MSc (Toxicology)

College of Science

Course overview

Toxicology is the study of poisons, drawing heavily on life and physical sciences, as well as being an applied practically-based subject. It is designed to acquaint students with the breadth of Toxicology, with a considerable emphasis on its practical application. The first semester consists of a foundation in Pharmacology and Toxicology and their applications. Workshops provide students with a theoretical basis in data handling and interpretation.


The second semester consists of lectures in advanced topics such as Risk Assessment, Target Organ Toxicity, Reproductive and Regulatory Toxicology. In addition there is more emphasis on laboratory mini-projects (in vivo, in vitro & molecular projects) that introduce students to the practical elements of toxicity testing and data interpretation. There are also a number of written projects on toxicity testing used in the drug industry as well as recent advances in toxicity assays which involve self-directed learning.


In the third semester, there is a 3-month research project to investigate an aspect of toxicology and deliver a seminar on this area. This involves the student preparing a research proposal, carrying out the lab-based project and preparing a thesis on the findings.

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • Gain a sound theoretical knowledge of toxicology.
  • Develop a variety of analytical and writing and presentation skills.
  • Become familiar with the importance of experimental design and statistical analysis.
  • Conduct a research project which allows these skills to be further developed.

Key facts

Entry requirements

Successful students will normally hold at least a Second Class Honours Level 8 degree (2.2 minimum) from a diversity of undergraduate disciplines, ranging from Chemistry through Life Science subjects. Students are also considered who have a Level 7 degree and three years relevant work experience. IELTS score of 6.0+ (with not less than 5.5 in any one component) is required for students where English is not their native language.

Duration: 1 year, full-time

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: 90

Average intake: 10

Closing date:  Please refer to review/closing dates website.

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

Programme content (subject to change)

The programme is divided into three trimesters (each of 30 ECTS) in the following manner:

Trimester One

Introduction to Toxicology: 5 ECTS

Applied Toxicology: 5 ECTS

Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology: 5 ECTS

Applied Concepts in Pharmacology: 5 ECTS

Experimental Methods in Pharmacology: 10 ECTS


Trimester Two

Experimental Toxicology: 15 ECTS

Current Topics in Toxicology: 10 ECTS

Advanced Toxicology: 5 ECTS


Trimester Three

Toxicology Research Project: 30 ECTS

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Selection is based on the candidate's undergraduate marks, as well as their aptitude for the programme following interview.

Requirements and assessment

A variety of different assessment strategies are used including written examinations, laboratory practicals and mini-project reports, assignments, data handling computer exercises, experimental reasoning, essays, posters, oral presentations and a research project thesis. 

Find out more

Dr Howard Fearnhead, Course Director

T +353 91 495 240

PAC code


Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,815 p.a. 2015/16
 - Tuition: €6,591 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,750 p.a. 2015/16

Current students

Toxicology student
Laura Quinn

"I chose the MSc in Toxicology programme because I had studied some Toxicology modules on my undergraduate Forensic Science degree and found it really interesting. I realised that this was where I wanted to specialise and chose the programme at NUI Galway because it offered everything I was looking for. I am really enjoying the course, it’s fascinating to learn about the different toxins and their affect on the body. The amount of toxins in the environment that we are all exposed to on a daily basis is really surprising—even some diet fizzy drinks have toxins that can be harmful! I would definitely recommend this course to others because the wide range of topics covered gives you a broader spectrum of understanding of the whole subject area. I feel that having the Masters in Toxicology will leave me in a much stronger position as I enter the job market.”

Graduate profile

Michael Mungoma
Michael Mungoma
Masters, Toxicology

"I made the decision to study at postgraduate level, because I wanted to improve my career prospects and explore new areas. I read up on this course and found that it had many quality lecturers with high-standard academic qualifications. This Masters programme is unique to the area I wish to pursue, which is consumer protection. NUI Galway has a vibrant postgraduate community and social networks. Resources are excellent including the library and sports gym."

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