Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Degree Program

Position title: Mark Marohl, Graduate Program Manager


Website: Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Degree Program's website

Phone: 608-263-4580

6152 Medical Sciences Center
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706


Molecular and environmental toxicology is a multidisciplinary subject that involves the study of mechanisms of action of environmental toxicants on humans and other organisms and the behavior of these toxicants in the environment. The UW–Madison Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center’s graduate program provides students with expert knowledge in at least one specialty plus a broad understanding of other specialties that contribute to the resolution of environmental toxicology problems. The center is sponsored by the School of Medicine and Public Health as well as the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of Pharmacy. The center links researchers in numerous academic departments who are working on problems in this area.

An interdisciplinary graduate program leading to the doctor of philosophy or a master of science in molecular and environmental toxicology is offered by the center under the direction of an executive committee composed of faculty affiliated with the center. The program offers two general approaches: mechanisms of pathobiology of chemically induced disease and environmental activities of chemicals. Each approach is subdivided into focal areas including metabolic and genetic toxicology, neurotoxicology, and immunotoxicology; and ecotoxicology, bioremediation, and distribution and assessment of environmental chemicals. All students participate in a core curriculum that addresses these various areas and that is supplemented by other advanced, specialized courses. Students perform research under the guidance of one of the center’s graduate faculty members.


Assuming sufficient progress to degree, financial aid is provided to all Ph.D. students, usually in the form of grant-supported research assistantships, institutional fellowships, teaching assistantships or advanced opportunity fellowships for minority or disadvantaged students.  Students are encouraged to contact individual professors in their areas of interest to determine whether support is available for working in that lab. Students are funded by program dollars to do rotations during their first semester. After having settled on a lab, their research mentor will fund the student, either through research grants, program-available TA-ships, or other fellowships.


To qualify for graduate study in Molecular and Environmental Toxicology, applicants normally have a bachelor’s degree in a biological or physical science, with at least a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale). The following courses should be completed before entrance to the program: four semesters of chemistry, including at least one of organic (depending on the planned direction within the program, a semester of either analytical chemistry or biochemistry is highly recommended); one semester of math-based physics (a second semester is highly recommended); and three semesters of biology, including coverage of introductory genetics. One or more semesters of calculus is highly recommended. If applicants have not taken one semester of statistics, biometrics, or an equivalent course, and one semester of biochemistry equivalent to the UW–Madison Biochem 501 course, then these courses must be taken as part of the program and will fulfill elective credit requirements for the major. Students with a limited number of deficiencies may be admitted, but must eliminate these deficiencies early in their graduate study. International students should also send scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).