I’m at school or college and interested in toxicology

What is toxicology?

The fundamental purpose of toxicology is to help avoid chemical injury, or manage the accidental exposure of humans and the environment. Toxicologists combine elements of many scientific disciplines and apply modern molecular, genetic, and analytical techniques to help us understand the harmful effects of chemicals on living organisms, and the extent to which they pose a risk to the health of humans and our ecosystem.

Essential skills

  • Knowledge of chemistry, pharmacology or molecular biology
  • Knowledge of physiology and biochemistry
  • Planning and executing complicated experiments
  • Critically evaluating your work and that of others

Choosing relevant subjects

Toxicology can be studied as part of many undergraduate degree courses, often in combination with other relevant subjects such as biochemistry or pharmacology. However, since toxicology incorporates many scientific disciplines, a degree in another relevant subject, such as chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, pharmacy, medicine, medical science, veterinary medicine or environmental sciences, can provide an excellent basis for a career as a toxicologist.

If you’re planning to study toxicology as an MSc, and are concerned that your choice of undergraduate degree course may be unsuitable, it would be worth discussing this with university admissions tutors, since they may be able to advise on the suitability of their course as a basis for further study in toxicology. It may also be helpful speak to admissions tutors for MSc Toxicology courses since they may be able to provide advice that helps you decide on a relevant first degree course.

Finding an apprenticeship

You can find out more about apprenticeship opportunities on our learning and courses page here.