Ashland is among only a few institutions in the country offering a bachelor’s degree in toxicology, the study of how chemicals affect human health and the environment. Strong training in both biology and chemistry will prepare you for a growing number of career opportunities in industry and government as well as medical and other health professional schools.

Have you ever wondered why prescription drugs have "side effects" along with the effect the drug is supposed to produce? Or why some plants and animals are poisonous? Or how exposure to air pollutants like sulfur and nitrogen oxides might affect people's health?

The answers to these and many other questions are found in an area of science called toxicology. Toxicology is the science that studies the effects of toxicants (in other words, poisons) on living organisms.

What Toxicologists do

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.

Toxicology coursework includes:

Principles of Toxicology
Covers the basic principles of toxicology, focusing on the biochemical, physiological and ecological effects of toxicants

Methods in Toxicology
An in-depth study of various methods used in toxicological research. Course is designed to give students hands-on experience in applying various techniques to toxicological problems

Toxic Agents
Students will learn about the toxic activities, physical properties, regulatory status and current/historic uses of various poisons, pesticides, and environmental toxins

Pharmacology and Toxicology
A survey of the major categories of drugs and toxicants and their therapeutic and/or toxic effects on humans

Forensic Science
A course which provides students with insight into how the natural and physical sciences are utilized in the examination of materials to be submitted as evidence.

The connection with Charles River Laboratories

Ashland University's toxicology program has a unique and strong relationship with Charles River Laboratories, a drug safety testing company in the city of Ashland.  Many of our students work as paid interns at Charles River during the academic year and summer, and many of our alumni begin working full-time right after graduation.  Charles River maintains 65 research locations in 18 countries, providing opportunities around the World for their employees.

Career Outlook for Toxicology Majors

There are approximately 9,000 toxicologists working in the United States and Canada. Demand for these professionals far exceeds supply. About half of open positions go unfilled each year. The problem (or opportunity) extends to Europe where there is also a serious shortage of toxicology professionals.

Those with bachelor’s degrees are eligible for entry-level toxicology jobs as technicians, lab assistants or animal-care specialists. Approximately half of toxicologists hold Ph.D.s. Overall, employment opportunities for those in science technician roles is expected to grow approximately 12 percent between 2006 and 2016. LEARN MORE.


“I have been impressed by Ashland University’s science programs because I have been able to get hands-on lab experience beginning my first semester of my freshman year. And I like that the professors are in the lab with me for one-on-one interaction. I like the willingness of the professors to be hands-on and be available for help when I need it.” -- Karie Charlton, Jelloway, Ohio, involved in the Habitat for Humanity spring break trip, Alpha Phi, Community Care, Geology Club vice president