Graduate training in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology (EMT) provides the necessary knowledge, skills, encouragement, and guidance to assist our students in the successful achievement of their educational and early career professional goals. EMT offers a highly collegial and exceptionally collaborative, research and training environment dedicated to the success and advancement of all EMT students, faculty and staff. The program provides students with a fundamental understanding of the interdisciplinary science of toxicology, and prepares them for leadership positions in research and development, academia, government, or professional services.

Our integrated curriculum, combining both the biological and physical sciences, offers training and research opportunities in the fields of Molecular and Computational Toxicology, Environmental Chemistry, Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment in support of our state-of-the-art and internationally competitive research, outreach and education missions. Required core courses, advanced training in a specialized area, and interdisciplinary and team-based experiential learning and professional development opportunities together strengthen the student's training in the basic sciences and ensure a thorough knowledge of the applied science of toxicology. Degrees granted include both a thesis and non-thesis MS and the PhD.

PhD and MS course requirements allow for maximal flexibility for students to work with their mentors and thesis/dissertation committees to design an individualized program of study to meet the unique educational and career goals for each student. Students complete a required core series of fundamental classes, participate in a modular Integrated Environmental Chemistry and Molecular Toxicology seminar course each term, and complete additional elective coursework as described in their individual programs.

All students conduct research, and thesis MS and PhD students prepare a written thesis or dissertation and defend their accomplishments in a public seminar and final examination. PhD students in addition must complete the preliminary qualifying exam to advance to candidacy. Generally, the non-thesis MS will take 1-2 years, the thesis MS 2-3 years, and the PhD 4-5 years to complete.

A key component of our program is the mentoring partnership between the individual student and his or her major professor. Students develop an Individual Professional Development Plan that includes elements of experiential learning, outreach and professional development.

The EMT Department is committed to promoting and sustaining a collaborative, inclusive and caring community that strives for equity and equal opportunity for all faculty, staff and students. We recognize that diversity and excellence go hand-in-hand, enhancing our teaching, scholarship and outreach missions.

Graduate Program in Toxicology: Curriculum and Programs of Study

The graduate curriculum in Toxicology emphasizes individualized programs of study based on the student’s educational background and designed to meet the student’s training, educational and professional goals. Required experiential learning and professional development activities (Individualized Development Plans) ensure students are well trained in transferable skills necessary to meet the challenges of professional work in many fields.

    PhD MS Thesis MS non-Thesis
Courses Term(s) Credits
TOX530 Chemical Behavior in the Environment F 3 3 3
TOX 512 Target Organ Tox: Mol Mechanisms of Environment Disease W 4 4 4
TOX 513 Environ Tox and Risk Assessment Sp 3 3 3
TOX 599/699 Special Topics: Integrated Env Chem & Mol Tox  F/W/Sp 6 total
(1 per term)
3 total
(1 per term)
3 total
(1 per term)
TOX 557 Scientific Skills & Ethics Sp 3 3 3
ST 511 Methods of Data Analysis F/W 3 3 3
Core requirements subtotal   23 20 20
Elective courses (restricted to TOX courses) any - 6 6
Elective courses (unrestricted, minimum required) any 4 7-13 13-16
Didactic course subtotal   27 33-39 39-42
Thesis (TOX 503/603 for MS or PhD, respectively)   36-81 6-12  
Research in lieu of thesis (TOX 501, minimum requirement)   - - 3-6
Totals (minimum required)   108 45 45

Toxicology Electives

The following courses are available for students to develop additional expertise and understanding of the breadth and depth of the science of toxicology.

  • TOX 511 (3cr)             Fundamentals of Toxicology
  • TOX 529 (3cr)             Toxic Substances in Food
  • TOX 555 (3cr)             Ecotoxicology: Aquatic Systems
  • TOX 575 (3cr)             Advanced Xenobiotic Metabolism
  • TOX 580 (3cr)             Computational Toxicology and Risk Assessment
  • TOX 590 (3cr)             Environmental Forensic Chemistry
  • TOX 699 (3cr)             ST: Molecular Therapeutics
  • TOX 599 (3cr)             ST: Systems Biol. Approaches to Environ. Risk Analysis
Learning Outcomes: 

The graduate programs of the Department of Environmental & Molecular Toxicology (EMT) include thesis and non-thesis M.S. degrees and the Ph.D. degree in Toxicology. Our goal is to educate students in the toxicological sciences, in particular focused on development of the trans-disciplinary skill sets needed to address and understand the effects of chemicals and other agents on humans and the environment, and to create, disseminate and apply new knowledge to enhance the treatment and prevention of human disease and to ensure the protection of the environment and public health. Integrated educational experiences focused on issues relevant to the environmental health sciences are constructed from individualized biomedical and non-biomedical didactic training, combined with experiential learning opportunities.  Such an approach is complimented with both formal and informal opportunities for students in science communication and outreach activities. Our trans-disciplinary programs prepare students to better understand the broad and complex challenges in the environmental health sciences and position them for future careers in academic, industrial and environmental regulatory positions. 

As a result of successfully completing the requirements toward the Ph.D., students shall: (a) produce and defend an original significant contribution to knowledge, (b) demonstrate mastery of subject material, and (c) be able to conduct scholarly activities in an ethical manner.

As a result of successfully completing the requirements toward the M.S., students shall: (a) produce and defend an original significant contribution to knowledge, (b) demonstrate mastery of subject material, and (c) be able to conduct scholarly activities in an ethical manner.

These general program outcomes are further delineated with the following specific Student Learning Outcomes (SLO).

Outcome 1:  Substantive Knowledge in Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. Students will acquire substantive general knowledge of current understanding, emerging issues and trends within the fields of environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology and molecular toxicology. (Applies to non-thesis MS, thesis MS and PhD.)

Outcome 2: Analysis of Scientific Literature. Students will acquire the skills necessary to thoroughly research a discipline-specific topic within the published scientific literature, including: (A) the ability to identify important hypotheses, theories, controversies, and seminal works describing the current state-of-the science on a specific topic, and (B) critically analyze scientific methods, results and conclusions. (Applies to non-thesis MS, thesis MS and PhD.)

(C) In addition, students will be able to identify knowledge gaps and potential future research needed to advance a specific discipline. (Applies to PhD.)

Outcome 3: Communication Skills. Students will be able to clearly communicate scientific concepts, hypotheses, results and interpretations in both written (A) and oral (B) form. (Applies to non-thesis MS, thesis MS and PhD.)

Outcome 4: Capstone/Thesis Project. Students will demonstrate (A) the ability to design discipline-specific scientific research that if implemented would produce valid, tangible results. (Applies to non-thesis MS, thesis MS and PhD.)

Students will (B) complete independent, original, discipline-specific scientific research that produces valid, tangible results, and (C) accurately interpret the results from this research. (Applies to thesis MS and PhD.)

Students will (D) complete a high-quality thematic research paper (non-thesis). (Applies to non-thesis MS.)

Students will complete and successfully defend a high-quality (E) (Applies to thesis MS.) or publication-quality (F) (Applies to PhD.) thesis describing the research conducted by the student.

Outcome 5: Ethics and Responsible Conduct. Students will demonstrate high ethical and professional standards and responsible conduct in research, including fulfilling all requirements for human subjects, use of animals in research, conflict of interest, data processing, and data reporting. (A). (Applies to non-thesis MS, thesis MS and PhD.)

Master of Science (M.S.)
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology
Class Location: 
Corvallis Campus