Pharmacology and Toxicology

Pharmacology and Toxicology are biomedical sciences that explore the effects of chemicals on biological systems. Pharmacology focuses on the desirable or therapeutic effects of drugs and other chemicals while toxicology examines their adverse effects and how to improve them. Both sciences examine the mechanisms by which chemicals exert their beneficial or harmful effects.


Admission Information

  • Apply to the Life Sciences admission category on the St. George campus
  • Six Grade 12 U or M courses, including English and Calculus and Vectors are required
  • Senior high school credits in Biology and Chemistry are required for first-year courses
  • Senior high school Physics is recommended preparation
  • Students outside of Ontario should have the equivalent senior high school credits


Honours Bachelor of Science Programs

  • Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology (specialist)
  • Pharmacology (specialist and major options)
  • Biomedical Toxicology (specialist and major options)
  • Environment and Toxicology (specialist)


First-Year Courses

  • PCL 102H1 - The Art of Drug Discovery
  • PCL 200H1 - Drugs & the Brain

Please note that the foundation course for the specialist and major programs in pharmacology and toxicology is PCL 201H - Introduction to Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetic Principles, which is offered at the second-year level.


Advice for First Year

PCL 102H1 is designed to introduce students to the real world of drug discovery. It focuses on current and emerging approaches for the rational design of drugs and the modern toxicological techniques that examine their safety. PCL 102H is a science course that is open to all students. It can be used by non-science students toward their science distribution (breadth) requirement and is not required for admission to programs in pharmacology or toxicology.

Students who are interested in studying pharmacology and/or toxicology should take biology (BIO120H -- Adaptation and Biodiversity and BIO130H -- Molecular and Cell Biology), chemistry (CHM135H-- Chemistry: Physical Principles, formerly CHM139H and CHM136H-- Introductory Organic Chemistry I, formerly CHM138H or CHM151Y1 – Chemistry: The Molecular Science).

Students wishing to enrol in the Specialist programs should additionally complete at least one full course from math or physics: (MAT 135H1 or MAT136H1 – Calculus or MAT 137Y1 – Calculus or PHY 131H1 or  PHY 132H1 – Introduction to Physics, or PHY 151H1 and PHY 152H1 – Foundations of Physics).

Students wishing to apply to our programs will be asked to apply to a “general” Specialist or Major stream following first year.  After completion of PCL201H and second year courses they will then choose their specific program of interest (ie Pharmacology SPE or Biomedical Toxicology SPE).



Qualified pharmacologists are usually in demand by the pharmaceutical industry, universities, large hospitals, and government agencies, both within Canada and abroad.  Students often continue their studies at the graduate level (MSc or PhD) if they are interested in research or teaching at universities and colleges.

Direct career options include:

Biological technician Medical lab technician
Chemotherapist Pharmacy technician
Clinical chemist Regulatory Groups
Forensic specialist Research assistant
Government agencies
Laboratory technician Toxicologist
Medical information or medical writing


Pharmacology/Toxicology/Pharmaceutical Chemistry Internship

The Pharmacology/Toxicology/Pharmaceutical Chemistry (PTP) Internship program is associated with U of T’s Professional Experience Year Office. The program provides students an opportunity to apply the knowledge they have acquired in the first three years of their university training to a business/government environment during a 12-16 month project-based professional placement.

Students accepted into the Internship program have an excellent academic record with a minimum 3.0 CGPA (B average) following their 3rd year of study and be well-rounded individuals with a variety of non-academic interests, excellent social skills and a high degree of motivation.


Learn more about the Faculty of Arts & Science by reading our Viewbook


First Year