What should my Doctorate be focused in?

My Bachelor’s degree is in industrial management and technology. I took a few safety classes as part on the program and loved it. I am now halfway in to my occupational safety and Health Master’s degree. This is where I am at a loss. I know I want a Doctorate, but I don’t know what field would compliment my previous academic career. Anybody have any ideas?

Don’t you have an academic advisor?? Talk to this person.


If you are asking a question like this on a site like this, pursuing a PhD may not be the best route.


Are you interested in teaching ? Or working for industry trade group setting or enforcing standards?

What do you think of a program like

Edited to add, have you worked a public health internship?

Why do you want a doctorate? Most people who get doctorates do so because they want to work in academia. There are very few areas outside of academia where a doctorate is useful.

Your area of focus should be the area you are most interested in researching. This is not advice you can get from other people.


Your passion to learn more about a particular subject should be the motivation driving you to get a PhD, not vice versa.


Why? Do you want to focus on research in your field? Have you ever done any type of research in your field? Do you know what research looks like in your field?

You do your doctorate in the field for which you have a passion, not some other field that “compliments” it. See my comment above.

Get a job that interests you, and build the life that you want.

A masters in occupational safety and health will provide you with the tools you need to find a large array of great jobs which are interesting and fulfilling. I cannot see how having a PhD will provide you with any additional benefits. It will not provide a higher salary, nor allow you to be promoted advance faster or further in most workplaces that engage occupational safety people.


My immediate reaction is that it would probably be a good idea to work for a year or two before pursuing a doctorate. At least to me “industrial management and technology” and “occupational safety and Health” are related, but are not quite the same thing. I think that some real world experience would be useful in either area.

Here are a couple of programs:
Occupational Safety and Health, Ph.D. < West Virginia University (wvu.edu)

industrial management and technology

Also consider earning some certifications:
Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Associate Safety Professional (ASP), Graduate Safety Professional (GSP), Occupational Hygiene & Safety Technician (OHST), Construction Health & Safety Technician (CHST) or Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)

Definitely waiting to hear why you want the PhD and what you intend to do with it. How many years of work experience do you have in your fields of study, or have you just been in school?

Your answers may change my response, but I agree with those before me saying to get a job based on your Bachelors and Masters and see what you want to study later.

I’m currently in a DBA program after getting a BA in Spanish in 93 and an MBA in 2000. I toyed with the idea of doing a PhD for years, but the cost/benefit never made sense based on what I’d do with it. I finally decided I want the ability to teach online for 4-year universities (I currently teach for the local CC with my MBA) and the doctorate became the price of entry. But until I needed it to do what I want, it made no sense to pay all that money (my program is one of the cheapest regionally accredited online programs around and it’s still going to cost a minimum of $36k.)

Waiting to hear your response to the questions. Then I’ll possibly reply more.


Program: Safety Sciences, PhD - Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Acalog ACMS™ (iup.edu)

PhD: Ergonomics and Safety | Department of Environmental Health | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

18 Doctorate Occupational Health & Safety courses in United States | IDP Global

PhD Environmental & Industrial Hygiene (uc.edu)

Environmental and Occupational Health PhD | USF Health

Industrial Engineering (PhD) Degree | UCF Orlando, FL

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