Work Environment

Graduate Certificate Programs in Work Environment

The UMass Lowell Department of Work Environment offers graduate certificates in the following areas:

Graduate Certificate Application Form (pdf)

Disability Outcomes

Departments and programs participating in the certificate include Physical Therapy, Work Environment, Nursing, and Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology

Dr. Sean Collins, P.T., Sc.D., C.C.S.

In the prevention and management of chronic disability, this certificate is designed to augment the preparation of researchers and/or clinicians with an appreciation of the interactions among personal attributes, clinical disease features, and socioeconomic and working conditions. Students will examine the ‘state of art’ theoretical perspectives in disability outcomes. They will develop advanced knowledge and skills in their chosen areas of expertise, including disability evaluation; design and conduct of epidemiologic studies of disease outcomes and their risk factors; evaluation and control of relevant environmental factors that affect work and health outcomes; and development and analysis of strategies for the improvement of disease outcomes, based on public and private policy alternatives.

The certificate is designed for students with a background in engineering, public health, clinical services, community programs or psychology.  Through the program students complete a core of six credits in courses specifically oriented to Disability Outcomes and six additional elective credits (chosen with their advisor) in the participating departments (see below).

Required Courses: (3 credits each)

34.510   Models and Measurement in Disability
19.579  Disability Outcomes and Interventions

Elective Courses: (3 credits each - choose two courses)

19.575   Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics
19.638   Methods of Work Analysis 
19.542   Human Factors 
19.610   Exposure Assessment 
19.643   Healthy Work Organization 
32.604   Health Data Analysis
32.625   Health Policy
33.552   Social, Cultural and Policy Issues in Health Care
33.601   Research Utilization

Or other electives with approval of the Certificate Program Coordinator.

Environmental Risk Assessment

Department of Work Environment

Dr. David Kriebel 

Purpose: This program provides a solid introduction to the methods of risk assessment, with strong emphasis on their limitations and the policy context in which they currently are applied. A student who successfully completes the program of study will be able to critically read and evaluate risk assessments performed by others, as well as carry out original quantitative analyses of new problems. A student who becomes deeply interested in the field will be more than one quarter of the way to earning a master’s degree in Work Environment with a concentration in epidemiology.

Who Should Apply: Professionals working in environmental management, environmental health, occupational health, occupational safety, and food and drug safety, will find the program relevant to their work. Government regulatory agencies, consulting firms in the health and environmental field, and corporate risk management teams often produce or use risk assessments. Because of the advanced level of the program, students must bring to it a background of preparation in one of two areas: epidemiology and biostatistics or exposure assessment in either the occupational or environmental health fields. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and strong quantitative skills, including undergraduate mathematics through at least one semester of calculus.


1. Required courses for students with industrial hygiene or exposure assessment background:

19.575 Introductory Biostatistics and Epidemiology
19.576 Intermediate Biostatistics and Epidemiology
19.683 Risk Assessment
19.687 Quantitative Models in Environmental Health Assessment

2. Required courses for students with epidemiology or biostatistics background:

19.525 Introduction to Industrial Hygiene and Ergonomics
19.616 Exposure Assessment
19.683 Risk Assessment
19.687 Quantitative Models in for Environmental Health Assessment

Identification and Control of Ergonomic Hazards

Dr. Bryan Buchholz 

Purpose: The certificate will give an individual the ability to recognize and control ergonomic hazards in the work place. Injuries and illnesses such as low-back injuries, upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders, and workplace stress that are due to ergonomic hazards are prevalent and costly to industry. Ergonomic hazards are present in all industry sectors, including manufacturing, construction, shipping, and service industries. Many companies, especially those smaller in size, will not have an ergonomist on staff, though many will have someone with related responsibilities, such as an industrial hygienist, safety specialist, or occupational nurse. Upon earning the certificate, a student will be more than one-quarter of the way to earning a master’s degree in Work Environment with a concentration in ergonomics.

Who Should Apply: The program is designed for health and safety professionals (for example, a safety manager, safety engineer, industrial hygienist, occupational health nurse, occupational physician, or physical therapist) already working in industry. Most students will be working full-time in one of these positions. Most students will have bachelor’s degrees in engineering or biological sciences; some of them will have master’s degrees in these fields.


Required Courses:

*19.525 Introduction to Industrial Hygiene and Ergonomics
19.530 Ergonomics and Work

19.531 Occupational Biomechanics
19.638 Methods of Work Analysis

Elective Courses:

19.517 Physical Agents
19.540 Design for Injury Prevention
19.542 Human Factors

Job Stress and Healthy Job Redesign

Dr. Robert Karasek 

Purpose: The professional will learn to identify social and psychological job-related stressors and to devise strategies to reduce the work environment causes of these hazards thus reducing the escalating magnitude of these problems and improving organizational effectiveness. The program is, in part, a response to rapidly rising levels of Workmen’s Compensation cases with job stress components.

Who Should Apply: Personnel managers, occupational rehabilitation professionals, union representatives, occupational health professionals and other service and manufacturing professionals who need state-of-the-art understanding of the social and psychological causes of psychosocial stress hazards at work and solutions focused on reduced health risks and improved job productivity. Other candidates are graduate students at nearby universities who want to take advantage of this unique program at Lowell.

Program: This certificate program is offered in conjunction with the Psychology Department at Lowell. Four, three-credit courses, offered in the evenings or late afternoons, are required.

Three Required Courses:

19.542 Human Factors (Psychosocial Job Stress Hazards)

Either: 47.502 Work and Family Roles in Adulthood
-or- 19.500 Introduction to Work Environment

19.643 Healthy Work Organization Design

Plus one elective chosen from the following:

19.638 Methods in Work Analysis
19.654 Labor and Technology
47.502 Workplace Diversity
47.513 Helping Skills II (Group Dynamics)

Laboratory and Biosafety

Dr. Susan Woskie 978-934-3295

Purpose:  The MassBiotech Council counts 440 companies, universities and service organization on its membership roles.  Each Biotech organization must have an environmental health and safety office that covers biosafety, chemical, radiation and animal safety.  It is difficult for companies to find a biosafety professional with an American Biosafety Association (ABSA) certification since there are currently no graduate or undergraduate programs in biosafety in the United States.  The Laboratory & Biosafety Certificate introduces students to the fundamentals of biological safety as well as laboratory health and safety.  This certificate is designed to be offered online, providing and affordable, accessible, entree to the field.

Who Should Apply:  The biotech, biomedical and pharmaceutical sector is rapidly growing in the New England region.  The job of a biological safety officer is in many ways similar to that of an Environmental Safety and Health Office, or an Occupational/Industrial Hygienist.  It is concerned with protection of workers, and of the environment.  Certified biological safety professionals "must develop knowledge of the principles of epidemiology, disease transmission patters, risk-assessment management, disinfection and sterilization, disease, aerobiology and environmental control" (American Biological Safety Association).  All applicants for the graduate certificate must have a bachelor's degree in a life sciences discipline from an accredited institution and strong qualitative skills.  All applicants must have at least 9 credits of biology courses such as microbiology, cell biology, and/or molecular biology, biochemistry is also recommended.

Required Courses: (Three 3-credit courses)

19.515 Principles and Practices of Biological Safety
19.516 Laboratory Environmental Health and Safety
19.525 Recognition of Work Environmental Hazards:  Introduction to Occupational Hygiene and Ergonomics

Elective Courses:

19.573 Bioaerosols in Health and Biodefense
19.618 Risk Management and Training
19.575 Introduction of Biostatisitics and Epidemiology
36.613 Infectious Disease (online)
36.515 Clinical Virology and Serology Laboratory
36.511 Medical Bacteriology

Public Health Laboratory Sciences

Interdisciplinary program between the UMass Lowell departments of Clinical Laboratory & Nutritional Sciences, Community Health and Sustainability, Work Environment, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health Laboratories

Dr. Alease Bruce
Clinical Laboratory & Nutritional Sciences Department

This program will help to satisfy a critical and timely need for qualified public health laboratory scientists. Concern about bioterrorist attacks post 9/11, the threat of disease epidemics from natural disasters, such as the tsunami crisis and Hurricane Katrina, as well as pandemics, such as Avian flu, exemplify circumstances that require appropriately trained public health laboratory personnel.

Program Requirements 

Radiological Health Physics and General Work Environment Protection

Dr. Clayton French 

Purpose: This program provides advanced instruction about radiation and general work environment protections for professionals with health and safety responsibilities.

Who Should Apply: Graduate students majoring in either radiological sciences and protection or work environment are likely candidates for this program. Students should have a bachelor’s degree in a quantitative field and college courses in physics, chemistry, calculus and statistics. Many professionals in small to medium-sized industries have responsibility for health and safety with little or no formal instruction. Industries that use radioactive material or radiation and have no formal radiation protection or radiological health physics department often assign these responsibilities to employees who have more general work environment or safety responsibilities. It is also not uncommon for large industries that are licensed to possess and use radioactive material to assign general work environment responsibilities to the radiological health physics staff. Professionals with basic training in both general work environment and radiological health physics are particularly well-suited to work in small and medium-sized industries and to obtain top management positions responsible for all health and safety-related departments in large industries, government laboratories, and universities. The need for professionals in this field is projected to increase dramatically and continue for decades.


The program is a collaborative endeavor between the university’s Physics and Radiological Sciences Program and the Work Environment Program. No other college or university in New England offers this type of program.

This certificate requires 14 credits of course work earned by taking four courses.

Required Courses:

98.501 Radiation Safety and Control I 
98.502 Radiation Safety and Control II 
19.525 Introduction to Industrial Hygiene/Ergonomics

Elective Courses (choose 1):

19.517 Physical Hazards Evaluation and Control 
19.518 Engineering Controls and Protective Equipment 
19.540 Occupational Safety and Health Engineering 
19.625 Field Evaluations in Work Environments