There are more than 100 000 chemicals on the European market. If you are interested in how chemicals may affect humans and wildlife and how chemical hazards and risks are identified, the specialisation in Environmental Toxicology within the Master Programme in Biology is the right one for you. For this specialisation we recommend good knowledge in chemistry and animal physiology.
Why this programme?
The specialisation in Environmental Toxicology covers the entire chain of the impact of chemicals on nature, from molecular and biochemical processes in living cells, via physiological effects on cells, organs and individuals to consequences at population and ecosystem levels. The courses have substantial applied aspects within fields such as risk assessment, environmental impact descriptions and the testing of chemicals. There are also elective courses available in Swedish.
After your Master's studies, you can either work as an environmental toxicologist in a company or in an authority at the governmental, county or municipal level. You may also continue with doctoral studies in toxicology or environmental toxicology.
During the programme you can expect to:
understand how chemicals may affect humans and wildlife and how chemical hazards and risks are identified
substantial applied aspects within risk assessment and testing of chemicals
covers the entire chain of the impact of chemicals on nature
For this specialisation we recommend that you start with a good knowledge of chemistry and animal physiology.
Student profile You have a broad interest in biology or a more narrowly focused interest in a specific sub-area. Either way, you are willing to take a lot of responsibility yourself to form your own educational experience from the very wide range of biology courses offered at Uppsala University.
Ideally, during your Bachelor's studies, you had the opportunity to work in a laboratory and do some field work as well as use statistics to analyse data from your work. Writing lab reports and shorter essays is something you already have experience doing.
A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you would value coming in close contact with current research and prominent researchers in this international field.
The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Biology as the main field of study.
The Master Programme in Biology, specialising in Environmental Toxicology, starts with the course Toxicology D, but students who already have a strong background in toxicology may instead choose Limnology D or Ecology D. With the aim to provide a deeper understanding of toxicological sciences, the course in toxicology will integrate theoretical knowledge with hands on experience of different toxicological methods and concepts. The course covers a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from effects on a cellular level, through specific organ toxicity to the subsequent application in risk assessment of chemicals.
The next course, Ecotoxicology, deals with chemicals in the environment - for example their origin, fate, distribution and effects. Within this course, short projects focusing on current ecotoxicological problems will give you an idea about the job assignments of professional ecotoxicologists, for example, environmental risk assessment.
During the first period of the spring semester, Swedish students have the opportunity to take the course Miljö- och förvaltningsrätt för naturvetare, included in this specialisation as there is a need of this competence when working with risk assessment and management. Students who want a deeper molecular and physiological understanding and those aiming for PhD studies are advised to take a course within the areas molecular biology, developmental biology, neuroscience or immunology.
The final course of the second semester, Toxicology and Risk Assessment, deepens your knowledge in toxicology and give practical experience in human health risk assessment. This kind of competence is requested if you plan to work in authorities or in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
During the second year, you can study one or two regular courses, or combine a research training course with a degree project of 30 or 45 credits. This allows you to prepare well for an academic career as well as a career outside academia.
Biology instruction at Uppsala University is done in close connection to current research. All teachers for the individual courses in the Master Programme in Biology are active scientists, ensuring that you will get an education that reaches to the absolute forefront of the respective field.
The courses provide factual knowledge and practical training in the form of laboratory work and field trips, as well as the ability to solve problems, think analytically and work scientifically. Communication training is integrated in all courses of the programme.
The Master Programme in Biology has a strong international character, and all courses are held in English.
The need of environmental toxicologists in private companies and in public institutions has increased because of REACH, the EU chemical legislation, which entered into force in 2007 and you will have the required knowledge and skills to tackle upcoming issues in this field.
You can already find environmental toxicologists at public institutions (e.g. Medical Product Agency, National Food Administration, Swedish Chemicals Agency, Environmental Protection Agency) and private companies within the environmental protection sector (e.g. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, SWECO, Golder Associates).
Our graduates work at, for example, SWECO, County administrative boards and at the Swedish Chemicals Agency. Job titles include environmental consultant, environment administrator and environmental risk assessor.
The specialisation in Environmental Toxicology provides a solid basis for PhD training in Sweden as well as abroad. Your most important merit in that respect is your degree project. With a careful choice of the courses and topic for your degree project you will leave this specialisation with a solid theoretical knowledge regarding harmful substances as well as practical knowledge of the analytical and practical methods you need to study them.
As a biologist, you can also work as a teacher or science journalist.
Career support When you are about to finish your studies and want to start planning for your next step in life, you are welcome to UU Careers for support and guidance. You are also welcome to a variety of career activities and events all through your stay at Uppsala University. Of course, the services are free of charge. Learn more about UU career support.
Requirements: Academic requirements A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is:
40 weeks of full-time studies (60 credits) in biology; and
20 weeks of full-time studies (30 credits) in chemistry.
Language requirements All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies. The minimum test scores are:
IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
a statement of purpose (1 page).
If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.