I’m at university and wondering how to start a career in toxicology

The next steps that are right for you

Toxicology is a hugely varied industry, with a wide range of paths you can take once you’ve completed your degree. Gaining work experience, training, further education or just some advice, can all be valuable in finding out what kind of toxicologist you may want to be.

Choosing the right PhD

Graduates with a suitable undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in toxicology may choose to study for a research degree (PhD or MPhil) at one of the many universities and research establishments which specialise in toxicology and related fields of study (e.g. pharmacology, medicines safety, biochemistry or molecular biology).

Although a PhD is not essential for a successful career in toxicology, studying for PhD does allow you to develop lots of fundamental skills, such as how to plan and execute complicated experiments that test your hypotheses, and how to critically evaluate your own work and that of other scientists. These are skills that employers often look for when recruiting toxicologists.

Most of the time, PhD studentships are advertised with a small grant (called a stipend) which covers university fees, laboratory fees and provides a reasonable amount of money for your living costs. There are usually lots of applicants for each PhD studentship, so it’s worth making an effort with your application form – and consider asking someone independent to review and discuss it with you.  If you get invited to an interview it is important to read up on the subject of the PhD.  Be prepared to ask questions and to demonstrate your ability to suggest experiments.

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Where to find the right help

Whether your next step is a Masters or PhD, our industry courses database has a range of different opportunities to consider.

Or, if you’re looking to go straight into a toxicology job, you can find a number of new roles on our job vacancies page, here.

You can also visit the Nature and New Scientist sites to find new roles. Or visit jobs.ac.uk and search for toxicology careers.