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Toxicology: Meet One Of Penn State’s Smallest Majors

Penn State has always prided itself on its science and engineering majors. Some of its earliest major options were majors focused on agricultural sciences, and the College of Agricultural Sciences has been going strong ever since. From BioRenewable Systems to Landscape Contracting, the college offers 17 different undergraduate majors. One of the more specialized Ag majors, however, is Toxicology. It also happens to be one of Penn State’s smallest majors.

Toxicology at Penn State is “the only [toxicology program] that blends molecular/cellular and environmental studies of toxicology and pharmacology.” In the world of chemistry, molecules can either act as toxins or drugs based on very small differences between the two. Toxicology explores and studies these differences and transitions the knowledge learned to the real world to help the general population.

Though the major is small, it provides its students with the skills needed to succeed outside of Penn State. During their time at Penn State, Toxicology students are able to conduct research and develop their professional skills to “apply their expertise to a broader health and societal context.” According to the College of Agricultural Sciences, the Toxicology program prepares students to “exhibit specialized competencies in toxicology and pharmacology.”

The toxicology program at Penn State may have a small enrollment, but the major is highly specialized. According to the College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State is one of only ten majors in toxicology and pharmacology in the United States. Furthermore, it is only one of two toxicology majors in the country offered by a natural sciences college. This makes the chances of being hired after graduation significantly higher, especially in growing fields like toxicology and pharmacology. And speaking of post-graduation, careers in toxicology are plentiful. Graduates have the opportunity to enter into positions with pharmaceuticals research and development, the biomedical industry, laboratories, and research.

Ultimately, the toxicology major at Penn State allows for its students to excel and thrive in their studies. Take Brooke Osbourne, for example. According to a Penn State News story from 2010, Osbourne was able to accomplish quite a lot of work as a toxicology student. During her time at Penn State, she was able to conduct research abroad and specialize her major even more to ecotoxicology. Toxicology at Penn State proves that though a major may not be as popular as English or Mechanical Engineering, it may still offer students a world of opportunities.

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About the Author

Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman is a writer for Onward State. His hometown is North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, a little under an hour from Pittsburgh. He is a sophomore majoring in Natural Resource Engineering in Biological Engineering. Please e-mail questions and comments to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @cole_man2.


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