Directors: Greg A. Freyer, PhD.

Environmental Health Sciences investigates how environmental exposures to biological, chemical, and physical agents affect human health and disease. For students interested in intensive scientific training in these areas, the Department of Environmental Health Sciences offers the Master’s of Science degree with a track in Toxicology.

The curriculum is designed to provide students with expertise in understanding and communicating the effects of exposure to environmental toxins. Graduates of this program will be well qualified for careers dealing with toxicology and environmental regulation in government or nongovernmental agencies, in universities or research institutions, and in industry. Coursework in the Toxicology Track includes classes in environmental health, toxicology, risk assessment, and industrial and environmental hygiene. Students engage in Master’s level research, undertake a practicum to develop experience in the field, and have the option to qualify for several Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) training certificates from the U.S. Department of Labor as a part of this program.

Educational Goals

The Department’s Toxicology MS degree program will:

  • Provide students with a foundation for interpreting the adverse human health effects associated with exposure to environmental toxicants.

  • Prepare graduates for careers in governmental regulatory agencies such as EPA, FDA, CDC, and OSHA, as well as non-profit organizations and private sector companies involved in environmental management and/or work with hazardous waste. 

  • Give students the skills to assess risks associated with exposure and to devise methods for minimizing exposure and designing processes for remediation.

  • Equip students with research experience through a Master’s thesis and workplace experience during a Practicum.

  • Offer Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) 40-hour certification, as well as the option to qualify for additional certificates.


Applicants to the MS in Toxicology should have a strong background in chemistry and biology as well as mathematics (calculus). Previous experience is desirable but not required for admission to the program. 

Students in this program will complete:

  • At least 40 credits of coursework

  • A three month Practicum (150-300 hrs)

  • A Master’s research thesis

Course Work

Required Courses (32 Credits):

P6104 - Introduction to Biostatistics
P6400 - Introduction to Epidemiology
P8306 - Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
P8308 - Molecular Toxicology
P8312 - Fundamentals of Toxicology
P8313 - Toxicokinetics
P8320 - Applied Environmental and Industrial Hygiene
P8325 - Risk Assessment, Communication, and Management
P9300 - Capstone: Critical Thinking and Analysis in Environmental Health
P9303 - Hazardous Waste and Public Health
P9361 - Master's Essay Research

Elective Courses (3 Classes, 8+ Credits):

P6300 - Environmental Health Sciences Core
P6360 - Analysis of Environmental Health Data
P6385 - Principles of Genetics and the Environment
P8307 - Molecular Epidemiology
P8319 - Biomarkers in Environmental Health
P8323 - Laboratory Methods in Environmental Health Sciences
P9362 - Master's Essay Research II


Nina Kulacki, MBA
Director of Academic Programs
Columbia University
(212) 305-3466

More information on this program.