Specialist in Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology (Science Program) - ASSPE2340

Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology are complementary sciences, and the Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology Specialist combines the requirements of the two distinct specialist programs. The Specialist program integrates knowledge of pharmacology – the understanding of the therapeutic properties and clinical applications of externally administered chemical substances in the whole body and the mechanisms of their actions and interactions with their intended targets, while biomedical toxicology examines the harmful effects of exogenous chemicals on the health and behaviour of individuals and society, addressing drug safety and the adverse consequences of chemical exposure. Biomedical toxicology includes understanding the safety/toxicity of a wide array of chemicals (pharmaceutical preparations, herbal products, natural toxins and environmental contaminants) with a focus on their effects and adverse consequences on human health.

Both Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology are integrative life sciences which build on the core foundational disciplines of the basic life sciences and the prominent role each science plays in society. A comprehension of the biological mechanisms of action and potential uses of chemicals are key to career success in the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing. The Specialist program prepares students for a variety of job opportunities following its completion as well as for further study in graduate research or professional programs such as Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. (Note: Students interested in professional programs should contact the respective faculties to inquire about specific transfer credits.) Graduates of this rigorous program will have access to an impressive variety of job opportunities in either research-based or non-research-based careers, including scientific research in research institutes and in universities, positions in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemical industries, forensic science, nutrition and food sciences, government or consulting agencies. Students learn about both basic and clinical pharmacology and biomedical toxicology through lectures, tutorials, small group sessions, laboratories and independent research projects. The senior research project course enables students to gain valuable research experience while working under the supervision of an individual faculty member in either a laboratory-based or a non-laboratory-based setting.

This is a limited enrolment program. Students must have completed 4.0 credits and meet the requirements listed below to enrol.

Variable Minimum Grade or Variable Minimum Grade Average
A minimum grade/minimum grade average in required courses is needed for entry, and this minimum changes each year depending on available spaces and the number of applicants. The following courses or their equivalents must be completed:

Students who have completed 4.0 to 7.5 credits can apply directly to ASSPE2340 using the following courses:

Students who have completed at least 8.0 credits and who are already enrolled in ASSPE2340 have the option of remaining in the program until completion or may enrol themselves in ASSPE2082 or ASSPE2573 on ACORN.

Students who have completed at least 8.0 credits but who are not already enrolled in ASSPE2340 must apply using the following courses:

To ensure that students admitted to the program will be successful, applicants with a final grade lower than 65% in each course, or a combined grade average lower than 75% in these required courses will not be considered for admission. Please note that obtaining this minimum final grade or minimum grade average does not guarantee admission to the program. The underlying numeric final mark in each of your courses required for program enrolment will be used by the relevant academic unit to determine your eligibility.

Applications from students lacking numerical grades in one or more of the specified prerequisites, or students applying in their second or later years, may be considered on the basis of their entire academic record and the availability of space in the program. In addition to applying through ACORN, students applying in their second year or later are asked to please contact the department directly at undergrad.pharmtox@utoronto.ca, specify which program you would like to be considered for, and provide your student number. Please consult the Arts & Science Program Toolkit for more information on program enrolment.

Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP)

Students in this program have the option to request enrolment in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream. Students can apply for the ASIP stream after Year 1 (Year 2 entry) or after Year 2 (Year 3 entry, starting Fall 2024). Full details about ASIP, including student eligibility, selection and enrolment, are available in the ASIP section of the Arts & Science Academic Calendar. Please note that the majority of students enter ASIP in Fall term of Year 2. Space is more limited for Year 3 entry and there are program-specific year 3 entry enrolment requirements. Students applying for Year 3 entry must have been admitted to the Specialist in Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology in the Summer after Year 2 and completion of PCL201H1 (with a minimum grade of 77%), PSL300H1 and PSL301H1.


  • While it is difficult to predict what will be competitive course marks and average in a given year, based on previous years, the estimate is: course marks = mid 80s; average = mid 80s.
  • Students wishing to enroll in the Pharmacology Specialist (ASSPE2082) or Biomedical Toxicology Specialist (ASSPE2573) will initially apply to the Joint Specialist in Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology (ASSPE2340). After admission, students can then choose to transfer to the Biomedical Toxicology Specialist. First and second year courses are the same for all Specialist programs within the Department (ASSPE2082/ASSPE2340/ASSPE2573).
  • Students cannot combine the Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology Specialist with either departmental Major programs (Biomedical Toxicology or Pharmacology).
  • Students wishing to enroll after their second year who have taken PCL201H1 will be considered on a case by case basis. Successful completion of required pre-requisite courses is required to further enroll in upper level program courses. Students may not transfer to the Major program from the Specialist after completion of PCL472Y1/​ PCL474Y1 courses or INT300H1/​ INT301H1 in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP).

(14.5 credits)

First Year: BIO120H1, BIO130H1, ( CHM135H1, CHM136H1)/ CHM151Y1, and 1.0 credit from any combination of ( MAT135H1, MAT136H1)/ MAT137Y1/​ MAT157Y1, PHY131H1/​ PHY151H1, PHY132H1/​ PHY152H1 (see NOTE 1)

Students in this program have the option to enrol in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream.

Second Year: BCH210H1, BIO230H1/​ BIO255H1, BIO260H1/​ HMB265H1, CHM247H1/​ CHM249H1, STA288H1, PCL201H1, ( PSL300H1, PSL301H1) (NOTE: PSL201Y1 is not acceptable)

Third Year: BCH311H1/​ PSL350H1, PCL302H1, PCL381H1, at least one 0.5 credit from PCL367H1 or PCL368H1 (see NOTE 2)

Third or Fourth Year: LMP363H1, PCL469H1, and 1.5 credits from the following courses: JPM300H1/​ PCL345H1/​ PCL362H1 / PCL367H1 or PCL368H1 (see NOTE 2)/ PCL386H1/​ PCL389H1/​ PCL475H1/​ PCL476H1/​ PCL477H1/​ PCL484H1/​ PCL490H1/​ JPM400Y1/​ LMP301H1. Additional courses that may strengthen your background in this program can be taken, but will not count towards your program: ANA300Y1/​ ANA301H1/​ BCH340H1/​ CHM310H1/​ ESS463H1

Fourth Year: PCL402H1; PCL470H1; ( PCL482H1, PCL483H1); PCL472Y1/​ PCL474Y1/​ JPM400Y1 (see NOTE 3)

An Integrative, Inquiry-Based Activity Requirement must be satisfied.

The requirement for an integrative, inquiry-based and/or experiential activity must be met by completing at least one of the following: PCL297H1, PCL389H1, PCL397Y0, PCL472Y1, PCL474Y1, JPM400Y1. Students who complete the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) will also meet this requirement.


  1. Any PHY/MAT courses should be completed during the first year and included for program enrolment.
  2. At least one 0.5 credit from PCL367H1 or PCL368H1 is required for the program, however if desired the alternative course can be taken as a program elective.
  3. Enrolment in any of PCL472Y1/​ PCL474Y1 or JPM400Y1 is limited and requires permission from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Students must receive prior consent from the course coordinator according to Departmental guidelines before the Department will register them in the course. Students can take either course as their required independent project, or may take JPM400Y1 as an additional elective. It is the student’s responsibility to make all necessary preparations before the session starts (see course description).
  4. Students wishing to apply their Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) towards the requirement to complete PCL472Y1/​ PCL474Y1/​ JPM400Y1 should reach out to undergrad.pharmtox@utoronto.ca.