Doctoral (PhD) Degree in Toxicology

The PhD program is designed to train students to become independent scholars capable of conducting unsupervised and original research.  Students benefit from the cohesiveness of the program structure (weekly seminar, journal club, faculty-student and student-student interactions etc) and from the interdisciplinary nature of the program. Doctoral students elect  either the General Toxicology, Environmental Toxicology, or Molecular and Cellular Toxicology Concentration.  PhD students are awarded traineeships/assistantship through various sources, including an NIEHS training grant on “Molecular Pathways to Pathogenesis in Toxicology” and Research Assistantships. Students are provided a generous stipend and participate in the Graduate Student Support Plan which covers tuition, fees, and health insurance.  During their first semester, PhD students participate in three laboratory rotations (5 weeks each). These rotations allow students to learn new skills and experimental approaches and to become involved early on in the process of scientific inquiry.  On the basis of these rotations, students select a research area and major faculty advisor for dissertation research.

Students enroll in a core curriculum and additional courses as determined by his/her advisory committee.  Graduate students majoring in Toxicology must have an adequate background in biological and physical sciences or make up such deficiencies as may exist upon recommendation of the Director of Graduate Programs and/or the Graduate Student’s Advisory Committee. The chairperson or co-chairperson of the student’s committee must be a member or associate member of  the Toxicology Faculty. It is strongly recommended that at least one of the committee members be from a department other than Toxicology. The student’s Advisory Committee shall have responsibility for delineation of a program of study which includes the minimum specified courses and such additional courses as needed to provide background and direction of each individual student. Students must pass both a written and oral preliminary exam prior to advancing to PhD candidacy.  A doctoral dissertation presenting the student’s original research is written and defended in a final oral examination.

Core course requirements for all Ph.D. students
TOX 701 Fundamentals of Toxicology (3 credits)
TOX 710 Molecular & Biochemical Toxicology (3 credits)
TOX 715 Environmental Toxicolgy (3 credits)
TOX 801(b) Toxicology Seminar (1 credit/Semester)
TOX 820 Responsible Conduct of Research(1 credit)
Tox 820 Lab Rotation (1 credit)
ST 511(a) Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences (3 credits)
GN 701 Molecular Genetics  (3 credits)
CBS 770 Cell Biology (3 credits)
GN 820 Professional Development (1 credit)
  1. Another graduate-level statistics course can be substituted with approval of the student’s committee
  2. Enrollment is required for each semester registered while in Doctoral Program (6 credits minimum)
Research requirements for all Ph.D. students
TOX 895 Doctoral Dissertation Research (6 credits minimum)
TOX 896 Summer Dissertation Research (as needed)
TOX 899 Doctoral Thesis Preparation (as needed)
Additional requirements for General Toxicology Concentration
Electives 6 credits relevant to the student’s area of research must be selected
Additional requirements for Environmental Toxicology Concentration
Electives 6 credits related to Environmental Toxicology must be selected
Additional requirements for Molecular & Cellular Toxicology Concentration
Electives 6 credits related to Molecular and Cellular Toxicology must be selected

Normally a total of 72 credit hours is required, with the majority of these credits being dissertation research. See the Toxicology Graduate Student 2020-2021 Handbook for specific credit hour and residency requirements.

Requirements for a MINOR in TOXICOLOGY

Graduate students whose major field of study is in a subject other than Toxicology are welcome to take courses and to earn a minor in Toxicology. The minor in Toxicology is designed to provide a foundation of knowledge in the field and the official designation of a Toxicology Minor provides documentation of your efforts and achievement. For Masters Degree Students, TOX 701 and either TOX 710 or TOX 715 are required. TOX 701, TOX 710, TOX 715 and TOX 801 are required for Ph.D. students. An approved toxicology elective course with a similar number of credit hours may substitute for one of the required courses listed above for the Ph.D. Ph.D. students who minor in Environmental Toxicology are required to take TOX 701 and TOX 715, TOX 801 and 3 credits of additional Toxicology electives. One faculty member of the Toxicology program must be on the student’s Advisory Committee to represent the minor.