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Learn how chemicals affect our environment. Discover how industrial emissions have polluted our ecosystems. Understand how toxic substances behave in the body and the natural environment. Toxicology is a science focussing on the harmful effects chemical and physical agents have on living organisms and biological systems. Generally speaking, toxicology is the study of poisons and pollutants. And as a U of S toxicology student, you will be studying in a new facility home to Canada’s foremost university-based centre for water pollution research.  

Program Options

Bachelor of Science - Toxicology

  • B.Sc. Four-year
  • B.Sc. Honours
  • Minor

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

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What is Toxicology?

Toxicology is the science that deals with the harmful effects of chemical and physical agents on living organisms and biological systems. Generally speaking, toxicology is the study of poisons and pollutants.

During the last four to five decades, the world has seen a rapid growth in industrial activity, development of new technology and the synthesis of new chemicals. Some of these chemicals are approved for direct use in people and animals (e.g. drugs and food additives). Others are released into our environment, either intentionally (e.g. pesticides and household products), unintentionally (e.g. through industrial effluents and emissions) or by accident (e.g. spills and releases). In many cases, our knowledge of the effects of these new chemicals and the risk that they pose to environmental and human health is inadequate.

The potential adverse effects on people, wildlife and ecosystems from these chemicals are now being recognized and have become a matter of concern to scientists, regulatory agencies and the public at large. Industrial emissions and effluents released into our environment have caused global changes such as atmospheric ozone layer depletion, global warming, acid rain, surface and ground water pollution, contamination of natural and processed food supplies, disease, and large-scale wildlife and fish kills. The socio-economic impacts of these pollution events have been enormous, and the need for trained toxicologists to address these issues is growing.

Toxicology: Is it for you?

  • The Toxicology program is the only program of its type in Western Canada and is the most comprehensive undergraduate toxicology program in Canada.
  • The new program has been designed to provide students with a basic understanding of how toxic substances behave in the body and in the natural environment, how they adversely affect individual organisms, populations and ecosystems, and how to measure these toxicants and their potential effects.

Sample Classes

  • TOX 321: Risk Assessment and Regulatory Toxicology
    An introduction to human health and ecological risk assessment and an overview of Canadian and international regulatory requirements for the registration of new products, focussing on safety assessment/toxicity testing of pesticides and human pharmaceuticals, and basic principles of occupational health and industrial hygiene.
  • TOX 301: Environmental Toxicology
    A discussion of major environmental pollutants, their sources, interactions with atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic systems, exposure of people, animals and other biota, and their dose-response relationships. Some of the physical and chemical changes induced in the environment by pollutants, contaminant fate and transport, and bioremediation are also discussed.
  • TOX 461: Applied Toxicology
    Provides students an opportunity to evaluate practical toxicology/ecotoxicology problems associated with Saskatchewan and northern ecosystems. Students will be presented with specific toxicological questions or case studies of current relevance which will be examined using research data and library facilities. Written and oral presentations will be required for each problem.

Career Opportunities

Toxicology students are highly employable in fields such as:

  • Environmental toxicology consulting and risk assessment
  • Environmental management (e.g., for large natural resource companies or local governments)
  • Scientist or regulator for provincial or federal governments
  • Research and development in the pharmaceutical, personal care products, pesticide and chemical industries
  • Food safety and water quality assessment
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Forensic toxicology investigation
  • Advancement to professional programs (e.g., Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Nutrition and Dietetics, Law, etc.) or graduate studies in Toxicology or related fields

Skill Sets Gained

  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data
  • Computer skills
  • Communication skills: written and/or oral
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Interpreting research findings
  • Laboratory skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Research skills and methods
  • Technical skills

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