Master's Programme in Biology – Environmental Toxicology

120 credits

Biodiversity and human health are threatened by chemicals, affecting wildlife and humans at molecular, organismal, and population levels. Identifying chemical hazards and managing risks today and in the future, helps us develop strategies to mitigate pollution effects, safeguard biodiversity, and protect human health. If you consider this important, the Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Environmental Toxicology, is definitely for you.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

The specialisation in Environmental Toxicology is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how wildlife and humans are impacted by chemicals, from their uptake and molecular, biochemical, and physiological effects to consequences at population and ecosystem levels. Our courses integrate multiple disciplines, including computational modelling, molecular and cellular biology, physiology, ecology, and epidemiology.

The programme encompasses laboratory and theoretical studies as well as applied aspects, such as risk assessment, environmental impact descriptions, and chemical testing. Graduating from Environmental Toxicology will leave you well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience needed for a successful career in agencies or companies engaged in chemical safety, or to pursue further studies in a PhD programme.

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

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.

The programme offers the possibility of pursuing a PhD and provides opportunities to come in close contact with current research and prominent researchers in the field, making it an excellent foundation for future academic pursuits.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with Biology as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Science (60 credits).

The Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Environmental Toxicology, starts with the course Toxicology (level D), which provides you with a solid introduction to toxicological principles and hands-on experience of different toxicological methods and concepts. This starting course also includes a general introduction to the Master's programme.

The next course, Ecotoxicology, deals with how the environment is affected by chemicals. Within this course, short projects focusing on current ecotoxicological problems will give you an idea about the job assignments of professional ecotoxicologists.

During the first period of the second semester, you are advised to take a course that deepens your molecular and physiological knowledge, e.g., molecular biology, developmental biology, neuroscience or immunology.

The final course of the second semester, Toxicology and Risk Assessment, deepens your knowledge in (molecular) toxicology and gives practical experience in human health risk assessment. This kind of competence is requested if you plan to work in authorities or the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

In the second year, you can either take one or two courses, or take a research training course 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

Courses within the programme are listed on the the Department webpage or found in the programme outline.

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 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 into 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 work as an environmental toxicologist either at a company or government authority (on the county or municipal level). You may also continue with doctoral studies in toxicology or environmental toxicology.

The need for environmental toxicologists in private companies and 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, and 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, the Swedish Chemicals Agency, etc. Job titles include environmental consultant, environmental 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 topics for your degree project, you will graduate with 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.

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.