Pharmacology and Toxicology, B.S.

Program Code: TOX_BS

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to the Toxicology major, a student must have:

  1. attained at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average and
  2. earned a C grade or better in: , , , , , , , .

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Toxicology, a minimum of 124 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 0-2
Requirements for the Major 92-94

15 of the 45 credits are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
BBH/HPA 440Principles of Epidemiology3
BIOL 220WBiology: Populations and Communities Keystone/General Education Course4
BIOL 230WBiology: Molecules and Cells Keystone/General Education Course4
BIOL 240WBiology: Function and Development of Organisms Keystone/General Education Course4
BMB 211Elementary Biochemistry3
BMB 212Elementary Biochemistry Laboratory1
BMB 221Applied Biochemistry2
CHEM 210Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 212Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 213Laboratory in Organic Chemistry2
PHYS 250Introductory Physics I Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 251Introductory Physics II Keystone/General Education Course4
VBSC 230The Science of Poisons3
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BIOL 110Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course4
BIOL 472Mammalian Physiology3
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 112Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 113Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course1
ERM 431Environmental Toxicology3
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
VBSC 430Principles of Toxicology3
VBSC 433Molecular and Cellular Toxicology3
VBSC 438Introduction to Molecular Pharmacology3
VBSC 451Immunotoxicology of Drugs and Chemicals3
Additional Courses
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course3-4
or STAT 250 Introduction to Biostatistics Keystone/General Education Course
VBSC 395Internship2-3
or VBSC 496 Independent Studies
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 9 credits of 400-level courses from department list9

Program Learning Objectives

Students in the Toxicology major at Penn State first obtain a solid foundation in mathematics, physical sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. They then enjoy the opportunity to specialize with required courses in pharmacology and toxicology. Finally, each student's curriculum is unique based on their choices of Program Goals.

  1. Students will exhibit specialized competencies in toxicology and pharmacology based upon a solid grounding in the physical and biological sciences. (Physical, biological and toxicology competencies)
  2. Students will have access to meaningful research experience and the professional development that accompanies such training including the ability to formulate a research question and design experimental procedures. (Research Experience)
  3. Graduates will demonstrate collaborative learning, critical thinking, and research skills, as well as skills to communicate effectively to professional and lay audiences. (Collaborative learning, critical thinking and communication)
  4. Graduates will be prepared to succeed in industry, government, academic research, and in graduate and professional study. (Career planning and advancement)
  5. Students will apply ethical principles in conducting scientific research and apply their expertise to a broader health and societal context. (Ethics and toxicology outreach)

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Jack Vanden Heuvel
Professor of Molecular Toxicology
122 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-8532
jpv2@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
VBSC 503ENGL 15, ENGL 30, or ESL 15‡†3
BIOL 110*#†4BIOL 230W*#4
CHEM 110*#†3CHEM 112*#†3
CHEM 111*#†1CHEM 113*#†1
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
General Education Course0-3General Education Course0-3
 15-18 15-18
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 220W4BIOL 240W4
PHYS 2504PHYS 2514
CHEM 2103CHEM 2123
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C‡†3CHEM 2132
General Education Course (GHW)1.5VBSC 2303
General Education Course0-3General Education (GHW)1.5
 15.5-18.5 17.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 2113BMB 2212
BMB 2121VBSC 438 (or Elective or 400-level Supporing Course)*3
BIOL 472*3ENGL 202C‡†3
BBH/HPA 4403STAT 200 or 2503-4
General Education Course3VBSC 496 or 3950-3
Supporting Course 400 Level or Elective*3General Education Course3
VBSC 496 or 3950-3 
 16-19 14-18
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
VBSC 430*3VBSC/BMB 433*3
VBSC/ERM 431*3VBSC 438 (or Elective or 400-level Supporting Course)*3-6
VBSC 451*3Supporting Course 400 Level or Elective*3
VBSC 395 or 4962-3General Education Course3
Elective or 400-level Supporing Courses3-6VBSC 496 or 3952-3
General Education Course3 
 17-21 14-18
Total Credits 124-148

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Advising Notes:

  • Students must complete all of the BIOL 220W, BIOL 230W, and BIOL 240W sequence to fulfill the Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
  • If completing CHEM 212, CHEM 213 must also be completed.
  • Work with your academic adviser in the development of your plan as some courses are not taught every semester.
  • Electives and Supporting Courses – Supporting courses are 400-level courses chosen from a department-approved list or approved by the Program Coordinator.  Students must take 9 credits of supporting courses (6 credits of which must have a grade of C or better).  Elective credits may be used to earn a minor, usually commencing in the fifth semester.  Please consult with your academic adviser for planning.

Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
First Year Seminar0-3ENGL 15, ENGL 30, or ESL 15‡†3
BIOL 110*#†4BIOL 230W*#4
CHEM 110*#†3CHEM 112*#†3
CHEM 111*#†1CHEM 113*#†1
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
General Education Course3General Education Course0-3
 15-18 15-18
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 220W4BIOL 240W4
PHYS 2504PHYS 2514
CHEM 2103CHEM 2123
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C‡†3CHEM 2132
General Education Course (GHW)1.5VBSC 2303
General Education Course0-3General Education (GHW)1.5
 15.5-18.5 17.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 2113BMB 2212
BMB 2121VBSC 438 (or Elective or 400-level Supporing Course)*3
BIOL 472*3ENGL 202C‡†3
BBH/HPA 4403STAT 200 or 2503-4
General Education Course3VBSC 496 or 3950-3
Supporting Course 400 Level or Elective*3General Education Course3
VBSC 496 or 3950-3 
 16-19 14-18
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
VBSC 430*3VBSC/BMB 433*3
VBSC/ERM 431*3VBSC 438 (or Elective or 400-level Supporting Course)*3-6
VBSC 451*3Supporting Course 400 Level or Elective*3
VBSC 395 or 4962-3General Education Course3
Elective or 400-level Supporing Courses3-6VBSC 496 or 3952-3
General Education Course3 
 17-21 14-18
Total Credits 124-148

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Advising Notes:

  • Students must complete all of the BIOL 220W, BIOL 230W, and BIOL 240W sequence to fulfill the Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
  • If completing CHEM 212, CHEM 213 must also be completed.
  • Work with your academic adviser in the development of your plan as some courses are not taught every semester.
  • Electives and Supporting Courses – Supporting courses are 400-level courses chosen from a department-approved list or approved by the Program Coordinator. Students must take 9 credits of supporting courses (6 credits of which must have a grade of C or better).  Elective credits may be used to earn a minor, usually commencing in the fifth semester.  Please consult with your academic adviser for planning.

Career Paths

Concerns over drug safety, environmental quality, and occupational exposure to chemicals all lead to a high demand for specialists. Our major in Toxicology is one of only a handful of such programs in the United States. Graduates distinguish themselves with focused courses in toxicology and pharmacology while retaining the freedom to choose from a wide variety of courses in biomedicine and biotechnology.

Careers

Thanks to the specialization students can obtain in toxicology and pharmacology, there are plentiful employment opportunities for graduates after four years. Some of these opportunities include research positions in biotechnology or pharmaceutical firms, government or international health and environmental agencies, and academic research laboratories. Career possibilities can be found in the pharmaceutical industry, the biomedical industry, government laboratories, academic research and education, and private research organizations.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The Toxicology major can provide excellent preparation for professional and graduate programs. The major helps prepare students for graduate school in all biomedical and life science fields, including toxicology, pharmacology, biochemistry and cancer research. The direct relevance of the course work to human and animal health strongly attracts students interested in medicine and related fields, while the emphasis on biotechnology allows students to continue their education in professional programs including law and business.

Professional Resources

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF VETERINARY AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
115 Henning Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-5630
vetbiomedsci@psu.edu

http://vbs.psu.edu