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The Industrial Hygiene Program Track

The USC School of Public Health’s Industrial Hygiene Program, founded in 1974, is one of fourteen accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The program is firmly committed to the education of students at the Masters and Doctoral levels.Industrial Hygiene Track 

Industrial hygiene is both an art and a science, relying on sound technical information, the good will of both labor and management, and the force of law to assure a safe workplace. The program at the University of South Carolina covers all these aspects of industria hygiene, including exposure assessment, contaminant control, respiratory protection, and ergonomics. The program gives students a well rounded understanding of the science and engineering underlying industrial hygiene practice so that, in addition to being able to understand the rationale underlying current practice, they are able to contribute to the field as their careers progress. 

Goals and Objectives 

The goal of the Industrial Hygiene Program is to improve the quality of the occupational environment by: 

  • training professionals in industrial hygiene; 
  • conducting relevant research on the causes and prevention of diseases and injuries related to occupation, and on the evaluation of the work environment; 
  • by direct service to workers, employeers, occupational health professionals, and the community.

Our principal educational objective is to provide our students with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of industrial hygiene —anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards in the occupational environment. We achieve this objective using a multidisciplinary faculty and a wide range of training methods. 

Student Research and Field Projects 

Thesis research projects for the MSPH degree are usually experimental and involve novel application of scientific principles to practical problems in industrial hygiene. As over 80% of these thesis projects have resulted in journal articles and/or presentations at technical meetings, their quality has been quite high. 

Student research has covered a very broad range of subjects, for example: development of methods for measuring volatile compound emissions to work room air; validation of air monitoring methods for aldehydes; a survey of the variability human rhodanese (the enzyme responsible for cyanide detoxification), and carbon adsorption of radioactive noble gases from humid air. 

Field practice projects for the MPH degree are supervised by practicing industrial hygienists in government or industry.  Details of the student’s accomplishments and experiences are presented orally and in writing. Some MSPH students elect to do both a thesis research project and a field practice project.

Board Certification (CIH/IHIT) 

The success of this curriculum in preparing students for certification by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene is shown by the large portion of graduates who are now Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) or have passed the core examination to obtain the Industrial Hygienist In Training designation (IHIT).

Training Grants and Fellowships 

This Department has competed successfully on a nation-wide basis for NIOSH training grants and for American Industrial Hygiene Foundation fellowships. Also, the USC program was one of fourteen programs in the United States approved for the education of Department of Energy Fellows in Industrial Hygiene. Such funds make continued program development possible as well as enabling the Department to offer tuition remission and stipends for most students.

USC Student Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association

The Student Section of the Carolinas Chapter of the AIHA organized by IH students in the Department is involved in academic, professional, and social activities. 


The basic curriculum provides a thorough background in the scientific, technical, and managerial aspects of the field. Elective courses cover specialized subject areas, such as health physics, toxicology, aerosol science, air pollution, hazardous waste, and ergonomics. Oral and written communication skills receive heavy emphasis in this curriculum. 

Industrial hygiene students may select advanced courses and research in health physics. Health physics provides the professional health expertise for protection of humans in the workplace and in the general environment and for minimizing the effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.


Columbia, SC 29208 • 803-777-7000 • enhsweb@mailbox.sc.edu