Environmental Toxicology - Master's Programme in Biology

Academic year 2022/2023

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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 Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Environmental Toxicology, is definitely for you.

Why this programme?

Uppsala University is internationally renowned and the Master's Programme in Biology gives you a degree with a good reputation worldwide. We strive for all kinds of biology to exist at the university. Each student in the Master's Programme in Biology has their own personal study plan and you can choose freely from a large number of courses according to your own interest. We also give you suggestions for a well-thought-out course of study.

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.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • understand how chemicals may affect humans and wildlife and how chemical hazards and risks are identified
  • meet substantial applied aspects within risk assessment and testing of chemicals
  • cover the entire chain of the impact of chemicals on nature, e.g., origin, fate, distribution and effects.
Student profile
For this specialisation, we recommend that you already have good knowledge of chemistry and animal physiology.

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 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.

All specialisations of this programme


The Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Environmental Toxicology, starts with the course Toxicology (level D). If you already have a strong background in toxicology, you may take the course Limnology (level D) instead. 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 second semester, you are advised to take a course within the field of molecular biology, developmental biology, neuroscience or immunology. This will give you a deep molecular and physiological understanding.

The final course of the second semester, Toxicology and Risk Assessment, deepens your knowledge in toxicology and gives 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.

In the second year, you can either take one or two courses, or take a research training course, and combined with a degree project of 30, 45 or 60 credits. This allows you to be well prepared for an academic career or a career outside academia.

Courses within the programme

See the outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

Biology instruction at Uppsala University is done in close connection to current research. All teachers for the individual courses in the Master's 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's Programme in Biology has a strong international character, and all courses are taught in English.


After your graduation, you can either work as an environmental toxicologist at a company or government authority (on county or municipal level). You may also continue with doctoral studies in toxicology or environmental toxicology.

The need of environmental toxicologists in private companies and in public institutions in the EU has increased because of REACH, the EU chemical legislation, and you will have the required knowledge and skills to tackle upcoming issues in this field.

You can find environmental toxicologists at public institutions (such as the Swedish Medical Product Agency, National Food Administration, Swedish Chemicals Agency, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency) and private companies within the sector of environmental protection (such as IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, SWECO, Golder Associates).

Our precious graduates work at, for example, SWECO, County Administrative Boards in Sweden, and the Swedish Chemicals Agency, etc. Job titles include environmental consultant, environment administrator, environmental risk assessor, etc.

The specialisation in Environmental Toxicology also provides a solid basis for PhD studies in Sweden and internationally. Your most important merit in that aspect is your degree project. With a careful choice of the courses and topic for your degree project you will graduate with a solid theoretical knowledge regarding harmful substances as well as practical knowledge of the analytical and practical methods that you need in further studies.

As a biologist, you can also work as a teacher or science journalist.

The average salary in Sweden for biologists was SEK 42 100 in 2019, according to the trade union the Swedish Association of Professional Scientists (in Swedish).

Career support
During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, you also need to submit a programme-specific document: an Application Summary Sheet, where you also fill in your Statement of Purpose.

Environmental Toxicology

120 credits

Autumn 2022, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 17 January 2022

Application code: UU-M1137 Application

Language of instruction: English

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
Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at universityadmissions.se.

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


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.

Application fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72,500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290,000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?


For programme-specific information, please contact: Richard Svanbäck or Fredrik Sundström


+46 18 471 29 38 (Richard) / +46 18 471 41 38 (Fredrik)

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:


Biology Education Centre

EBC, Norbyvägen 14 / BMC A8:1

Norbyvägen 14, 752 36 UPPSALA/Box 592, 751 24 UPPSALA


Last modified: 2022-05-13