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Ph.D. in Safety Sciences

Contact Information

Any questions about the Safety Sciences Ph.D. program should be directed to Christopher Janicak, Ph.D., CSP, CEA, ARM (, the doctor degree program coordinator.

Program Overview

The Department of Safety Sciences offers a 54-credit distance education and summer workshop program of study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Safety Sciences.

Students are required to complete 24 credits through distance education courses, and 18 credits are completed in six one-week summer workshop courses. There are 12 hours of dissertation supervision. The summer workshop courses will be offered at IUP over three summers. The total time needed to complete the degree including dissertation is approximately three years.

The Ph.D. in Safety Sciences is based upon a cohort model in which a group of students is admitted into the degree program and progresses through an established series of courses. The online classes have weekly required chat sessions that typically run from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern time. The required online chat sessions are used to supplement the course requirements. They do not count as credit hour contact time, as one would find in an in-person course.

Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2015 Cohort.​

    2013 Cohort Schedule

    Spring (Jan-May)

    Summer (July)

    Fall (Aug-Dec)



    IUP Workshop:
    SAFE 800
    SAFE 811

    Distance Education:
    SAFE 874
    SAFE 806


    Distance Education:
    SAFE 808
    SAFE 805

    IUP Workshop:
    SAFE 803
    SAFE 810

    Distance Education:
    SAFE 873
    SAFE 802


    Distance Education:
    SAFE 801
    SAFE 804

    IUP Workshop:
    SAFE 807
    SAFE 813

    SAFE 995


    SAFE 995

    SAFE 995

    SAFE 995

    Prior to the first summer session course, students will receive an orientation to IUP, the Department of Safety Sciences, library resources, and distance education. For the summer workshop courses, housing and meals are available to students through the university residence halls.

    Teaching Associate Positions

    The program will have two teaching associate positions available. A teaching associate will be required to teach two undergraduate safety sciences courses in both the Fall and Spring semesters. They are paid a salary for teaching and receive a tuition waiver for summer courses up to 9 credit hours. For more information, contact Dr. Janicak at

    Program Objectives

    After completing the Ph.D. Program in Safety Sciences, the student will be able to:

    1. Identify, recognize, evaluate, and control complex safety, health, and environmental hazards in the workplace.
    2. Conduct and publish independent research in the safety, health, and environmental field.
    3. Apply appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods to safety, health, and environmental problems, management systems, policy, and law.
    4. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge level of safety, health, and environmental management techniques.
    5. Effectively develop, implement, and evaluate a safety education curriculum

    Program Requirements

    The doctoral degree program will consist of coursework, a comprehensive written examination, an oral examination, and a dissertation defense.

    Required Courses (54 Credits)

    SAFE 800 Pedagogical Practices in Safety Education
    SAFE 801 Environmental Impact Assessment and Documentation
    SAFE 802 Safety Management Systems
    SAFE 803 Epidemiological Analysis in Safety Sciences
    SAFE 804 Legal Aspects of Safety Sciences
    SAFE 805 Strategies in Risk Control
    SAFE 806 Advanced Topics in Environmental Health and Safety
    SAFE 808 Curriculum Evaluation in Safety Sciences
    SAFE 813 Practicum in Safety Education
    SAFE 873 Disaster Preparedness
    SAFE 874 Fire Safety in Building Design
    SAFE 810 Applied Research I: Experimental Design
    SAFE 811 Applied Research II: Multivariate Statistics
    SAFE 807 Applied Research III: Doctoral Colloquium in Safety Sciences
    SAFE 995 Dissertation Supervision (12 cr)

    Written Comprehensive Examination

    Upon completion of their coursework, doctoral students will be required to arrange a written comprehensive exam with their major advisor. This pass/fail examination will encompass all coursework completed to that point in the degree and focus on subject areas expected to be explored by the student during his/her dissertation research.

    Oral Examination

    Students will be required to successfully complete an oral defense of their dissertation proposal before their dissertation committee. Upon successful completion of the proposal defense, a student may proceed toward fulfillment of the dissertation requirements.

    Dissertation Defense

    Upon the completion of the written dissertation, students must successfully complete an oral defense of their dissertation. The defense shall be completed before the student’s dissertation committee comprised of the committee chairperson and committee members.

    Admission Criteria

    It is expected that students entering the Ph.D. program in Safety Sciences will already have completed a master's degree in safety sciences, occupational safety, industrial hygiene, or other closely related discipline. A highly qualified applicant may enter the doctoral degree program with a baccalaureate degree. Such students must meet the Master of Science in Safety Sciences degree program admission requirements and complete the Master of Science in Safety Sciences degree requirements en route to the Ph.D.

    Students with a master’s degree in safety or a closely related field seeking admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Safety Sciences degree program must meet the following criteria:

    • A student must have earned a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
    • A student must have a master’s degree in safety sciences or a closely related field such as industrial hygiene, environmental health, or ergonomics.
    • Students not possessing a master’s degree in safety sciences or a closely related field but having a master’s degree in a technical field such as industrial engineering may be admitted to the program provided they can demonstrate they meet competency areas in math, chemistry, physics, safety management, industrial hygiene, fire safety, and ergonomics. The competency areas can be met through prior coursework, certifications, or taking additional coursework.
    • Applicants will also be required to demonstrate an ability to conduct independent research through a thesis, published research article, etc.
    • Applicants must have a minimum graduate grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)

    Additionally, the doctoral coordinator, after consulting with the department screening committee, will submit a recommendation regarding applicants to the School of Graduate Studies and Research. The following criteria are reviewed:

    1. All official college transcripts
    2. Three letters of recommendation
    3. Statement of goals
    4. Resume
    5. Official GRE scores (general test)
    6. Example of written work, e.g., thesis, articles, reports, etc

    International students must also meet Graduate Admissions requirements for international students. These requirements include:

    • Submission of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for applicants from people whose native language is not English. The minimum TOEFL score for admission to the program is 540.
    • Submit a Foreign Student Financial Statement. International students must document their ability to assume full responsibility for the cost of graduate education per Graduate School requirements.

    Please see application instructions. When applying, be sure to select the Summer 2015 Term.

    Any questions about the Safety Sciences Ph.D. program should be directed to Christopher Janicak, Ph.D., CSP, CEA, ARM (, the graduate coordinator.

    • Safety Sciences Department
    • Johnson Hall, Room 117
      1010 Oakland Avenue
      Indiana, PA 15705
    • Phone: 724-357-3017
    • Fax: 724-357-3992
    • Office Hours
    • Monday through Friday
    • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.