Light and Health Research Center

Online Certificate Course in Light and Human Health

September 27, 2023 – November 15, 2023


The effect of light on human health and wellbeing is one of the most often discussed topics in lighting today, but also often one the least understood. With the COVID-19 pandemic, people have a heightened awareness of environmental factors that can positively, or negatively, affect their health.

Sleep disorders, for example, are on the rise, with more than 70 percent of adults reporting that they obtain insufficient sleep at night. Light is the main factor impacting a person’s sleep-wake cycle, telling the body when to go to sleep and when to wake up. People in modern society spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, often without enough light to stimulate the “circadian clock.” In the evening, the blue light from smartphones and computer screens makes the brain think it’s time to wake up, just as they are getting ready for bed, resulting in feeling tired and sluggish the next day.

The Light and Health Research Center’s Online Certificate Course in Light and Human Health will provide information on how to use the power of light to improve peoples’ health and wellbeing in schools, offices, hospitals, and homes.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the latest research on the effects of light on human health and wellbeing
  • Critically analyze information on light and human health
  • Develop lighting designs and select lighting systems that can positively impact health and wellbeing
  • Evaluate the effects of a lighting design on health and wellbeing
  • Calculate the impact of light from any light sources and light levels on the human circadian system
  • Understand the effects of light on target populations such as older adults, adolescents, school children, shift workers, and others
  • Understand the limitations of current lighting metrics (e.g., CCT, lux) in specifying light for the circadian system
  • In addition, lighting manufacturers will learn how to develop lighting fixtures and systems that can be used to positively impact health

Who Should Take the Course

The certificate course in light and human health is applicable to professionals from a range of backgrounds interested in learning the latest developments in light and health, including:

  • Lighting designers and specifiers
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Health care professionals
  • Facility managers and administrators
  • Lighting manufacturers
  • Lighting product developers and designers

Program Description and Schedule

The class’s eight, weekly online lecture, demonstration, and discussion sessions will meet for each Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM US Eastern Time over the 8-week course period. There will also be offline field exercises in which participants will engage to reinforce the concepts covered in the course, along with discussion and question and answer sessions where participants and presenters can share information and hold informal discussions. 

Prior to the beginning of the course, all participants in the US will be sent a Daysimeter—a device that measures circadian light—to wear for week as they go about their daily lives. They will also keep a log of their activities, sleep times, etc. This will be returned to the LHRC for analysis the first week of the course. Results will be shared (anonymously) and discussed during one of the online sessions. Each participant will receive an analysis of their own results. 

Date Session Presenter
Week 1 Live Online Session 1: Background research on light and health including circadian entrainment, sleep, alertness, and other areas M. Figueiro
Week 2 Live Online Session 2: The science of healthy lighting (lecture and demonstration) 
Introduction to field measurement exercise
M. Rea, R. Nagare
  Field measurement exercise – Participants conduct measurements in various applications and post results on discussion board.  
Week 3 Live Online Session 3: Discussion of Daysimeter data analysis from participants.
Blue light hazard.
Discussion of field measurement exercise results.
M. Rea, R. Nagare
Week 4 Live Online Session 4: Presentation of UL recommended practice for the measurement and application of light in support of circadian entrainment M. Rea
Week 5 Live Online Session 5: Bridging research on light and health to applications (part 1) M. Figueiro
Week 6 Live Online Session 6: Review of Healthy Lighting Website and Circadian Stimulus web-based calculator tool A. Thayer
  Field exercise: Participants use website tools in developing a lighting design and post results on the discussion board.  
Week 7 Live Online Session 7: Bridging research on light and health to applications (part 2) M. Figueiro
Week 8 Live Online Session 8: Review and discussion of participants lighting designs.
Final question and discussion session
M. Figueiro, M. Rea, A.Thayer, R. Nagare


The cost of this eight-week course is $1,200. A 20 percent discount is available to employees of LHRC partner organizations.

A deposit of 50 percent of the registration fee is required at the time of registration. The remainder of the fee is due one week prior to the start date.

Register for the course

About the Instructors

Mariana Figueiro, PhD, is among the world’s leading experts in the area of light and health, with a focus on bridging science to practical applications aimed at improving human quality of life. She has made a significant impact on this developing field and continues to actively expand her influence through translational research and teaching. She is the Director of the Light and Health Research Center and serves as Principal Investigator of various research projects at the Center. She regularly collaborates with lighting designers and manufacturers, through her work with the Center’s Light and Health Partners program. Dr. Figueiro previously served as the Director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Rohan Nagare, PhD, is a research scientist at the Light and Health Research Center. He holds a PhD in Architectural Sciences with a concentration in Lighting from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He currently works on a variety of health-related research projects at the Center including work on modeling of the human circadian system, the impact of light on circadian entrainment, as well as other related research.

Mark S. Rea, PhD, is a professor at the Light and Health Research Center and an expert in human vision, lighting engineering, human factors, photobiology, psychology, and light and health. He is the author of more than 100 scientific and technical articles related to vision, lighting engineering, and human factors and was the editor-in-chief of the 8th and 9th editions of the IESNA Lighting Handbook. His current research projects include the development of new metrics to improve the acceptance of energy-efficient lighting technologies, the study of the effects of light on circadian disruption, and research on reducing the market barriers to widespread use of energy-efficient lighting. Dr. Rea has conducted groundbreaking research in the areas of human visual performance, visual efficacy at nighttime light levels, and light and human health.

Allison Thayer MS, is a research specialist at the Light and Health Research Center and works on laboratory research, field studies, and design applications. Among these field studies, she has led a project for designing lighting for special education classrooms to promote circadian entrainment as well as provide controllable lighting for the teachers. Ms. Thayer has also created circadian-effective lighting devices, including a do-it-yourself circadian light for people working from home.

Continuing Education Credits

Participants will earn 16 continuing education units (CEUs) for attending the Online Certificate Course in Light and Health and will receive a Certificate in Light and Health from the Light and Health Research Center.

Request More Information

If you have any questions, or would like to receive additional information about the Light and Health Research Center’s Online Certificate Course in Light and Human Health, please contact Dan Frering.


The Online Certificate Course in Light and Human Health is sponsored by members of the Light and Health Research Center’s Light and Health Partners program.