Careers in Toxicology


Toxicologists work mainly in industry and governments, but also at universities. Their tasks range from testing for the effects of particular chemicals, determining their concentrations, assessing risks by interpreting data, and searching for mechanisms of toxicity. There are many subspecialties such as Clinical Toxicology, Industrial Toxicology and Environmental Toxicology, offering opportunities for specialized employment. Toxicology is a major component in the pharmaceutical industry. The current need for toxicologists is outlined in a recent online Science publication.

Students who have graduated with a B.Sc. degree will often find it helpful and even necessary to continue studying, in the School of Graduate Studies, for a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree or Doctorate (Ph.D.) before choosing a professional career. Almost without exception, the well-trained toxicologist holds an M.Sc. or Ph.D. degree with three to six years of additional formal university education.

Another route into a career as a toxicologist is from other professions. Earning a degree in medicine (M.D.), veterinary medicine (D.V.M.) or pharmacy (B.Sc.Pharm.), or completing a combined M.D./Ph.D. program will often lead to a clinically oriented branch of Toxicology. A background in botany or zoology will help those pursuing Environmental Toxicology, but so might a background in chemistry or chemical engineering. Familiarity with methods of detection of toxic chemicals, and the pitfalls of such methods, will be an asset; however, the ability to detect or measure a foreign chemical is not by itself "toxicology".

Students who wish to focus is on the effects of toxicological agents on the human being at a graduate level may consider enrolling in the Collaborative Program in Biomedical Toxicology at the University of Toronto.

Students interested in Environmental Toxicology should consider enrolling in the Environmental Studies or Environment and Health Collaborative Programs: See

Minimum academic standards for the attainment of a Bachelor's Degree as published in the Calendar of the Faculty of Arts & Science are uniform for all programs of study. However, students intending to apply to the School of Graduate Studies in the University of Toronto after graduation will be confronted by high, competitive entrance requirements. It is advisable that students familiarize themselves with these requirements as early as possible, and that they organize their undergraduate studies accordingly.

More information on the Collaborative Program in Biomedical Toxicology Program may be obtained from the Graduate Office, Room 4207, Medical Sciences Building.