engage in environmental health activities within health care settings, including local and state health departments, regulatory agencies, and non-profit/advocacy organizations.
This certificate is open to professional nurses who want to develop skills in the new and emerging field of environmental health. To be eligible for the program, you must be a registered nurse and have a bachelor’s degree or be enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. If you’re a graduate student, you may complete the certificate concurrently with your other graduate studies. If you are not enrolled in a graduate program at UMSON, you can complete the certificate in three semesters starting either in the fall or spring.
Sample Plan of Study (12 Credits)
|Fall||NURS 730*||Environmental Health I||3|
|Spring||NURS 735||Applied Toxicology||3|
|Fall||NURS 764||Advanced Environmental Health||3|
|Variable||XXX**||Environmental Health Elective||3|
*NURS 730 is offered in both the spring and fall semesters.
**A range of environmental health courses are available and noted in the Courses tab. This flexibility is built into the certificate to allow the student an opportunity to extensively explore a specific aspect of environmental health. This course selection must be approved by the program director. NOTE: Not all the options listed below are offered in a given semester or online, and the list is not exhaustive.
NURS 730 Environmental Health
This course explores the relationship between human health and the environment. Students learn the basic assessment techniques to determining risks in their personal lives and in the health care setting. They explore the nature of environmental justice, current environmental health policies, and have an opportunity to focus on an area of specific interest. Each student is responsible for a class presentation on their area of interest.
NURS 735 Applied Toxicology
This course was developed by nurses for nurses with an understanding that most nurses have not taken biochemistry. The course provides nurses with a basic understanding of the physiology of toxicological mechanisms. It also uses common exposures to examine toxicological data, assess risk, communicate about the risk, and consider how policies are determined in light of the risk data.
NURS 764 Advanced Environmental Health
This course introduces students to a more in-depth exploration of a number of environmental health issues including air pollution, heavy metals, pesticides, climate change, and agriculturally and food-related exposures and concerns. During the course of the semester the student is expected to prepare a paper on an environmental health topic of their choice for a nursing publication. This mentored process includes student peer-to-peer reviews.
System-wise, the University of Maryland has a number of schools that collectively provide students with a multitude of choices to explore an additional area of environmental health or population-based health studies. The following are some examples, but not an exhaustive list:
|University of Maryland School of Nursing|
|NURS 769||Society, Health, and Social Justice|
|NURS 664||Critical Issues in Global Health|
|NURS 622||Systems and Population Health Care|
|NURS 671||Epidemiological Assessment Strategies|
|NURS 761||Populations at Risk in Community/Public Health|
|University of Maryland School of Medicine|
|SOM 611||Exposure, Risk, and Public Health|
|SOM 600||Principles of Epidemiology|
|University of Maryland, College Park|
|EPIB 610||Foundations of Epidemiology|
|EPIB 622||Social Determinants of Health|
|EPIB 623||Epidemiology of Health Disparities|
|EPIB 624||Genetics and Public Health|
|HLTH 606||Foundations of Public Health Education|
|HLTH 665||Health Behavior I|
|HLTH 670||Public Health Informatics and Communication|
|ENST 647||Advanced Biodiversity, Ecology, and Human Health|
|GEOG 600||Introduction to Human Geography|
|GEOG 614||Human Dimensions of Global Change|
|GEOG 635||Population and Environment|
|MIEH 600||Foundations in Environmental Health|
|MIEH 710||Major Environmental Pollutants|
|MIEH 740||Environmental Health Risk Assessment|
|MIEH 770||Law and Policy in Environmental Health|
|MIEH 773||Biological Contaminants in the Environment|
|University of Maryland, Baltimore County|
|GES 601||Introduction to Geography and Environmental Systems|
|GES 636||Global Environmental Issues|
Robyn Gilden, PhD, RN
Director, Environmental Health Certificate
Rebecca Shelley, PhD, RN
To enroll in the Certificate in Environmental Health, you must be a registered nurse with a bachelor's or higher degree or a current graduate student at UMSON.
To apply, please submit:
- Official transcripts for all prior higher education – undergraduate and graduate -- if applicable
- Two letters of recommendation. (Reference letters must come from a mentor, teacher, employer, fellow student, or professional colleague who can speak knowledgably about your potential to successfully complete this certificate program.)
- Current résumé or curriculum vitae
Mail additional materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, and CVs) to:
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Office of Student and Academic Services
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21201
What You'll Do
After earning your Certificate in Environmental Health, you’ll be prepared to:
- Assess common environmental health exposures in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.
- Apply the basic principles of toxicology to environmental health problems.
- Develop intervention strategies to reduce individual and community-wide exposures to potentially toxic exposures.
- Communicate about health risks associated with environmental exposures.
- Note the contribution that disproportionate environmental exposures can have on health disparities.
- Access credible scientific sources of information regarding the relationship between human health and the environment.
- Advocate for institutional, legislative, and regulatory policies that protect the environment and promote environmental health.
- Develop institutional strategies toward sustainability and environmental health.
- Identify the special vulnerabilities to environmental impacts that humans face through the life stages.
- Consider the role that biological monitoring and its resulting body burden data should have on environmental policies and practices.