Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Toxicology


The purpose of the proposed Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Environmental Toxicology is to provide an academic structure through which students receive formal classroom education and strong guidance regarding complex research problems that evaluate toxic substances that are released into the environment. Doctoral graduates will be qualified to fill positions in universities, colleges, governmental agencies, foundations, and industry.


The objectives of the Doctor of Philosophy program in Environmental Toxicology are to provide skilled researchers with background to:


  • Develop and manage nationally and internationally recognized research programs which utilize the expertise of toxicologists, chemists, engineers, wildlife biologists, ecologists, statisticians and invertebrate biologists to determine the effects of environmental contaminants on humans and free-living populations of animals.

  • Increase our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of toxic response in humans, wildlife fish and other biological resources.

  • Assess the direct and indirect effects of environmental contaminants on humans, wildlife, fish and other biological resources.

  • Integrate research efforts with those of federal, state and local regulatory agencies, private industry and environmental groups to provide the highest quality scientific data upon which environmentally sound policy decisions can be made.

  • Provide classroom and laboratory instruction in Environmental Toxicology at the associate, baccalaureate and graduate teaching levels.

  • Interpret and communicate intramural and extramural technical data so that the general public as well as the scientific community will be able to develop informed opinions on the effects of toxic substances in the environment.



Deadlines and Time Limit

Although every effort will be made by both the Graduate Advisor and the student’s major advisor to inform the student of various university and department regulations and deadlines, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to abide by the regulations and meet the deadlines. Please visit the TTU Graduate School’s website for a complete list of deadlines.


Ph.D. Advisor/Committee

Supervision of each student is the responsibility of the student's major advisor, the advisory committee and the Environmental Toxicology program. During the first semester in the program, students will identify a major advisor who will supervise the research project and the day-to-day activities of the student. By the end of the first year, an advisory committee must be developed that will serve to provide breadth to the advisement and supervision of the student in course work, their research project and overall graduate experience. Program supervision will be maintained by annual reviews of the students’ progress performed under the guidelines of the graduate program and reviewed by a subcommittee of program faculty.


Doctoral Degree Plan

All doctoral students must submit a “Doctoral Degree Plan Form” to the Graduate School. This form should list all coursework (core, seminars, broadening, laboratory-based broadening, research, and dissertation hours). The Doctoral Degree Plan Form should be submitted as soon as possible but no later than the end of the second semester of enrollment in the Ph.D. degree program. The student’s major advisor must review it, and the Graduate Advisor will approve the Degree Plan if it meets the Environmental Toxicology program’s requirements.


Qualifying Examinations

Each student pursuing a doctoral degree in Environmental Toxicology at Texas Tech University will be required to complete a qualifying examination, composed of a written and an oral component, prior to their advancement to candidacy. The student is eligible for the qualifying examination after receiving approval of the Doctoral Degree Plan from the Dean of the Graduate School. Students must take this examination within one calendar year of completing all requirements listed on the degree plan. All coursework (except research, dissertation, and seminar credit hours) for the degree must be completed prior to the qualifying examinations.


The written examination will test the student’s competence in the topics considered fundamental to the study of Environmental Toxicology, and its successful completion will be considered a prerequisite for advancement to the oral examination. The oral examination will be administered through the student’s advisory committee and will focus on topics covered in the written examination plus those topics deemed relevant by the student’s committee.


Advancement to Candidacy

If the qualifying examination is satisfactory, the Chair of the student’s advisory committee will complete the “Qualifying Exam Report” to request that the student be admitted to candidacy.  The Graduate Program Coordinator will submit it to the Graduate School.


If the qualifying examination is not satisfactory, the Chair of the student’s advisory committee will complete the “Qualifying Exam Report” to request that the student not be admitted to candidacy. The Graduate Program Coordinator will submit it to the Graduate School.


A student who does not pass the qualifying examination may repeat it after at least four months and not more than twelve months from the date of unsatisfactory examination. Doctoral students must be admitted to candidacy no less than four months prior to the candidate’s proposed date of graduation.



The doctoral dissertation represents original research conducted by the student under the direction of their major advisor and advisory committee. The final copy of the dissertation must be submitted electronically in PDF format as an Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD). ETD documents must be prepared in accordance with the Graduate School’s formatting guidelines. Please visit  for more information.


Final Oral Examination and Defense of Dissertation

All students obtaining a Ph.D. degree will be required to pass a qualifying examination, complete a dissertation, and defend the dissertation in a final examination. The qualifying examination will be in the form of both a written and an oral exam. The dissertation represents a scholarly presentation of work performed under the guidance of the student’s advisory committee. The final examination will be given in the form of a public dissertation defense presentation and a final oral examination by the student’s advisory committee. The student or their major advisor must choose a graduate faculty member to serve as the Graduate Dean’s Representative during the defense and final oral examination. Guidelines for the qualifying exam, dissertation and final examination will follow those described in the Texas Tech University Graduate Catalog.


Additional Graduation Requirements

During the semester of intended graduation, an “Intent to Graduate” must be filed online at the Graduate School. Since exact deadlines for these requirements vary with the semester, the most recent university calendar should be consulted.


Ninety-Nine Hour Rule

This rule applies to all doctoral students. Students not making timely progress toward completion of the doctoral degree are subject to termination by the Graduate Dean. The Texas Legislature has capped fundable graduate study at 99 doctoral hours for most programs and may impose sanctions upon universities permitting registration for excess hours. Doctoral students with more than 99 doctoral hours will be required to pay out-of-state tuition, regardless of residence status. The maximum time allowed for completing the doctoral degree is eight years from the first doctoral semester or four years from admission to candidacy, whichever comes first. The Graduate Dean must approve exceptions or extensions in advance.


 © The Department of Environmental Toxicology (ENTX)  - All Rights Reserved

1207 Gilbert Drive • Box 41163   •   Lubbock, Texas   •   Tel: 806-742-4567

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Updated 09/01/21

The Department of Environmental Toxicology (ENTX) is the academic home for the core faculty of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) and the Institute for Forensic Science (IFS) at Texas Tech University. TIEHH and IFS provide faculty and graduate students opportunities for multidisciplinary research and scholarly engagement related to environmental, forensic and human health sciences.