The occupational and environmental health sciences (OEHS) major prepares you to work in environmental health, occupational health, safety and industrial hygiene. As of 2022, the OEHS bachelor’s program is ranked No. 1 among the top 25 undergraduate programs in occupational health and safety by Best Health Degrees.
The goal of occupational and environmental health sciences is to control hazardous workplace and environmental exposures to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses that affect the health, performance and well-being of workers and the general public. Purdue’s OEHS program emphasizes hazardous exposure assessment, understanding the relationships between exposure and disease and using engineering controls to eliminate such hazards. Both the Purdue University bachelor’s and master’s programs are accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET. With a shortage of OEHS professionals, graduates of this program are in high demand.
Note: OEHS is not to be confused with occupational or physical therapy, which are healthcare professions that help patients perform daily living and working tasks or recover from functional problems. Occupational and physical therapists pursue master’s degrees in occupational or physical therapy.
What is Occupational and Environmental Health?
- Industrial hygienist
- Environmental health scientist
- Occupational and environmental specialist
- Occupational, environmental and safety specialist
- Occupational/environmental engineer
- Environmental risk assessor
- Health and safety officer
Potential Areas of Advanced Study
- Occupational health and safety
- Environmental health
- Industrial hygiene
- Environmental engineering
- Public health
- Occupational medicine – OEHS graduates meet all or most prerequisites for medical and pre-professional schools.
- Law school
Note: Students completing a BS in OEHS at Purdue may be able to finish an MS degree in OEHS at an accelerated pace.
- Participate in internships at a variety of companies and organizations.
- Work with Purdue faculty or the Environmental Health and Safety unit at Purdue on independent research projects.
- Participate in OSHA training, continuing education, conferences, and networking through partnerships with the Greater Lafayette Area Safety Council, Chicago Local Section of AIHA, and the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals.
- Meet and learn from your peers by joining the Student Environmental Health and Safety Association.
Educational Objectives, Student Enrollment and Graduation Data
Data on our undergraduate program’s educational objectives, student outcomes, student enrollment and graduation data can be found on our accreditation page.
“My advice is to be flexible in both your educational and social experiences. I came in as an engineering major, and now I’m interested in pursuing medicine, which is something I never would’ve thought of during my freshman year.”— Eileen
Hometown: Carmel, Indiana
Major: Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences
Why Purdue: I chose Purdue because it offers a challenging education and because it’s close to home!
Favorite Place at Purdue: My favorite place is the climbing wall at the CoRec. It’s a nice place to relax and workout after class.
Advice to an Incoming Freshman: My advice is to be flexible in both your educational and social experiences. You might come to Purdue knowing exactly what you want to do in the future and end up completely changing your mind. I came in as an engineering major, and now I’m interested in pursuing medicine, which is something I never would’ve thought of during my freshman year. Or you might pick up a new hobby – for me, it was climbing!
I’m currently involved in research, and I serve as the vice president internal of Purdue’s Asian Student Union Board.