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.

Core Courses

The required core courses focus on foundational studies in the molecular basis of environmental disease and target organ toxicology, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology and risk assessment. Supporting requirements include statistics and professional ethics.

  • TOX 512 (4cr)             Target Organ Toxicology: Mol. Mech. Of Environ. Disease
  • TOX 530 (3cr)             Chemical Behavior in the Environment
  • TOX 513 (3cr)             Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment
  • TOX 699 (6cr total)    ST: Integrated Env. Chem. & Mol. Toxicology (1cr per term)
  • ST 511 (4cr)                Methods of Data Analysis
  • GRAD 520 (2cr)          Responsible Conduct of Research                                          

22 credits total                       


Students choose additional electives in consultation with their mentor and their thesis/dissertation committee to enhance and support their research, educational and professional goals. PhD programs (108 credits total) require at least 5 elective credits that can be chosen from any area of study meeting the student’s needs and interests. MS programs (45 credits total) require at least two additional courses in Toxicology (6 credits, see list below), and additional unrestricted electives (11 credits for the non-thesis or 8 credits for the thesis MS degrees). Supervised research credits comprise the remaining requirements for the programs of study.

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 535 (3cr)             Genes and Chemicals in Agriculture: Value and Risk
  • TOX 554 (4cr)             Genome Organization, Structure and Function
  • TOX 555 (3cr)             Ecotoxicology: Aquatic Systems
  • TOX 575 (3cr)             Advanced Xenobiotic Metabolism
  • 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 for M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees