MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

MSc Occupational Hygiene - Helen Pearson

"Manchester has a good reputation for this MSc and many of my peers have attended the course. It has a good structure and staff have been very supportive throughout.

"It is a great course for those who haven't done occupational hygiene before, as it starts with the basics. It is also great for those who have some experience, as it builds on the skills and knowledge you already have and covers new topics."

Helen Pearson / Consultant Occupational Hygienist

Our online blended learning MSc in Occupational Hygiene course will equip you with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to work occupational hygiene and occupational health, culminating in an academic qualification accredited by the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS).

In the taught component of the course, the emphasis is on acquiring a thorough understanding of the theoretical principles and research methodologies underpinning the topic covered by each unit.

The course gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge and develop experience in research methods applied to a problem of particular interest to you. In the dissertation component the emphasis is on developing your critical appraisal and analysis skills to demonstrate leadership and management of occupational health issues. Every student is allocated an experienced dissertation supervisor.

As a graduate of this course, you will have knowledge to recognise, evaluate and control hazards in the workplace, including chemical, physical and biological agents.

Certain aspects of the course also link closely to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (London) curriculum giving you a unique opportunity to interact with students studying to be occupational physicians and develop professional links as an occupational hygienist.


The course delivers academic knowledge and practical training in occupational and industrial hygiene and health, aiming to develop a practitioner with: 

  • core skills and knowledge to recognise, evaluate and control hazardous substances in the workplace, encompassing hazards such as chemical, physical (eg noise, radiation), biological and ergonomic agents;
  • knowledge of the scope covered within occupational hygiene such as legislation, toxicological basis for standard setting, methods commonly used to evaluate hazardous agents, and related and overlapping health profession roles in occupational hygiene.
  • an academic qualification that is accredited by the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS);
  • critical evaluation skills in occupational hygiene to prevent or minimise ill health in the workplace.

We will teach you the rudiments of research methods, critical appraisal and critical objectivity so that on a life-long basis you will apply your knowledge to assess for, and make, evidence based decisions.

Special features

Expert teaching

You will be taught by occupational health academics, Chartered Occupational Hygenists and various chartered and medically-qualified professionals working in the field of occupational health. Our tecaching emphasises real world occupational health and hygiene issues, current and emerging controls, leadership and management.

Flexible online blended learning

Most of the course content is delivered online, enabling you to fit study around other commitments. On campus activities are offered during your study and are held in Manchester, but attendance is not compulsory. For certain units there are face-to-face sessions, including our on-campus Occupational Hygiene practical course. You will be notified of key dates at the start of the course. 

Networking opportunities

You will have the opportunity to network and study with trainee occupational physicians, working closely with our MSc Occupational Medicine programme in some common areas of study.

Additional course information

Explore Public Health at The University of Manchester

The teaching and research academics on MSc Occupational Hygiene work closely with the British Occupational Hygiene Society and most are members of the Society. The link gives more information on career development, events and networking.

As a University of Manchester student you can join the BOHS free of charge. We recommend joining the Society as soon as you register to benefit from the extensive events and activities offered each year.

As a student of occupational hygiene you can also join the Society of Occupational Medicine which is open to health professionals working in occupational health. The teaching team are also members of this Society.

Teaching and learning

The online blended learning course comprises specially commissioned online materials, together with interactive teaching and learning methods, delivered on the University's virtual learning environment, Blackboard.

You will learn from experienced occupational hygienists, statisticians, environmental exposure experts and occupational physicians.

Course units include online live and recorded lectures or seminars and online tutorial time, providing an opportunity to explore concepts and approaches to problem solving in discussion with both the tutor and your peers.

A learning structure with a recommended pace is in place for each unit. All units are assessed through assignment/examination.

All our lectures, seminars and tutorials are delivered online. Our Practical Occupational Hygiene course is delivered on-campus in Manchester each Spring. This is optional but we strongly recommend attendance. Students find this course highly beneficial. It is included in your course fee. Travel costs associated with visiting campus are not included. 

Comments from our 2022 event:

“Excellent opportunity to connect with other health professionals. I’m a practical learner. I felt welcomed and included from the offset. A very enjoyable experience.”

“I found the practical session of the noise exposure measurement, thermal comfort and air sampling very real and useful. I also found the incorporation of statistics teaching at the workshop very helpful for my research. I was able to meet other students in the profession of occupational health.”

Once you are enrolled with us we will provide you with a timetable of our online welcome and seminar days, workshops, tutorials and assessment dates.

Discover more about The University of Manchester's online and blended learning here.

Coursework and assessment

Taught course units have a variety of assignments and examinations at intervals throughout the course.

Support is available from the course tutors alongside a comprehensive Reading List Online resource. You will have full student access to The University of Manchester Library, one of only five national research libraries with more than 4 million printed books, manuscripts and 50,000 unique electronic journals and 800,000 electronic books. With access to several hundred databases this is one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK.

Course unit details

Our content is over 90% focused on occupational and industrial hygiene and health covering exposure assessment and control for a wide range of health hazards to prevent a multitude of ill health effects.

You will study in-depth the occupationally-related disease impacts and the practical occupational hygiene assessment, management and leadership factors important in occupational hygiene control and occupational health management.

Students are required to complete the following for the award of:

  • MSc - you must complete 8 taught units (120 credits) and the Dissertation (60 credits) or 10 taught units (150 credits) and the Critical Review (30 credits) (Total 180 credits)
  • Postgraduate Diploma - you must complete 8 taught units (120 credits)
  • Postgraduate Certificate - you must complete 4 taught units (60 credits)

You can choose from a range of dissertation models to suit your work situation and interest. You will submit a proposal for review and discussion. When approved you are assigned an experienced dissertation supervisor.

PGDip and PGCert qualifications are available as exit awards only.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Occupational Exposure Control POPH60161 15 Mandatory
Occupational Exposure Assessment POPH63182 15 Mandatory
Research Methods and Data Analysis POPH68802 15 Mandatory
Understanding Physical Agents POPH68821 15 Mandatory
Health and Workability POPH68842 15 Mandatory
Fitness for Work (September) POPH68861 15 Mandatory
Foundation for Postgraduate Practice (September) POPH68881 15 Mandatory
Occupational Health Management POPH68892 15 Mandatory
Dissertation for Occupational Medicine and Occupational Hygiene POPH69000 60 Mandatory

Scholarships and bursaries

For the latest scholarship and bursary information please visit the fees and funding page.

Equity and Merit Scholarships are for academically excellent students who have the potential to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in their home countries.

The awards are intended for those who cannot afford to study in Manchester without a scholarship. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and all applications are considered on their merit. We particularly encourage women to apply. To apply for a scholarship for this programme under this scheme you must be looking to study a part-time, distance learning master’s (three to five years duration).

The MSc Occupational Hygiene can be studied part time with a 3 year study option. There are 30 scholarships (20 for full-time study and ten for online study) available each year for a range of courses in engineering, environment, health sciences, development, education, textiles and law.

The scheme is open to applicants from Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.


You will be able to access a range of facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

CPD opportunities

To search for CPD opportunities please visit our CPD page.