Expand mobile version menu
  Skip to main content


Program Description

Just the Facts

Toxicology. A program that focuses on the scientific study of poisons and other biohazards; their interactions with organisms and their food and respiratory systems; and their prevention, management, and counteraction. Includes instruction in toxicological biochemistry, toxic agents and transporters, toxin fate, toxicokinetics and metabolism, toxin classification, molecular toxic mechanisms, extracellular matrices and cell function, bacterial pathogenesis and mutagenesis, pathophysiology and apoptosis, cell stress and injury, studies of specific toxins, and studies of specific organ systems and physiological functions in relation to toxicological problems.

This program is available in these options:

  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

Check out related careers

Additional Information

One day, toxicology students may be able to increase the human lifespan and possibly cure diseases such as Alzheimer's or cancer. They study biology and chemistry to find out how chemicals in our environment affect the health of humans and animals.

In the U.S., there are only six universities that offer a bachelor's degree in toxicology. There are many more programs at the master's and PhD level.

"Depending on whether they have been undergraduate or graduate students, they will have presented seminars, written essays, written and critiqued scientific papers, written theses and grant applications and presented scientific papers to their colleagues and faculty and at scientific meetings," says Maurice Hirst, a toxicology professor.

Jack Hinson, director of the division of toxicology at the University of Arkansas, says students with undergraduate degrees in both biology and chemistry find the most success at the graduate level. "Toxicology is a field that requires an excellent knowledge in both disciplines."

Hinson considers students serious applicants when they meet certain criteria.

"We consider four qualities to be important -- excellent undergraduate grades, high graduate record examination (GRE) scores, excellent recommendations from former college professors and previous experience working in a research laboratory," he says.

Christine Williams, a professor at Duke University, encourages a strong science and math background. "Hardly any school offers courses in toxicology or majors in toxicology at the undergraduate level," she says.

"So in high school, students should get a good science background, get great grades and great SAT scores so that they can get into a high-quality college or university."

Take biology, chemistry, physics and all the math you can find. English class is also important, since scientists need communication skills.

Join high school science clubs. Volunteering at hospitals or clinics, taking a first aid or CPR course, or participating in drug and alcohol awareness programs can also help high school students learn about toxicology.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Science Technicians

The Toxicology Data Network from the US National Library of Medicine

National Toxicology Program
Get the latest news

Making your Life Toxic-Free
Information from the World Wildlife Fund


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.