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Occupational Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health Ph.D. degree is to educate and train, to the highest level of competency in teaching and research, men and women as occupational safety and health professionals for industry, government and academia. The program helps students develop competencies to perform independent research in the application of scientific principles to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, control and manage occupational and environmental hazards to working populations.

Career Profile

The profession of occupational safety and health is very broad but is generally recognized to consist of three disciplines broadly defined as ergonomics, industrial hygiene, and safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Ph.D. major allows students to focus their study in any one of these areas or to study more broadly in more than one area. Graduates are able to:

  1. Construct, manage, and evaluate a comprehensive safety and health program for large industry or government agencies.
  2. Participate in the safety and health regulatory process as an individual or part of a corporation or university.
  3. Critically evaluate research conducted by other individuals or corporations in occupational safety and health.
  4. Provide excellent teaching at the University or corporate levels.
  5. Participate in activities such as conferences or seminars for continued professional improvement.
  6. Actively participate as a leader in the professional organizations that serve the occupational safety and health fields.
  7. Demonstrate the highest possible ethical standards in the field of occupational safety and health.

Program Application Requirements

Resume/CV, Statement of Purpose, 3 Letters of recommendation

Program Application Test Requirements


Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline

April 1

Spring Deadline

October 1

Summer Deadline


English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

Accreditation Information

WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Department is in the unique position of having two complimentary graduate programs in occupational health and safety accredited by the ABET, Inc./ASAC.

Faculty Profile

Dr. Kenneth Currie

Ken Currie, P.E., Ph.D., is Professor & Chair of the Industrial & Management Systems Engineering Department within the Statler College of Engineering at West Virginia University. Prior to July 2014, Currie was Director of the Center for Manufacturing Research (CMR) at Tennessee Technological University, an Accomplished Center of Excellence within the State of Tennessee. He has taught numerous courses during his thirty-year academic career including Design for Manufacturability, Facilities Design, and Industrial Simulation. Prior to pursuing an academic career, Currie also held positions as an industrial engineer at ALCOA Warrick Operations and Honeywell Solid State Electronics Division. Dr. Currie has been an active researcher, serving as either Principal or Co-Principal Investigator of over $9 million in externally funded research with a client list that includes the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Lennox Heating & Air Conditioning, Saturn Corporation, Northrop Grumman, (ESSD), The Aerostructures Corporation, and several other smaller industries. Currie has also served as Associate Director of the DOE-funded Industrial Assessment Center at Tennessee Tech University, which offers energy assessments to small & medium-sized industrial clients at no cost to the industry. He has attained the following energy and energy management certifications; (1) Certified Practitioner of Energy Management Systems, Industrial; (2) Certified Practitioner for Superior Energy Performance Verification, Industrial; and (3) Qualified Specialist in AirMaster+ for compressed air systems.

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