Tips for Applying to Graduate School in Toxicology

Toxicology is a multidisciplinary area of science which encompasses many subject areas. A future in toxicology requires careful planning and foresight.

� Plan your career
� What kind of degree would you like to pursue? Depending on your goals you can either pursue a Masters or Doctoral Degree.
� Which subspecialties of toxicology are you interested in? Toxicologists work in many areas; academia, government, research, industry and professional services working as forensic toxicologists, neuro- toxicologists, clinical toxicologists, environmental toxicologists. They. Utilize the internet to narrow down your scope of interests.

� Plan your Education
� What are the pre-requisites for a toxicology program? Pre-requisites vary from program to program. Generally, you will require a Bachelors degree with advanced coursework in chemistry (notably organic chemistry), one year of general biology, a year of math (including calculus) and general physics. Other courses that you should take include Biochemistry and Physiology. Coursework in scientific writing is a plus and any extracurricular activities that demonstrate your effectiveness as a communicator and leader.
� What about your undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA)? A strong academic record enhances your chances of admission. Maintain a good GPA preferably over 3.0.
� Your GRE score is important. Take the exam at least nine months prior to your application deadline. Use the study guides. Practice so that you are familiar with the test format.
� Research and laboratory experience is also extremely important. You can develop your research and laboratory skill by working during the summer in a research lab or working as an undergraduate research assistant.
� A broad educational background can work to your advantage. As an undergraduate take courses outside your major and add to your experience. This adds character, personality and depth to your application.

� Start Looking for a Program Early
Once you’ve decided on toxicology, start the process of searching for programs early. It is important to select a program that suits you. With all the different programs available this will take time.

How do you decide which school has the right program?
âÂ?¢ Visit The Society of Toxicology’s Website . This website offers insights into the different aspects of the profession and a wealth of information and resources. The website also contains a comprehensive guide to the different schools and programs offered.

� Read Journals in Toxicology has list of different journals that can be accessed on-line. Find research areas that are of interest to you and contact the various authors and institutions they are affiliated with.

� This website offers an extensive list of schools offering graduate programs in toxicology.

� Choosing a School
There are many excellent academic programs in toxicology. The following list may help you decide.
âÂ?¢ What is the school’s teaching philosophy?
� Does the program have a good reputation?
� What kind of job placement percentage do graduates from the program have?
� Tuition and availability of financial support. How much does it cost? Is there financial aid or graduate assistantships available?
� What kinds of student support services are available?
� Where is the school located?
� How many students are enrolled in the program?

� Getting into the Program
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential programs it is now time to court the schools.
� Contact potential advisors and/or faculty members. Do this about four months before application deadlines. Dealing directly with potential advisors sets a good rapport and gives you an in, into the program.
� Write an excellent Statement of Purpose. Most programs require a Statement of Purpose as a part of the application process. This is a very important part of your application as this is where you state your case as to why you should be considered above other applicants. Do your homework; know the specific areas of research that the faculty members are involved. Be specific.
� Apply to a number of schools increasing your chances of acceptance.
âÂ?¢ Start Application process early. Have your complete application package done in advance of the school’s application deadline. Graduate school acceptances start before the application deadline date.
� Recommendations. Good solid recommendations are important. Talk to your potential recommenders and determine what kind of recommendations they will write. Give the recommender plenty of time.
� Follow ups. After your interview and campus visit, be sure to send Thank you cards or notes. Every little bit counts.

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