Toxicology (TOX)

The research programme of Toxicology covers food toxicology and environmental toxicology. It concentrates on gaining insight in the mechanisms via which toxic compounds can induce adverse effects on the health of humans and other environmental organisms, either directly via food or indirectly via different exposure pathways related to environmental pollution.

More about this thesis track

Meet the field

Mechanisms via which toxic compounds can disrupt the health of humans and other organisms, are preferably studied using cell lines such are reporter gene assays and stem cells. Computer modeling is used to try to predict effects on living organisms based on in vitro studies, and to predict population effects of for example subtle toxic effects under different ecological stress conditions. Early life stages of organisms appear to be sensitive to low concentrations of hormone disrupting compounds.


The four main research areas of the environmental toxicology section are:

  • Effects of contaminants in the food chain on humans and wildlife;
  • Developmental effects of hormone disrupting environmental contaminants on early development;
  • Development of in vitro tools (especially cell culture) for studying the effects of mixtures of contaminants;
  • Toxicological risk evaluation (e.g. within the framework of the EU-program REACH).

Because of a close cooperation with the marine research institute IMARES there are several options for marine environmental research.

Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the sub-department Toxicology.


The following courses are part of the MSc programme Environmental Sciences when selecting the thesis track Toxicology. Besides these courses, for the common part of the programme several supporting courses are available which have to be taken if your study adviser deems it necessary (these are not listed in the table below, but summarized in the programme outline). Also, there is room for optional subjects which you may use to broaden your scope or to deepen your knowledge on a topic in your specialisation. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

The common part
Subject Code Period* Phase
Environmental Quality and Governance ENP-35806 2AF, 5AF M1
General Safety ** ZSS06000 M1
Fieldwork Safety ** ZSS06200 M1
Compulsory unless your study advisor advises otherwise:
Principles of Environmental Sciences ESA-20806 1AF, 4WD M1
Research Methodology in Environmental Science YRM-20306 1MO, 2MO M1
Restricted optional: select one out of these four options ***
Research Master Cluster: Proposal Writing YWU60312
European Workshop Environmental Sciences and Management ESA-60312 1WD, 6WD M1
Environmental Education and Learning for Sustainability and Teaching, Learning and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development ELS-31806+ ELS-32806 6WD M1
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) **** YMC-60809 1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD,6WD M1
Minors (optional)
Environmental Education
Environmental Communication

Thesis track-related subject
Subject Code Period Phase
Laboratory Safety ** ZSS06100 1 M1
Environmental Toxicology TOX-30806 5MO M1
Environmental Risk Assessment of Chemicals TOX-31306 6WD M1
MSc Internship Toxicology TOX-70424 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
MSc Thesis Toxicology TOX-80436 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOC-22306 2MO M1
Cell Biology and Health CBI-20306 3WD M1
*MO = morning; AF= afternoon; WD = whole day
** e-learning
*** The restricted optional subjects have to be selected in consultation and agreement with the study adviser.
**** To get the list of the skills courses, go to Osiris Course Catalogue, select “courses’ in the green menu bar. On the left side (grey area) click “Modular Skills Training Course (MOS)” and check the box “Yes, this is a Modular Skills Training courses”
This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule might look like:

MSc Environmental Sciences - Toxicology.jpg