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Course content

Our part-time blended learning MSc Occupational Hygiene course will equip you with a wide range of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to work in areas related to occupational hygiene, culminating in an academic qualification accredited by the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene (FOH) within the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS).

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

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.

Emphasis is placed on the development of your critical appraisal skills and your capacity to lead an occupational health team at a senior management level.

The dissertation provides an opportunity to develop experience in applying these principles and research methods to a problem of particular interest to you.


The primary aim of the course is to deliver academic training in disciplines relevant to occupational hygiene. The course aims to provide you with:

  • an appreciation of the skills necessary to recognise, evaluate and control hazardous substances in the workplace, encompassing hazards such as chemical, physical (eg. noise, radiation), biological and ergonomic agents;
  • an introduction to the wide variety of aspects covered within the occupational hygiene discipline such as legislation, toxicological basis for standard setting, methods commonly used to evaluate hazardous agents, and related and overlapping health professions;
  • an academic qualification that is accredited by the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene (FOH) within the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS);
  • a good foundation on which to build and extend your knowledge of occupational hygiene during the changes and developments which lie in the years ahead.

The MSc aims to:

  • encourage critical evaluation of ideas and concepts in occupational hygiene and exploration of other philosophical and practical approaches to minimising ill health in the workplace;
  • develop powers of critical appraisal, analytical thinking and logical argument.

Teaching and learning

The course comprises a blend of specially commissioned written materials in electronic format (PDF), together with interactive teaching material, all delivered via the University's virtual learning environment, Blackboard.

In Year 1, you are required to attend in Manchester for a 1 day seminar associated with Module 1 in month 3, and the same for Module 2 in month 5 and for one exam day in month 10.

You are allocated to tutorial groups for Modules 4 to 8, each supported by a specialist in occupational hygiene. Tutorials are delivered via telephone or web conference.

In Year 2, you are required to attend in Manchester for a four-day practical course in Month 5 and for one exam day in Month 10.

In Year 3, you are required to attend a three-day MSc dissertation course held at the University in Month 1.

All examinations are held at the University.

Some components of the course are held jointly with students on our MSc Occupational Medicine course.

You can view  sample study materials  and  MSc abstracts and papers .

Coursework and assessment

All taught course units will be assessed via examinations held at the University at intervals throughout the course, and the third year will be assessed via submission of a dissertation.

Assessment is by eight examination papers, one per course module. The first will be taken at Seminar 1 (Year 1, Month 3) and the second at Seminar 2 (Year 1, Month 5). The remaining Year 1 assessments will be taken in Month 10. For Year 2, assessments will be held in Month 5 and 10.

If you wish to proceed to the MSc, you are also required to complete a third year, during which you will attend a mandatory three day residential course (in Month 1) and prepare a dissertation.

Course unit details


Module 1: Introduction to Hazards, Risks and the Working Environment

  • Occupational Health in Perspective
  • Introduction to Occupational Health Law
  • Historical Development of Occupational Health
  • Hazards and Risks
  • Introduction to Toxicology
  • Introduction to Occupational Hygiene
  • Introduction to Lighting
  • Introduction to Temperature and Work
  • Introduction to Noise and Vibration
  • Introduction to Hazardous Substances

Module 2: Occupational Ill Health

  • Occupational Dermatoses
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Occupational Cancers
  • Stress Disorders
  • Work-Related Infections
  • Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Health Assessment, Surveillance and Screening
  • Biological Monitoring

Module 3: Health and Workability

  • Workplace Assessment Skills
  • Advanced Occupational Health Law
  • Ergonomics
  • Shift Work and Daily Rhythms
  • Solvents
  • Plastics and Polymers
  • Pesticides
  • Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals 
  • Choosing a Research Topic and Literature Review
  • Developing the Research Question

Module 4: Hazardous Substances

  • Factors in Dust Exposure
  • Exposure in Manufacturing Processes
  • Air Sampling
  • Exposure Evaluation/Exposure Modelling
  • Sample Analysis
  • Occupational Exposure for Airborne Substances


Module 5: Understanding Physical Agents

  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Radiation
  • Compressed Air Work and Commercial Diving
  • Temperature and Work
  • Light and Vision

Module 6: Control of Workplace Hazards

  • Process Control Strategy
  • Ventilation
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Human Behaviours
  • Dermal Exposure

Module 7: Research Methods and Data Analysis

  • Epidemiology and Statistics
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Critical Appraisal
  • Social Research Methods
  • Information Technology

Module 8: Management of Workplace Hazards

  • Industry and Environment
  • Occupational Hygiene Practice
  • Food Hygiene
  • Prevention of Accidents
  • Principles of Toxicology
  • Global Aspects of Occupational Hygiene

Visit the Occupational Hygiene (MSc/PGDip/PGCert) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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