Toxicology is the study of how humans, as complex heterogeneous biological systems, respond and adapt to their environment. A transdisciplinary approach is required to understand the role of the environment in injury and disease, and to shape future technologies and policy for monitoring and protecting human health. Besides incorporating modern genomics, informatics, and systems thinking, students will learn basic public health tools, such as communications, epidemiology and biostatistics.

The program involves one year of intensive coursework that culminates in completion of the preliminary written and oral exams. The students begin dissertation research by the beginning of the second year and will be expected to graduate within four years of entering the program.

There is a multi-tiered mentoring system. Students will have three mentors: 1. An academic mentor, assigned upon entry to the program, who guides the student through course work and academic benchmarks, such as preliminary exams. 2. A research adviser in whose laboratory the student works and who guides their research. 3. A professional mentor who is working in a toxicologically-related profession who keeps the student in touch with real world issues.

The required coursework for the Environmental Toxicology PhD program represents the minimum requirements for all students enrolled in the graduate program.

The following are required courses for the doctoral program in Toxicology:

  • PubH 6112 –Environmental Health Risk Assessment: Application to Human Health Risks from Exposure to Chemicals (2 cr)
  • PubH 6320 – Fundamentals of Epidemiology (3 cr)
  • PubH 6742 – Ethics in Public Health Research and Policy (1 cr)
  • PubH 6414 – Biostatistical Methods I (3 cr)
  • PubH 8163 – Toxicology – (5 cr)
  • PubH 8164 – Toxicological Analysis – (3 cr)
  • PubH 8165 – Current Topics in Toxicology – 2 semesters (1 cr each)
  • PubH 8166 – Experiences in Toxicological Research (3 cr)
  • PubH 8888 – Doctoral Thesis (24 cr)
  • Minimum of six credits of electives

Possible Electives include:

  • PubH 6161 – Regulatory Toxicology (2 cr)
  • CSci 5980, Introduction to Computing in Biology (3 cr)
  • CSCI 5461 – Functional Genomics, Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (3 cr)
  • BioC 5361 – Microbial Genomics and Bioinformatics (3 cr)
  • Grad 8101 – Teaching in Higher Education (3 cr)
  • Grad 8102 – Practicum for Future Faculty (1 cr)
  • If the student has not had physiology as part of their undergraduate courses: Physiology – Phsl 5601 (3 cr) & 5602 (2 cr) or Phsl 5061 (4 cr)

Students interested in research projects requiring intensive biostatistical and/or epidemiological methods can substitute PubH 6450 Biostatistics 1 (4 cr) and PubH 6341 Epidemiological Methods I (3 cr) for PubH 6414 and PubH 6320, respectively.

Students are expected to attend the Environmental Toxicology seminar (Current Topics in Toxicology). They are also expected to participate in a weekly/monthly journal club and the annual graduate student research colloquium, which is typically held in conjunction with the meetings of the Northland Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology.

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