Toxicology at Heriot-Watt University - UCAS

Course options

Course summary

Toxicologists assess the adverse, harmful effects that substances have on human health and the environment. Toxic substances can be natural resources such as arsenic and mercury, generated by living organisms such as microorganisms, algae, and shellfish, or generated by humans. Man-made sources include unintentional substances such as pollutants from traffic as well as industrial chemicals or pharmaceuticals. Toxicologists play an important role in making our lives more sustainable, by considering safety when designing new substances or by identifying safer alternatives. This MSc programme will provide you with an advanced understanding of the multidisciplinary field of Toxicology. You'll learn about the fundamental principles of Toxicology, the harmful effects that different substances (e.g., chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, drink, pollutants,) have on human health and the environment, how the safety and sustainability of substances is assessed and improved through design strategies, what regulations exist to protect human health from the harmful effects of substances, as well as topical and emerging issues in Toxicology. Over recent years, there has been a desire to transition away from animal testing in Toxicology and the generation of data using new approach methodologies (NAMs) means that the knowledge and skills required by toxicologists is changing. You will learn why alternative (non-animal) approaches are being increasingly used for hazard identification to make Toxicology testing more ethical, quicker, predictive, and potentially cheaper when compared to more traditional animal (mammalian) tests. You will learn how to critically appraise the quality of existing literature and communicate scientific concepts and research findings to different audiences. You'll gain skills that enable you to work as a Toxicologist in sectors such as academia, Government, and industry to meet the current growing global demand for trained Toxicologists. The UK currently tackles the regulations and policies related to substance safety, which was previously provided by the EU pre-Brexit, and is desperately seeking trained Toxicologists. The knowledge and practical skills you will gain through this master's degree, will make you highly sought after upon graduation. Our expertise Heriot-Watt University is recognised internationally for studying the toxicology of particles, fibres, pollutants, nanomaterials, and advanced materials. These research outputs have been widely published (over 200 papers), and have been used to inform:

  • UK and EU funding priorities,
  • the development of regulations,
  • updates to global guidance on strategies to reduce reliance on animal testing for regulatory purposes.
Your learning environment We offer hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art laboratories and workshops. You will gain practical experience of performing cytotoxicity (cell death) and genotoxicity (DNA damage) assays, learn about cell culture, and become competent at using light microscopes. Industry You will learn from world leading toxicology experts and receive guest lectures from international industry, government and regulators to give real life examples of how toxicology studies are performed and how Toxicology data is used. As part of the programme, we will discuss topical issues in Toxicology to introduce emerging issues in the field and encourage you to identify potential solutions to current and future challenges. We will discuss how we have worked with industry to;
  • assess the toxicity of nanomaterials to promote the safe and responsible development of nanotechnology,
  • develop new approach methodologies (NAMs) to decrease the reliance placed on animal testing,
  • investigate the potential harmful health effects of pollutants released from different sources,
  • assess the toxicity of mixtures and evaluate the toxicity of micro- and nano-plastics to human health and the environment.


Mandatory: food and beverage toxicology; toxicology; marine ecotoxicology; research and professional practice; regulation of the safe and sustainable development of substances; principles of drug discovery and development; emerging issues and innovations in toxicology. Optional: pathobiology of human disease; introduction to pharmaceutical chemistry.

Assessment method

Coursework, exams, and dissertation.

How to apply

International applicants

If English is not your first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details. Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required. All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study. We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master's programme: - 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill lower than 4.5) -10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0) - 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)

Entry requirements

You will have at least a 2:2 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject (Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Toxicology).

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £10736 Whole course
Northern Ireland £10736 Whole course
Scotland £10736 Whole course
Wales £10736 Whole course
EU £26976 Whole course
International £26976 Whole course
Channel Islands £26976 Whole course
Republic of Ireland £26976 Whole course

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Sponsorship information

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support. View our full range of postgraduate scholarships on our website.

Toxicology at Heriot-Watt University - UCAS