About the MET Program
Welcome to the Master of Environmental Toxicology (MET) Program
This is the official SFU website for the MET program in the Department of Biological Sciences at SFU.
For more information about the MET program, our students and faculty, and environmental toxicology careers, click here.
Environmental toxicology is a rapidly expanding area of environmental science concerned with understanding the adverse effects of chemicals, physical, and biological agents on living organisms. Organisms are continually exposed to and challenged by chemicals in our environment—compounds in air, water, soil, and food and finding scientifically sound answers to these very important questions is what toxicologists do: which chemicals are dangerous, what are their environmental and biological fates, how much exposure will cause harm, and what are the deleterious effects exposure to a particular chemical exposure? A Master’s degree in environmental toxicology can be challenging, stimulating, financially rewarding, and lead to an exciting professional career that contributes to the welfare of humans the environment.
The goals of the Master of Environmental Toxicology (MET) Program at SFU:
Our mission is to train new environmental toxicologists and address pertinent environmental toxicology questions through education and research. The multi-disciplinary and professional nature of the MET program addresses a variety of training demands not encountered in the more traditional scientific disciplines. The MET program at SFU is a professional degree which provides MET graduates with training in basic and applied sciences with real world work skills.
The MET Program
Every MET program consists of a minimum of 32 graduate course credit hours, including the following courses:
- BISC 650-3 Environmental Risk Assessment: Human Health Risk Assessment and Ecological Effects-based Risk Assessment
- BISC 651-3 Environmental Toxicology Tests I: Ecological Effects-based Tests
- BISC 652-3 Environmental Toxicology Tests II: Mammalian Toxicity Tests
- BISC 654-3 Food and Drug Toxicology
- BISC 655-3 Environmental Toxicology Seminar
- BISC 656-6 Master of Environmental Toxicology Project
- BISC 855-3 Biochemical Toxicology
- STAT 650-5 Quantitative Analysis in Resource Management and Field Biology
Students must complete one of:
- BISC 854-3 Ecotoxicology
- EASC 613-3 Groundwater Hydrology
- REM 610-5 Management of Contaminants in the Environment
and six credit hours chosen from the following:
- BISC 846-3 Insecticide Chemistry and Toxicology
- BISC 839-3 Industrial Microbiology
- BISC 883-3 Special Topics in Environmental Toxicology
- KIN 851-3 Recent Advances in Experimental Carcinogenesis
- REM 612-5 Simulation Modelling in Natural Resource Management
Students are also required to complete a MET project and dissertation, which must be successfully defended. Projects must be independent and original research may take as little as one semester, however, most projects take several semesters to complete.
Please feel free to contact any of our MET faculty members for more information on the MET program. Below are the major faculty involved in the MET program. Faculty descriptions can be found by clicking on a faculty members name below:
Applying to the Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program
Candidates enrolling in the MET program must meet all requirements for admission to graduate studies at SFU and have an adequate background in the sciences, with a good basic knowledge of chemistry and biological or biomedical sciences at both the macro and micro levels.
In general, the specific admission requirements include at least one semester of organic chemistry (equivalent of SFU course CHEM 282-2 Organic Chemistry II), one semester of molecular/cell biology (equivalent of SFU course MBB 221-3 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry) and one semester of a toxicology/environmental science course (equivalent of SFU course BISC 313-3 Environmental Toxicology).
These prerequisites may be waived by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee under special circumstances on recommendation from the Director of the program, however students are will typically be expected to make up any deficiencies in their graduate program. The courses used to address the deficiencies will be determined by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee.
Students whose first language is not English are required to achieve a minimum score of 7.0 on the International English Language Test System (IELTS - the academic NOT the general test) with a minimum of 6.5 in any section. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) may be used as an equivalent test provided a score of 100 or better is achieved with a minimum of 20 in each section (TOEFL-internet based exam), or TOEFL 580 and the Test of Written English (TWE) 5.0 (paper-based). All test scores are valid for a period of two years from the date of the test.
Admission requirements to the MET program are similar to the MSc program, but a research supervisor does not have to be identified prior to admission. Faculty research interests and contact information can be found on our departmental website. The requirements normally include a Bachelor's degree in biological sciences or related discipline from a recognized university, with a cumulative grade point average of B (3.0) or better or its equivalent for previous coursework.
- Apply online at the Dean of Graduate Studies website. Note that there is an application fee which you must pay by credit card (MasterCard or Visa) in order to apply online.
- Upload the following supporting documents online:
- Copies of official transcripts from all Post-Secondary Institutions that you attended,
- An up-to-date curriculum vitae/resume giving details of any work or professional experience, especially if related to environmental toxicology.
- Letter of intent explaining why you want to join the MET program.
- Strong letters of recommendation from 3 references who are familiar with your academic background. The online application system will instruct you on how to request the letters of reference.
- Copies of publications and reports written by you may also be helpful to the admissions committee. You can upload these by following the online instructions.
- Mail the following supporting documents to the Biological Sciences Department:
- One set of official transcripts from all Post-Secondary Institutions attended (must come either directly from the educational institution or in an envelope mailed by you – please do not send opened transcripts).
- Original TOEFL or IELTS score (for students whose first language is not English). Exams must have been taken in the last two years and be sent directly from the testing centre. Photocopies will suffice during the application process but in order to be admitted, official copies will be required. SFU’s institution code is 0999 and the Biological Sciences Department code is 35.
Please send documents that are requested to be mailed to:
Department of Biological Sciences
Attn: MET Program Coordinator
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC Canada V5A 1S6
Fall Semester (September): 1 June
Spring Semester (January): 1 October
Graduate students accepted into the MET graduate program are primarily supported as Research Assistants by their Faculty advisors during their project research. Continuation of assistantship support, regardless of source, is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward research and academic goals as determined by the student's annual progress evaluation. During coursework, students are generally funded through Teaching Assistantships (TAs) in the department, however, TAships are not always guaranteed. As TAs, students generally assist in the preparation and teaching of undergraduate or graduate courses, and obtain valuable experience in teaching that will help them in their future careers as toxicologists.
Numerous government agencies provide graduate training programs in toxicology at universities.
A time-honored graduate training route has been through investigator-initiated research grants and awards for graduate training, which focus the graduate student in the area of the mentor. Most researchers at academic institutions who receive federal research grants have the ability to sponsor graduate students for government agency awards (e.g. NSERC).
Many companies that employ toxicologists (e.g. pharmaceutical, chemical, food and automotive companies) can provide graduate training opportunities for individuals in toxicology or related disciplines. Another often-overlooked source of graduate training is the contract laboratory. The contract laboratory exposes the early career scientist to the broadest issues in general toxicology, especially testing and preparing documents for submission to regulatory agencies. In many respects, this type of experience represents the practice or art of toxicology, while the university experience represents the science of toxicology.