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Work Environment Graduate Programs

Work Environment Graduate Programs

The occupational safety specialist and ergonomist is concerned with identifying and preventing potential hazards, whether physical, biomechanical, or psychosocial. They learn how these hazards affect the body and how appropriate re-design can produce a safe, health-promoting work environment. This training is offered as a specialization within the Industrial Engineering program (Department of Mechanical Engineering) or within the Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology (BMEBT) graduate degrees.

The occupational epidemiologist knows how to analyze data on injury and illness in relation to working conditions. They learn how to use surveillance data appropriately to assess risk and prioritize interventions and appreciates the importance of exposure assessment in order to characterize dose-response relationships and assess the effectiveness of interventions. This training is offered as a specialization within the Department of Public Health.

Students in both Work Environment areas take a common set of 3 courses. They will meet in extra-curricular events to network and to  collaborate in unpacking questions of public interest such as:

  • The health effects of prolonged sitting versus standing
  • Population stress related to the changing nature of work
  • The most common types of injuries in the Massachusetts public sector workforce
  • The role of burnout in the developmental capacity of healthcare workers
  • How occupational injuries may be related to opioid use and misuse
  • Whether working conditions influence personal "lifestyle" behaviors such as diet and exercise
  • Whether ergonomics is feasible for all types of workplaces
  • The norms and practices that affect Total Worker Health®
  • How working conditions relate to the transmission of COVID-19
A traineeship is available from the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to support some of the students in these programs.
Since the Work Environment program was first funded in 1990, more than 350 students have graduated from UMass Lowell with masters and doctoral degrees related to occupational health and safety. Graduates have become successful practitioners and researchers, prepared to design and promote systems of production that are environmentally sound, safe, healthy, and rewarding for workers and communities. Networking within this community will be a valuable opportunity for current trainees.

A traineeship from the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is available to support some students in the Work Environment graduate programs. 

Eligibility for NIOSH Traineeship Support: Matriculated full-time students in either Occupational Safety/Ergonomics (Industrial Engineering) or Occupational Epidemiology (Public Health) degree specialization must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident ("green card" holder). Interested students must first apply to the appropriate degree program and may then apply for a traineeship.

Traineeship Conditions: Follow the designated curriculum for the specialization, including a three-course core: Work Environment Policy & Practice, Ergonomics & Work, and Epidemiology & Biostatistics. Conduct a master's capstone project (OS/E in Engineering) or practicum (Occ Epi MPH) on a topic related to occupational health and safety.

Participate in extra-curricular learning opportunities, including work-in-progress seminars, career conversations, informal meetings with program faculty, etc. These will seek to support students to pool their methodological toolboxes to understand risks for the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, mental/emotional, and other body systems and how to prevent them.

Traineeship Support: Stipend, tuition, and fees (9 credits/semester) for up to 4 semesters. Limited travel support for professional conferences and other relevant events or training activities.

Tuition costs and other financial aid: Please visit UML Graduate Admissions for more information

Meet Our Students

  • Charles Smith
    Master's of Public Health

    Charles Smith is an MPH candidate in Epidemiology, UML Class of 2021.

  • Kayleen Buscemi
    Master's of Public Health

    Kayleen Buscemi is an MPH student in epidemiology with an interest in environmental epidemiology.

  • Ross Goding
    Master's of Public Health

    Ross Goding is an MPH student in Epidemiology with a focus in Occupational Epidemiology.