Forensic Toxicology

Forensic toxicology is a sub-discipline of forensic science that is concerned with the study of toxic substances or poisons. Toxicology encompasses methods and procedures from many disciplines, including chemistry, biochemistry, epidemiology, pharmacology, pathology, and physiology.

Toxicologists are essentially applied scientists and therefore will have a strong interest in the sciences and math. The certificate, when combined with a major in a laboratory science such as chemistry, provides preparation for both the American Board of Forensic Toxicology and the National Registry in Clinical Chemistry certification exams. These certifications can lead to careers in hospital, crime, or commercial laboratories, as well as with law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, or private testing companies.

Students of forensic toxicology obtain knowledge about the absorption, distribution, and elimination of drugs, poisons, metals, gasses, and other substances that can harm the human body. This information can be critical in homicide cases and other criminal investigations.

The work of a forensic toxicologist requires patience and the ability to follow specific steps in a set manner to achieve reliable results. The field is constantly being updated in terms of new developments and techniques and is best suited for individuals with the willingness to learn and update their skills continuously. Many of the tests that toxicologists perform also require excellent fine motor skills.

UWM also offers certificates in Forensic Science and in Death Investigation. All three certificate programs are jointly sponsored by the College of Letters & Science, the College of Health Professions and Sciences, and the College of Community Engagement and Professions. Students take coursework across all of these areas including biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry, anthropology, and criminal justice.

Download our fact sheet to the right to learn more about the classes that are part of the forensic toxicology certificate.

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