Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Toxicology

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Environmental Health Sciences

The interdepartmental PhD in Molecular Toxicology provides doctoral training for the next generation of scientists well versed in cutting-edge research on the mechanisms by which exogenous chemicals and physical agents cause disease. Professional development is supported by an esteemed faculty, specialized core facilities, and a rich curriculum that includes training in toxicodynamics, mechanisms of human disease, molecular pharmacology, environmental science, epidemiology, and the ethics involved in biomedical research.

  • Program Requirements

    The doctoral program encompasses the following major elements:

    • Course work in the major field
    • Written qualifying examinations, including proposals related to the dissertation
    • Oral Qualifying Examination on the proposal for the dissertation (advancement to candidacy)
    • Dissertation
    • Oral defense of the dissertation 

    1. Course Requirements

    For curriculum details, including course requirements and course sequence: Molecular Toxicology Curriculum

    2. Qualifying Examinations - Written and Oral

    This examination will typically be taken towards the end of the student's first quarter of their third year at UCLA. Both a written and oral qualifying examination is required. The format for the written qualifying examination will consist of a NIH-style research proposal on a topic which is approved by members of the Thesis Committee. The Thesis Committee will consist of four faculty members including the student's advisor, who will serve as the Chair.

    The written proposal will be an original research proposal.

    The oral examination of the written proposal will allow the Thesis Committee to fully evaluate the ability of the student to discuss the subject matter in a scholarly fashion. The student must be able to defend the validity and importance of the proposed research as well as the experimental approaches taken. The oral qualifying examination also provides the Thesis Committee the opportunity to specifically address perceived weaknesses in the student's educational background as well as evaluate the student's communication skills. Thus, it is expected that students will be able to both write about and verbally discuss his/her research proposal and experiments in a manner commensurate with someone receiving a PhD in Molecular Toxicology.

    After successful completion of both the oral and the written qualifying examinations, the student will advance to candidacy. 

    3. PhD Dissertation

    A dissertation based on original research is required. The dissertation must be written in the format approved by UCLA. As a general guideline, the dissertation should consist of research equivalent to at least two peer-reviewed publications in reputable journals in the field.

    5. Final Examination

    A final defense of the PhD thesis will be required.

  • Time to Degree

    The typical time for completion of the degree is nine years (18 quarters).

  • Program Faculty

    View a list of faculty in the Molecular Toxicology Program. 

  • Tuition & Fees

    For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

    Please see the cost and aid section of our website for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment, summer internship funding, and need-based aid. Please note that opportunities listed under 'Summer Internship Funding' are only applicable to MPH students.

    Cost & Aid
  • Admissions

    Desired Qualifications

    In addition to meeting the University‚Äôs minimum requirements:

    • A master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission.
    • The ideal training for an undergraduate would be to major either in chemistry or Biology, and to have a solid background in both of these disciplines with some quantitative training.
    • A minimum of a four (4) unit undergraduate course in statistics is required.
    • Additional courses of value for toxicologists include the following: calculus, cell biology, genetics, physiology, microbiology, molecular biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, as well as others.
    • Excellent students from all disciplines will be considered for admission, with the opportunity to make up deficiencies during their graduate curriculum.
    • Admissions Process

      Visit the application guide to learn about our admissions process. 

    Application Guide
Please note:
  • This information is intended as an overview, and should be used as a guide only. Requirements, course offerings and other elements may change, and this overview may not list all details of the program. 

  • Admission requirements listed are departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

  • Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.