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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BMSC2214 Introduction to Toxicology

10 creditsClass Size: 250

Module manager: Dr Christopher Bowmer

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Most people already know a great deal about toxicology without realizing it. This module will help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the adverse effects of chemicals so that you can form your own opinion about the potential harm exposure to chemicals may cause. You will be introduced to the history of toxicology and to the principles of the subject. You will learn about the treatment of poisoning; how toxins from animals, micro-organisms and plants produce their deadly effects and how some chemicals and ionizing radiation affect a) embryo/foetal development and b) induce carcinogenesis by damaging DNA. There will be an opportunity to research the toxicology of some important drugs, environmental contaminants and industrial chemicals. The module is taught in semester 2 with aid of lectures and case studies of a variety of toxicological topics.


Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:
- research and write about a topic appropriate to the study of human toxicology;
- engage, with greater confidence, in self-directed learning;
- outline the basic principles of toxicology;
- explain the historical background to toxicology;
- describe the approaches to the treatment of chemical poisoning;
- describe some important developmental toxicants;
- state how some toxins from animals, micro-organisms and plants act on man;
- describe the toxicological importance of environmental contaminants such as heavy metals;
- explain how some chemical carcinogens and ionizing radiation damage DNA, and
- demonstrate an understanding of the principles of risk assessment and management.


This module provides a broad introduction to the subject of human toxicology. It considers: the basic principles of toxicology; poisons and the treatment of poisoning, toxins from animals, micro-organisms and plants, the toxicology of some important environmental contaminants such as heavy metals, how chemicals adversely affect embryo/foetal development; chemical and radiation-induced carcinogenesis, and the principles of risk assessment and management.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours82.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

36 hours - preparation for lectures
46 hours - preparation for MCQ examinations

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In-course MCQ examination

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQ1 x in-course MCQ25.00
In-course MCQFormative assessment - in-course MCQ exam0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)25.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Exam with advance information on questions1 hr 30 mins75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)75.00

The examination will consist of an equally weighted unseen MCQ section covering the entire syllabus and a seen essay section from which students choose one question from a menu of three.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 05/08/2019


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