M.Sc. Toxicology

University of Birmingham

Tuition fee: Visit Programme Website
Start date: September  2014, September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
More information: Go to university website

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We provide vocational training in the theoretical, clinical and laboratory aspects of toxicology. You will learn about the nature and mechanism of adverse effects of chemicals such as those found in industry, in the household, in agriculture, in medicine and those that occur naturally in the environment. We give particular emphasis to molecular and cellular mechanisms of toxicity and to risk assessment. These programmes act as conversion courses taking students at entry from a variety of backgrounds and giving them new skills to enable them to move into research and employment in a number of disciplines.


Toxicology relates to many aspects of our everyday activities, so a career in this field promises to provide a variety of opportunities aimed at improving the standard of life and the environment. Career opportunities are excellent, as even in times of economic hardship toxicology remains a necessary and important area for funding. Those completing the programme in recent years have been employed, for example, in the pharmaceutical industries, contract research laboratories, government bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive, Health Protection Agency, Food Standards Agency, NHS Poisons Units, water research establishments in pollution control, hospital and research laboratories.
Approximately 30% of our students choose to study for a PhD in a specialist area of toxicology before entering employment.

Key facts

Type of Course: Taught

Duration: MSc 1 year full-time; Diploma 9 months full-time

Start date: September 2012


The full-time MSc programme lasts 12 months and comprises four taught modules, a skills module, a synoptic module and a research project. Modules can be taken separately over a period of two years to accommodate students who might be released from their posts in industry for short periods, or those wishing to undertake part-time study for other reasons.
The taught modules (five or six weeks long) are as follows:

  • Metabolism and Excretion of Xenobiotics
  • Pharmacological, Forensic and Clinical Aspects of Toxicology
  • Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Toxicity and Carcinogenesis
  • Toxicology in Practice: Safety Assessment in Industry and the Environment

Generic and specific skills training is embedded throughout the taught modules, and during the year you will visit a number of external establishments involved with toxicology. The research project (12 weeks from May to August) takes place in a university, research institute, industry or a hospital environment. Many take place away from the University and/or Birmingham giving you the opportunity to experience other working environments.
The Diploma programme is identical to the MSc but omits the research project; the Certificate is awarded after completion of three modules.

Learning, teaching and assessment

The School of Biosciences is recognised internationally as a major centre for teaching and research in toxicology. We provide a lively, highly interactive teaching environment, with integrated teaching by well established centres of bioscience, pathology, clinical pharmacology and toxicology, occupational health and environmental and eco-toxicology. You will be taught through a combination of lectures, practical classes, workshops, tutorials and a research project all supported by directed reading and course work.
Most of the teaching takes place at the University but there are important contributions from external experts working in the pharmaceutical and other industries, contract research companies and government establishments as well as visits to external centres of toxicology. These external contacts are very important in relation to the provision of resources, specialist applied aspects of the training and future employment.
The taught component of the programme is assessed by a combination of examinations and coursework and the dissertation component is assessed by a written report and a short viva.

Skills gained

As well as specialist disciplinary knowledge, graduates of the MSc Toxicology programme will also acquire many transferable skills such as research methods, the ability to collate and interpret data, communication and interpersonal skills, which will all provide an appropriate grounding for employment or further study.


  • A good Honours degree in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Physiology or a related discipline.
  • Alternatively you may be qualified in Medicine or Veterinary Science.
  • Graduates without Honours but with at least two years' approved postgraduate experience, and non-graduates who hold diplomas or other qualifications may also be considered.

English language requirements

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.
  • TOEFL 580 Paper- based test / 237 Computer-based test.

English Language Requirements

CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

80 (Grade A)

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