Environmental Health Certificate

Prepare to take on environmental health duties within a wide range of health care settings.

The relationship between human health and our environment, including air (indoor and out), water, food, and products is a vital part of nursing assessments. To meet this growing need, UMSON has developed the Certificate in Environmental Health for professional nurses. 

This certificate program will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the multi-disciplinary and multi-agency roles in environmental health as well as the critical role they play in protecting environmental and public health. It will prepare you to engage in environmental health activities within health care settings, including:

  • local and state health departments
  • regulatory agencies
  • non-profit/advocacy organizations.

This certificate is open to professional nurses who want to develop skills in the new and emerging field of environmental health.

How It Works

The 12-credit certificate program:

  • can be completed in three semesters
  • has classes starting either in the fall or spring

More Information

Plan of Study

Sample Plan of Study (12 Credits)

Semester Course # Course Credits
Fall NURS 730* Environmental Health I 3
Spring NURS 735 Applied Toxicology 3
Fall NURS 764 Advanced Environmental Health 3
Variable XXX** Environmental Health Elective 3
    Total Credits 12

*NURS 730 is offered in both the spring and fall semesters.

**A range of environmental health courses are available and noted in the Courses tab. This flexibility is built into the certificate to allow the student an opportunity to extensively explore a specific aspect of environmental health. This course selection must be approved by the program director. NOTE: Not all the options listed below are offered in a given semester or online, and the list is not exhaustive.


NURS 730 Environmental Health

This course explores the relationship between human health and the environment. Students learn the basic assessment techniques to determining risks in their personal lives and in the health care setting. They explore the nature of environmental justice, current environmental health policies, and have an opportunity to focus on an area of specific interest. Each student is responsible for a class presentation on their area of interest.

NURS 735 Applied Toxicology

This course was developed by nurses for nurses with an understanding that most nurses have not taken biochemistry. The course provides nurses with a basic understanding of the physiology of toxicological mechanisms. It also uses common exposures to examine toxicological data, assess risk, communicate about the risk, and consider how policies are determined in light of the risk data.

NURS 764 Advanced Environmental Health

This course introduces students to a more in-depth exploration of a number of environmental health issues including air pollution, heavy metals, pesticides, climate change, and agriculturally and food-related exposures and concerns. During the course of the semester the student is expected to prepare a paper on an environmental health topic of their choice for a nursing publication. This mentored process includes student peer-to-peer reviews.

Optional Course

System-wise, the University of Maryland has a number of schools that collectively provide students with a multitude of choices to explore an additional area of environmental health or population-based health studies. The following are some examples, but not an exhaustive list:

University of Maryland School of Nursing
NURS 769 Society, Health, and Social Justice
NURS 664 Critical Issues in Global Health
NURS 671 Epidemiological Assessment Strategies
NURS 761 Populations at Risk in Community/Public Health
NURS 780 Health Promotion and Population Health
NURS 795 Biostats
University of Maryland School of Medicine
SOM 611 Exposure, Risk, and Public Health
SOM 600 Principles of Epidemiology
University of Maryland, College Park
EPIB 610 Foundations of Epidemiology
EPIB 622  Social Determinants of Health
EPIB 623  Epidemiology of Health Disparities
EPIB 624  Genetics and Public Health
HLTH 606  Foundations of Public Health Education
HLTH 665  Health Behavior I
HLTH 670 Public Health Informatics and Communication
ENST 647  Advanced Biodiversity, Ecology, and Human Health
GEOG 600  Introduction to Human Geography
GEOG 614  Human Dimensions of Global Change 
GEOG 635  Population and Environment 
MIEH 600  Foundations in Environmental Health 
MIEH 710  Major Environmental Pollutants 
MIEH 740  Environmental Health Risk Assessment 
MIEH 770  Law and Policy in Environmental Health 
MIEH 773  Biological Contaminants in the Environment 
University of Maryland, Baltimore County  
GES 601  Introduction to Geography and Environmental Systems 
GES 636  Global Environmental Issues 

Admissions Requirements

In this section:

  • Deadlines
  • Qualifications
  • Application Materials
  • Applicants without a High School Diploma or College Degree in the U.S


  • fall enrollment: rolling admissions review begins Feb. 1
  • spring enrollment: rolling admissions review begins Sept. 1


To be eligible for the program, you must:

  • be a registered nurse
  • have a bachelor’s degree or be enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

If you’re a graduate student, you may complete the certificate concurrently with your other graduate studies.

Application Materials:


Submission Guidelines

Online Application and non-refundable $75 application fee.

Start your application now.

Essay. You may submit the essay portion with your online application. We recommend that you compose the essay portion using word processing software and copy and paste it into the text box in the online application.

Submit via online application, via email to admissions.nursing@umaryland.edu, or by mail.

Official transcripts. An official transcript from every institution previously attended or currently attending must be submitted in a sealed envelope, as prepared by the sending institution. Electronic transcripts from University System of Maryland institutions will be accepted in lieu of official, sealed transcripts.

Submit by mail to:
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Office of Student and Academic Services
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579

Typed résumé or CV. Be sure to include your full name with your submission.

Submit via email to:

One recommendation. Your recommendation must come from a mentor, teacher, employer, fellow student, or professional colleague who can speak knowledgeably about your potential to successfully complete the certificate program

Complete this form to generate a request to a recommender you identify. For all Spring 2019 and later applicants, a form and letter will be required.

Residency classification. Applicants who are claiming in-state (Maryland) residency MUST apply for in-state status. 

Complete a residency application and submit it using the instructions supplied on the application.

Applicants without a High School Diploma or College Degree in the U.S:

  • If you do not have a degree from a U.S. high school, college, or university, you are required to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • If you have completed coursework outside of the U.S., you must have your transcripts evaluated.

More information.

If you have questions regarding the admissions requirements or process, contact the Office of Admissions to avoid errors that could delay the processing of your application.


Robyn Gilden, PhD, RN
Director, Environmental Health Certificate
Assistant Professor

What You'll Do

After earning your Certificate in Environmental Health, you’ll be prepared to:

  • Assess common environmental health exposures in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.
  • Apply the basic principles of toxicology to environmental health problems.
  • Develop intervention strategies to reduce individual and community-wide exposures to potentially toxic exposures.
  • Communicate about health risks associated with environmental exposures.
  • Note the contribution that disproportionate environmental exposures can have on health disparities.
  • Access credible scientific sources of information regarding the relationship between human health and the environment.
  • Advocate for institutional, legislative, and regulatory policies that protect the environment and promote environmental health.
  • Develop institutional strategies toward sustainability and environmental health.
  • Identify the special vulnerabilities to environmental impacts that humans face through the life stages.
  • Consider the role that biological monitoring and its resulting body burden data should have on environmental policies and practices.