Environmental Toxicology PhD Programs

If you love biological sciences and want to learn more about how toxins affect the environment, an environmental toxicology PhD program might be the perfect way for you to find a job pursuing your passion for toxicology research.

Comparing Ph.D. Programs in Environmental Toxicology

Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology

In this 4-5 year program, students study how toxic agents affect human beings and their environment. Applicants typically need at least a bachelor's degree in toxicology or a related discipline (if not a master's), letters of recommendation, a GPA over 3.0, and demonstrated experience in scientific research. Some programs also require GRE test scores. Candidates take courses to learn about the stages of toxin actions like acute toxicity, carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, and organ toxicity. Students design and develop a unique research project under the supervision of their thesis advisor, an expert scientist in the field of toxicology. They perform research over three or four semesters and after completing this research, they must summarize their findings in a written thesis and defend their thesis before a panel of faculty members.

Ph.D. in Ecotoxicology

Students particularly interested in how toxicants affect populations, communities, and ecosystems can earn a specialization in ecotoxicology. In an ecotoxicology Ph.D. program, candidates learn scientific methods to evaluate the reach and impact of a toxin. In addition to academic coursework in ecotoxicology, students take statistics courses and learn how to use mathematical research tools like statistical models, statistical measure, distribution, tests of significance, analysis of variance, elementary experimental design and chi-squares. Candidates can apply these research tools to complete an independent research project. These programs last 4-5 years and have similar entrance requirements to environmental toxicology Ph.D. programs.

Ph.D. in Toxicology and Environmental Medicine

Environmental medicine is another popular specialization within a toxicology Ph.D. program. In this 4-5 year course, students focus on studying the chemical, physical and biological agents that affect people, animals and the environment. As in all toxicology Ph.D. programs, candidates learn techniques to perform risk evaluations of specific ecosystems or communities. An environmental medicine and toxicology program specifically focuses on the link between the environment and health. Students may choose to develop a specific research area including computational toxicology, molecular carcinogenesis, xenobiotic metabolism, systems toxicology, or animal models of human disease.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
PhD in Environmental Toxicology 4-5 years Bachelor's degree
GRE scores
Environmental Protection Inspector
PhD in Ecotoxicology4-5 yearsBachelor's degree
GRE scores
Research scientist
PhD in Toxicology and Environmental Medicine 4-5 years Bachelor's degree
GRE scores
Air pollution Analyst
Sanitation Engineer

Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology Career Paths


A Ph.D. in environmental toxicology establishes you as a fully-qualified toxicology research scientist and opens the door to a variety of professional career paths. Toxicologists research the potential risks of chemicals for human bodies, public health or ecosystems. They can work in a variety of fields, including testing the safety of new drugs for pharmaceutical companies, analyzing chemicals gathered at a crime scene for a criminal investigation unit, or performing risk assessments for the center of disease control.

Professor of Toxicology

If you enjoy learning and teaching about the fascinating behavior of chemical substances, you may want to consider a career as a post-secondary toxicology teacher. Professors of toxicology must have a Ph.D. to be considered for tenure track teaching positions. They work in universities and split their time between teaching the next generation of toxicology researchers and conducting their research projects.

Research Scientist

If you enjoy lab work and want to explore the future of environmental toxicology, you might want to consider becoming a biological research scientist. A Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology prepares you with the research skills and professional qualifications to work in toxicology research labs. You could obtain a grant to develop your Ph.D. thesis project or work for a public research facility.

Forensic Toxicologist

A forensic scientist analyzes chemicals and other agents found in a crime scene. They use their expert knowledge of chemical toxins and drugs to aid law enforcement agents. By becoming expert toxicologists and researchers, Ph.D. graduates are prepared for this career that uses scientific research to help solve mysteries.

Careers with an online MBA Average Salary (2019)* Job Outlook (2018-28)**
Toxicologist $83,955 8% (for medical scientist)
Professor$87,486 11% (for post secondary teachers)
Research Scientist $83,273 8% (for medical scientist)
Forensic Toxicologist$66,36114% (for forensic science technicians)

Source: *www.payscale.com, **www.bls.org

A Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology is a demanding program that involves both academic coursework and an independent research project. Graduates have a variety of opportunities to apply their research skills and toxicology knowledge in both professional and academic contexts.