Ashland University Offers Unique Toxicology Degree Program

A study by Penn State University has determined that there are only 10 programs in the United States that award baccalaureate degrees in toxicology, and Ashland University offers one of those programs.

“As for Ashland University, I think it is worthy of mentioning the fact that we are a private school that offers a very broad toxicology program covering topics ranging from pharmacology to environmental toxicology,” said Dr. Andrew Trimble, assistant professor of toxicology at Ashland University.

Trimble said Ashland students learn about many different branches of toxicology including pharmacology, environmental toxicology, veterinary toxicology, pesticide toxicology, environmental risk assessment, toxicology of poisonous and medicinal plants, agriculture, and biochemical and mechanistic toxicology.

“Only a couple of other schools on this list of 10 have well-rounded programs such as ours,” Trimble said. “Most are either human health, pharmacology or environmentally oriented in their course requirements. If a student in Ohio or the surrounding area wants a more diverse program, their only options besides Ashland University are large universities that are well outside our area.”

Toxicology, the study of how chemicals affect human health and the environment, is a growing field with approximately 9,000 toxicologists working in the United States and Canada. Toxicologists conduct basic research on the effects of toxicants on human health and the environment, develop and perform tests to assess the safety of drugs and other chemical products, and assist government agencies in developing regulations and standards in areas ranging from food safety to pollution control. Toxicologists also work in applied areas such as clinical medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and forensic science.

Trimble said Ashland University is quite unique for a small private school in that it offers students a chance to explore all of the different branches of toxicology.

“With our program, a student will have a diverse toxicology background and will not be limited, for example, to just human health related topics. This makes them marketable to a much wider range of employers including numerous government agencies, private industries and academic institutions,” Trimble said. “And, when you factor in the opportunity for students to conduct laboratory-based undergraduate research under the supervision of our faculty, the potential for employment after graduation increases exponentially.”

Ashland University's toxicology program possesses several unique features that enhance the student's education and training. One of these is the close proximity of WIL Research, a contract research company located in the city of Ashland. Internship and work opportunities are available for toxicology students at WIL Research, and WIL scientists participate in the training of our students. These opportunities allow toxicology majors to obtain valuable practical experience in a laboratory setting.

Ashland University's programs in toxicology and environmental science provide an excellent background for many exciting and rewarding career pathways. Many students choose to continue their studies, entering graduate programs in toxicology, pharmacology, forensic science, environmental science, or other biological disciplines. Others use their toxicology major to enter medical school, pharmacy school or veterinary school.

After graduation from Ashland's toxicology program, individuals will also be qualified to work in both laboratory and administrative positions for a wide variety of employers. In industry, career opportunities are found in agricultural, chemical, cosmetic, food, insurance, pharmaceutical, and petroleum firms, as well as in contract testing laboratories.

These firms need toxicologists to obtain data on safety of chemical products before they can be marketed, and to assess environmental impact of their operations. In government, toxicologists have the opportunity to contribute to development of regulations protecting human health and the environment. Agencies that participate in this process include the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Food and Drug Administration.