Graduate Training in Occupational Safety & Ergonomics

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The NIOSH Training Project Grants (TPG) at Virginia Tech, housed in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, emphasizes three aspects of occupational safety and health (OSH) at the MS (thesis) and PhD levels: safety engineering, occupational ergonomics, and construction OSH. The former two aspects have been a concentration of the program for several years, while the latter emphasis was added to benefit from the growing collaboration between several academic and research units at Virginia Tech: Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE), the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and the Center for Innovation in Construction Safety and Health.

Our aims are to provide a high quality education to trainees, to have them conduct high quality basic and/or applied research, and to provide service to our profession, to industry, and to society. A key goal of our program is support the NIOSH goal of supplying qualified professionals who move on to careers that focus on occupational safety health, through both research and practice. The need for training in these areas is justified in several ways, though primarily by the continuing levels of occupational accidents, injuries and illnesses, substantial pre-doctoral interest, educational needs in contemporary OSH positions, and the national need for trained researchers and practitioners in these areas. Our program is characterized by a dual emphasis on breadth of trainee experience and the requirement for specialization, the latter emphasized by the need for a formal research project related to OSH.

A cohesive group of faculty support the program, with expertise from diverse areas of OSH. Training is achieved through a combination of formal coursework, faculty advising, research, and more general exposure through seminars and interdisciplinary interactions. Candidates for our program are MS or PhD students accepted within the Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics graduate concentration area within the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. Prospective trainees are also actively recruited through several means. Our program has been quite successful, based on the number of graduates, the high proportion of graduates continuing in the OSH field, faculty and student scholarly output, awards, and the continuing high number of applications received.

Example Courses

  • CEE 4064/5064:  Designing for Hazard Control in Construction
  • ISE 5605:  Human Factors in Systems Design
  • ISE 5614:  Human Physical Capabilities
  • ISE 5615:  Human Factors in Research Design
  • ISE 5674:  System Safety Analysis
  • ISE 5684:  Industrial Health and Hazard Control

Current and Former Trainee Grant Recipients

  • Kimberly Gausepohl (2009 - 12)
  • Leanna Horton (2009 - 12)
  • Marc Christian (2012 - 14)
  • Ralph Cullen (2012 - 14)
  • Kristine Cantin (2014 - 16)
  • Ari Goldberg (2014 - 16)
  • Alireza Sedighi (2016 - 17)
  • Sophia Ulman (2016 - 19)
  • Albert Moore (2018 - 19)