Individuals who are interested in fields like the environment and chemistry may be considering pursuing a graduate degree in environmental toxicology. Environmental toxicology is concerned with the study of how human activity affects the environment. There are a number of programs in this field that students could enroll in at the graduate level. We will look at some details concerning these programs below.
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Graduate Degrees in Environmental Toxicology
Graduate degrees in environmental toxicology are available as Master of Science degrees as well as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). degrees. Master's degree programs generally are comprised of around 30 credits, including a thesis, while Ph.D. students will typically need to complete an additional 30 credits on top of that. Generally, these programs require that students take some common core courses; then they're given more freedom in selecting relevant electives that interest them. Some common courses in these programs include the following:
Fundamentals/Introduction to Toxicology
Both Ph.D. and master's degree programs generally require that students take an introductory or fundamental course in toxicology. This course will expose students to the principles of toxicology, like how different types of poisons react, how various chemicals affect the environment, and toxicokinetics. Other topics this course may focus on include applied toxicology, pesticides, and various regulations that have to do with toxins and chemicals.
These programs also generally include a course in statistics. Students will cover principles of statistics, including statistical distributions and various methods of statistical analysis. They may apply these skills to real-life problems that exist within the world of environmental toxicology.
In this course, students will focus on the field of chemistry and study the ways in which chemistry works in the natural environment. They may focus on topics like acid-base equilibrium, chemical concentrations, and complex formation. They may also study various ecosystems in order to see the role that chemistry plays, like in the study of natural and treated waters.
Programs in environmental toxicology also often include a course in ecotoxicology. This course focuses on studying different types of ecosystems in detail in order to understand how various environmental and human factors affect them. Students will study the effects on the smallest organism up to the overall functioning of the ecosystem. This course may also include a portion in which students use different analysis models to study real-world problems in ecotoxicology.
Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology
In a course on this topic, students will focus specifically on the effect that chemicals and toxins can have on the reproduction of various organisms. This course provides students with an overview of the various developmental and reproductive processes of different plants and animals, including humans, to determine how they are affected by environmental toxins.
General Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees in Environmental Toxicology
It is very likely that admission requirements to graduate programs in environmental toxicology will vary by program. However, in general students can expect that they will need to submit proof of a bachelor's degree. While a specific major is not always required, students will typically be expected to complete a large amount of prerequisite coursework in the fields of chemistry, mathematics, and biology in order to adequately prepare themselves for the graduate work. Schools also often set minimum GPA requirements of around a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. These programs also usually require that students take and submit their GRE scores, along with undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement describing their career goals as well as current school plans.
In summary, graduate degrees in environmental toxicology are available to students at both the master's and doctoral level. Selecting between these degrees will likely depend on your career goals and how long you wish to stay in school.