Safety Sciences, PhD

  • Close-up of equipment in a Safety Sciences lab

    EARN YOUR DOCTORATE WHILE WORKING — Online courses paired with six week-long summer workshops in our labs on campus, give you a comprehensive doctoral program that’s flexible enough to fit around your work schedule.

    A student checks a gauge

    How to apply:
    Please apply online

    Tuition rates:
    See the Bursar’s Office

    For more information:

    PhD in Safety Sciences
    Jan Wachter, ScD, MBA, CIH, CSP, CQE, CRE
    Phone: 724-357-3275

    Ralph Estep

    PhD Classes Give an Edge on the Job

    “All of the course work for the PhD in Safety Sciences degree at IUP is relevant to my profession. Two recent examples are the Fire Protection Design course and my Pedagogy course. I work with fire protection engineers and teach for my day job. Both classes have made me more competent.”

    Ralph Estep, student in Safety Sciences PhD Program

    Teach the Future Leaders in Safety Sciences

    IUP’s PhD in Safety Sciences gives you a chance to build your applied research skills while focusing on the safety problems that exist in the workplace today—without having to leave your job. It’s a way to transition from management to professor, from business to academia, and teach the next generation of safety sciences specialists. It’s an opportunity to be a part of a cohort of colleagues who will become an integral part of your network of professionals.

    Upon completing your doctorate program, you will be able to:

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

    PhD in Safety Sciences

    • The online PhD in Safety Sciences is designed for those who currently hold full-time positions.
    • 54-credit distance education and summer workshop program, including the dissertation, can be completed in three to seven years.
    • You are required to complete 24 credits through distance education courses and 18 credits through six one-week summer workshop courses, which are offered on the IUP campus over three summers.
    • Students will complete 12 credit hours of dissertation.
    • You will be required to arrange a written comprehensive exam with your major advisor.
    • You will complete an oral defense of your dissertation proposal before the dissertation committee.
    • Once you complete your written dissertation, you must then complete an oral defense of your dissertation.

    The PhD in Safety Sciences is based on a cohort model in which a group of students is admitted into the degree program and progresses through an established series of courses. We are accepting applications for the 2021 cohort. The 2019 cohort is full.

      Spring (Jan–May) Summer (July) Fall (Aug–Dec)
    2019   IUP Workshop
    SAFE 810
    SAFE 803
    Distance Ed
    SAFE 804
    SAFE 805
    2020 Distance Ed
    SAFE 806
    SAFE 802
    IUP Workshop
    SAFE 800
    SAFE 811
    Distance Ed
    SAFE 873
    SAFE 874
    2021 Distance Ed
    SAFE 801
    SAFE 808
    IUP Workshop
    SAFE 807
    SAFE 813
    SAFE 995
    2022 SAFE 995 SAFE 995 SAFE 995

    Summer 2019 Course Dates

    2017 Cohort

    SAFE 813 (July 15–19, 2019)
    SAFE 807 (July 22–26, 2019)

    2019 Cohort

    SAFE 803 (July 8–12, 2019)
    SAFE 810 (July 15–19, 2019)

    Admission Criteria

    It is expected that students entering the PhD 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 PhD.

    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.

    All international students admitted to this program will receive F-1 student visa immigration documents which will allow them to enter the US for on-campus workshops only. The remainder of the program will be completed outside the US. The Office of International Education will contact students once they are admitted to this program with more details.

    Teaching Associate Positions

    The program has 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 Jan Wachter at

    Graduate Assistantships

    A limited number of graduate assistantships, available within the department for qualified individuals, provide a stipend and tuition waiver. Interested students must complete an assistantship application, available from the IUP Graduate School, prior to March 1.

    International Students

    International student must meet graduate admissions requirements for international students, which include their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores and a financial statement.

    Computer Requirements

    Students must have access to a computer with an Internet connection. It is recommended the computer have the minimum technical specifications as outlined by IUP Distance Education. The majority of classes use “Blackboard Collaborate,” and the student must have a headset with microphone to participate.

    Questions? Contact the PhD in Safety Sciences Program Coordinator

    Jan Wachter, ScD, MBA, CIH, CSP
    137 Johnson Hall
    Indiana, PA 15705