EEH Program Description

Thanks for your interest in the Ecotoxicology & Environmental Health program. As one of seven available concentrations in the two-year residential Master of Environmental Management (MEM) program, EEH focuses on understanding how pollutants affect the health of people and ecosystems.


We endeavor to give EEH students:

  • A solid foundation in the principles underlying pollutant fate and transport, environmental exposures, and impacts on human and ecological health.
  • The knowledge and skills to understand the concepts and methodologies used in the fields of toxicology, environmental chemistry, risk assessment, and ecology.
  • Training in state-of-the-art approaches for evaluating specific cases of environmental contamination, and for making management decisions using quantitative tools and approaches.
  • Oral and written skills to communicate scientific studies and management outcomes to a wide audience, especially at the interface of science, policy, and the public.


This program stresses risk assessment frameworks relevant to actions and processes that affect human and environmental health, while providing a scientific approach to environmental management. Students develop a knowledge base in environmental exposures, contaminant chemistry, toxicology, and the effects of contaminants on ecosystems and human health. Core courses introduce students to common molecular and analytical tools used in environmental toxicology, chemistry and epidemiology to help students understand mechanisms of toxicity and contaminant fate, which are the foundation of environmental risk assessments.

EEH students receive in-depth training in: 

• Ecological and human risk assessment
• Environmental exposure assessment
• Predicting pollutant fate and transport
• Understanding toxic modes of action
• Environmental epidemiology and health 
• Molecular and analytical tools for environmental health research 


The MEM degree requires a minimum of 48 credit hours and is usually completed in four semesters. A typical EEH curriculum consists of the following components:

  • Four courses/tutorials required for all MEM students (6-8 credit hours)
  • Four core courses (12 credit hours minimum)
  • Two courses within a chosen area of specialization (6 credit hours minimum)
  • One statistics course (3 credit hours minimum)
  • One social science course (3 credit hours minimum)
  • One tools course in a quantitative focal area (3 credit hours minimum)
  • Master’s Project (4-6 credit hours; not required in research track)
  • Additional electives to meet the 48-credit hour minimum for degree completion

See EEH Prerequisites & Course Requirements for course examples and specific requirements.


Students choose from one of two tracks, depending on their interests and career goals. The Integrated Science and Management Track is the default track and focuses on coursework. The Research Track gives students the opportunity to work with a faculty sponsor to gain in-depth research training. 


Students take at least two additional courses within their chosen area of specialization. Three areas of specialization are offered:

  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Health

See EEH Prerequisites & Course Requirements for details and guidance on choosing a track.

Educational Network

EEH students benefit from a strong and diverse network of educational resources.

At Duke, the Nicholas School shares research and programmatic overlap with Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Science, the Duke University Medical Center, Duke’s Global Health Institute, and the Pratt School of Engineering. Students also have access to resources at our sister universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

The program is also enhanced by connections with institutions within the Research Triangle Park, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Research Triangle Institute (RTI), and the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences.


Applications are accepted through early January of each year for fall enrollment. Spring enrollment is not offered at this time. See Application Materials & Requirements for further details and application materials.


If you’re still deciding whether EEH is right for you, feel free to get in touch. Check out our Faculty List to find someone who shares your interests, send your questions to our Program Chair, or contact the Admissions Office. We’re happy to help.

You can also see what our alumni are up to at our EEH Alumni Page