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Master of Environmental Studies/Master of Public Health (MPH)

Program overview

This multidisciplinary approach, which ranges from air pollution and geographic mapping to addressing complex and ever-changing legal regulation expands the range of skills and knowledge that students are able to develop in the field of environmental health.

About the program

Students in this dual degree have the opportunity to earn both the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees in three years. The MES/MPH student is in residence at the Perelman School of Medicine for three semesters where they complete the minimum 10 credit units of PUBH pre-fix courses, including the core course curriculum. The MES/MPH student is then in residence at the School of Arts and Sciences for three semesters, where they take 9 course units of classes that qualify for the MES degree.

  • Of the 9 course units taken in the MES, the MPH will accept 4 course units at the graduate level, bringing the dual degree student to the minimum 14 course units required for the MPH degree
  • MES will accept 3 course units of PUBH courses to bring the student to the minimum 12 course units required for the MES degree
  • This reduces the typical residency for the two programs from 7 semesters to 6 and the total course units from 26 to 19

Course sequence

Students may start in either program thus two different suggested timelines are detailed below.

MES fall start

Semester Courses MES MPH
1
  • ENVS 601
  • ENVS 622
  • ENVS 624
3 course units  
2
  • PUBH 501
  • PUBH 502
  • PUBH 503
  • Elective 1
  4 course units
3
  • ENVS 541
  • ENVS 631
  • ENVS 616
3 course units  
4
  • PUBH 504
  • PUBH 506
  • Elective 2
  3 course units
5
  • PUBH 505
  • PUBH 508-1
  • Elective 3
  3 course units
6
  • GEOL 618
  • ENVS 632
  • ENVS 644
3 course units  
Total 9 course units 10 course units

MPH fall start

Semester Recommended Courses MES MPH
1
  • PUBH 501
  • PUBH 502
  • PUBH 503
  • Elective 1
  4 course units
2
  • ENVS 601
  • GEOL 618
  • ENVS 699
3 course units  
3
  • ENVS 541
  • ENVS 631
  • ENVS 624
3 course units  
4
  • PUBH 504
  • PUBH 506
  • Elective 2
  3 course units
5
  • PUBH 505
  • PUBH 508-2
  • Elective 3
  3 course units
6
  • ENVS 616
  • ENVS 622
  • ENVS 644
3 course units  
Total 9 course units 10 course units

Capstone requirement

At the beginning of the second year of the program, each student undertakes a capstone project—an independent, research exercise required for both programs. Students are not required to write two separate capstones, but instead may do research on the same topic and write a capstone on that topic with a health emphasis for the MPH program and an environmental emphasis for the MES program. Recent capstone titles include:

  • Quantitative Evaluation of Community Perceptions of Sanitation and Hygiene in Rural Guatemala
  • Mitigating the Impact of Urban Heat Island (UHI) Using Street Trees: A planning tool for the City of Philadelphia

Career opportunities

The ubiquity of environmental health and environmental justice issues across all parts of the public sector makes this area of study relevant for students who can pursue careers where they may demonstrate their expertise in environmental health and policy and its effects on public health. Career opportunities include working in community engagement as government officials or nonprofit leaders and may focus on air and/or water quality or a myriad of other environmental health concerns.

Alumni profile

Akudo Ejelonu (MES ’18/MPH ’17)

Akudo Ejelonu (MES ’18/MPH ’17)

For Akudo Ejelonu, the dual degree program provided opportunities to make connections between fields, professions, countries, and identities.

Read about Akudo in the article Putting Two and Two Together for a Dual Master’s Degree and in the article A Global Agent of Change.

How to apply

Students may apply to both programs simultaneously or may apply in the first year of either the MPH or MES program. When applying, the student should indicate on each separate application that they are applying to the MES/MPH dual degree program. Separate applications are submitted, and each program’s admission committee decides independently. Acceptance into one program of the dual degree does not guarantee acceptance into the other program. Once the student is admitted to both programs the dual degree program will be initiated.

See details about the MES application >
See details about the MPH Application >

Contact information

MES program:

Yvette Bordeaux, PhD, Director, Professional Masters Programs in Earth and Environmental Science
lps@sas.upenn.edu

MPH program:

Moriah Hall, MPH, Associate Director, Master of Public Health Program
moriahh@pennmedicine.upenn.edu
Visit the Master of Public Health website to get more details about the dual degree.

Master of Environmental Studies Virtual Café

Join us on the first Tuesday of every month for an online chat, hosted live from noon - 1 p.m.

Ready to apply?

See deadlines, review our application materials checklist, and get ready to apply.

Environmental justice on the ground with a Penn alumna and instructor

MES in the Community

Katera Moore (MES ’06) returns to Penn to teach best practices in partnering with local communities to foster meaningful participation.