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Department of Biological Sciences | Faculty of Science Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2024

Environmental Toxicology

Master of Environmental Toxicology

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. 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 and the environment.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. Before entering the program, the following courses or equivalents should be completed. These prerequisites may be waived by the departmental graduate studies committee under special circumstances, on recommendation from the director:

  • BISC 313-3 Environmental Toxicology: A Mechanistic Perspective
  • CHEM 282-3 Organic Chemistry II
  • MBB 231-3 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry

Program Requirements

This program consists of required courses, elective courses, and a thesis for a minimum of 42 units.

Students must complete all of

BISC 650 - Environmental Risk Assessment (3)

This course emphasizes recent development in quantitative human health risk assessment and ecological effects based risk assessment of environmental chemicals. Prerequisite: BISC 313.

BISC 651 - Toxicity Tests I: Ecological Effects Based Tests (3)

This course provides the basic concepts and practical experience for the application of ecologically-based toxicity tests. Prerequisite: BISC 313.

BISC 652 - ET Tests II: Mammalian Toxicity Tests (3)

The main focus of this course is on laboratory testing procedures currently employed in the toxicological evaluation of chemicals. Prerequisite: BISC 313 or permission of the department.

BISC 654 - Food and Drug Toxicology (3)

Investigates those toxic compounds in the environment which are added to, contaminate, or supplement one's diet. Prerequisite: BISC 313 or equivalent.

BISC 655 - Environmental Toxicology Seminar (3)

A structured series of seminars on the recent developments of environmental toxicology.

BISC 855 - Biochemical Toxicology (3)

This course examines the biodynamics and actions of toxicants on several key biological systems within living organisms at the biochemical and molecular levels. Prerequisite: BISC 313.

STAT 603 - Quantitative Analysis of Research Studies (5)

The use of statistical techniques and mathematical models in field research with special emphasis on experimentation, survey techniques, and statistical model construction. This course may not be used for the satisfaction of degree requirements in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Prerequisite: A course in statistics. Students may not obtain credit for STAT 603 if they already have credit for STAT 403. Students with credit for STAT 650 may not take this course for further credit.

and one of

BISC 854 - Ecotoxicology (3)

The proposed course will detail the physiochemical factors that influence contaminant behavior in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Prerequisite: BISC 101, 312, CHEM 102, and 103. Recommended: BISC 414.

EASC 613 - Groundwater Modelling (3)

An introduction to groundwater modelling providing the relevant theory and practical experience to develop and test conceptual models, to recognize data requirements, and to identify the limitations of numerical models. State-of-the-art groundwater modelling software will be used. An emphasis is placed on modelling flow in the saturated zone, but unsaturated zone hydrology, solute transport, and density dependent flow are also covered. Prerequisite: EASC 304 or equivalent.

REM 610 - Applied Environmental Toxicology and Environmental Management of Contaminants (5)

A study of the environmental behavior and toxic effects of chemical substances in the environment and the application of methodologies for their assessment and management. Equivalent Courses: MRM610 MRM660.

and six units chosen from the following

BISC 883 - Special Topics in Environmental Toxicology (3)

Special topics course with emphasis on recent developments in environmental toxicology.

BPK 851 - Recent Advances in Experimental Carcinogenesis (3)

This class will integrate current knowledge on the process of carcinogenesis in tissues in which cancer commonly occurs in North America. Discussions will focus on new techniques being developed to identify individuals at risk for cancer and new approaches being used to intervene to prevent development of the disease. Prerequisite: BPK (or KIN) 431.

and a project

BISC 656 - Master of Environmental Toxicology Project (10)

One term experience in a university or commercial laboratory according to student's interests. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the environmental toxicology program.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD

The project is supervised by a supervisor and will concern a specific aspect of environmental toxicology which may be based on original field, laboratory, or library research. In addition to submission of a report at project completion, the student prepares for an oral exam according to Graduate General Regulations 1.9 and will be examined according to Graduate General Regulations 1.10. The project must be submitted to the library upon successful completion.

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in nine terms.

Other Information

Supervisory Committee

The student chooses a supervisor after admission to the program, in consultation with the program director. A supervisory committee is formed by the beginning of the fourth term of full time equivalent enrollment. The supervisory committee consists of, at minimum, the supervisor and one additional regular biology faculty member. In exceptional cases, a faculty member from another Simon Fraser University department may be substituted for the Department of Biological Sciences faculty member. Additional supervisory committee members from other institutions may be appointed upon submission of research credentials and approval by the departmental graduate studies committee.

Annual Progress Report

Students submit a report of their progress every year, and will maintain satisfactory progress toward degree completion to remain in the program. Students receive an annual report form from the graduate secretary every year in the term in which they started, and are expected to complete and return it within six weeks. They will have a committee meeting each year, and a brief summary of this meeting will be included in the report. Also included should be a description of the work/courses completed since the last report (or since starting their program if this is the first time), student progress evaluation forms by each of the supervisory committee members, and a copy of the student's unofficial transcript.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.