The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors approved IUP’s Doctor of Philosophy in Safety Sciences program.
IUP’s program will be the first of its kind in the nation.
“IUP’s program is unique in that it is designed to be a very comprehensive offering, not just focused on one or two aspects of the safety curriculum and not focused on an engineering curriculum,” Chris Janicak, IUP Safety Sciences faculty member and coordinator of the Safety Sciences graduate program, said. “It also is unique in its delivery method.
“This program will help to fill the need for safety educators, which is growing throughout the nation.”
The most current workforce projections by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2008–2018 estimate that employment in occupational safety will increase by about 11 percent.
“A recent study by the American Society of Safety Engineers identified the lack of a doctorate in safety or a safety-related field as the number-one reason for safety programs not being able to fill faculty positions nationwide, including in the commonwealth,” Janicak said.
Plans call for IUP’s program to begin in summer 2013.
“We have a goal of twenty in the first cohort of the program, and we have already had strong interest over the last several years in the program. It will be structured to allow students to take course work both online and on campus during the summer months, much like our current master’s program. We want to allow full-time working professionals to complete the degree without leaving their current jobs.”
The program is designed to prepare safety professionals with advanced skills in the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and prevention of safety, health, and environmental hazards in the work environment.
Graduates from IUP’s doctoral program will be able to conduct independent research and understand state and federal policy that involves safety, health, and environmental issues, Janicak said. They will be knowledgeable about and involved in appropriate professional associations, and they will be able to teach safety, health, and environmental content to adult audiences in industry or education.
This is IUP’s eleventh doctoral program.
“The development of the doctoral program has been several years in the making, but we have been committed to creating the very best program and curriculum possible,” Janicak said. “It has taken a great deal of collaboration with the IUP School of Graduate Studies and Research, the dean of the College of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Office of the President.”
IUP currently offers both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Safety Sciences.
The bachelor’s degree is interdisciplinary, in that it offers course work in engineering, systems analysis, management, human relations, communications, and computer sciences, along with the specific areas of occupational safety and health. Students can also minor in Safety Sciences. The master’s degree program, which currently has about sixty students, also offers a broad base of course work.
More than 1,700 students have graduated from IUP’s program since its creation in 1973.