Ecotoxicology (Eng.) – Field of study catalogue MU
“Learn, discover, prove and apply”
The major objective of Ecotoxicology is to study and understand the fate and effects of chemicals (and other stressors) released by human activities on living organisms in ecosystems (including also effects in humans but focusing more specifically on other biota). Ecotoxicology studies the effects of xenobiotics and biotoxins at all levels (i.e. understanding biochemical and cellular mechanisms of toxicity, studying effects in individuals as well as in populations or communities). The programme focuses on interactions between (i) environmental characteristics (bioavailability, biotransformations), (ii) levels of stressors in the environment, and (iii) their biological effects (acute or chronic including genotoxicity). Ecotoxicology studies the influence of environmental stressors on all major functional groups of organisms (producers, consumers, destruents) in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The activities also include the application and development of information and modelling tools. One of the important aims of ecotoxicology is to transfer the basic research results to the practical use in environmental risk assessment and rational protection of ecosystems.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- independently perform research within toxicology and ecotoxicology areas
- describe principles of experimental and field methods
- plan, conduct and interpret results and data from individual studies
- prepare detailed profiles of environmental and human health risks of chemical toxicants
- use the knowledge for rational protection of ecosystems and human health
Graduates can further build their careers in the research area focused on the problems linked with environmental contamination (environmental chemistry) and its effects in organisms (biology, toxicology, carcinogenesis, ecotoxicology). Graduates can also find positions in the fields of applied environmental quality control, ecosystem protection, regulatory or industrial laboratories, private consultancy companies. Further, students are educated in the interdisciplinary fields such as molecular toxicology, population ecotoxicology, ecosystem informatics and modeling.
1. Students must obtain the values of credits equal to thirty times the length of studies in the number of semesters. It means 240 credits for the standard length of studies of 4 years.
2. Students work primarily on their doctoral thesis (XD100). The credit value increases during the studies in accordance with the time spent. The credit value should range from one half to two thirds of the minimum credit value (120 – 160 credits for 4 years of studies).
3. In the first year of studies, students study relevant literature and register the course XD101. Students compile material into a literature search (XD104) in Czech or English
4. Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in English. The competency can be obtained in courses (English for Biology, Academic English etc.), i.e. fulfilling the requirements of the course XD106 (next point).
5. During the course of studies, obligatory before submitting an application to the theoretical part of the doctoral state examination (DSE), students must gain a credit for giving a lecture in a foreign (English) language at a specialized technical forum (XD106).
6. During the course of studies (not obligatory before application to the theoretical part of DSE), students gain a credit for a publication in a foreign language submitted to a journal or proceedings (XD105).
7. Student are obliged to assist with instructions (teaching) in Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes (XD102). The assistance includes actual lecturing and help with practical exercises and other activities at MU or RECETOX. The credit value registered for fulfilling XD102 - Ecotoxicology 2-4 credits/semester.
8. During the standard 4 years of studies (eight semesters), students enrol and attend specialised seminars relevant to the field of their study - mandatory: Advanced seminar in ecotoxicology (ED101), recommended: MU Life Science Seminar (XD010 during spring semester or XD011 for autumn semester)
9. Obligations for the combined form – seminars and assistance in lecturing (XD102). At the beginning of every semester (eventually at the beginning of a school year), supervisor assigns the student with obligations/tasks replacing the mandatory attendance of seminar(s). At the end of the school year, the supervisor evaluates the fulfilment of these preassigned tasks to give the credits.
10. Specialized courses (a) broaden and enhance the students' knowledge in the field and (b) refine specialized knowledge. It is recommended to attend these advanced courses during thes first four semesters of the studies. The minimum amount of courses for Ecotoxicology – 2 courses enhancing knowledge in a broader field and 4 courses refining specialized knowledge.
11. Possible alternative in any semester is Foreign Fellowship (XD103) or Placement Abroad (XD110). The content of the fellowship or placement should relate to the topic of the doctoral thesis. Suggested credit values: 1 week = 5 cr, 1 month = 10 cr, 1 semester = 30 kr.
Doctoral studies automatically integrate practical trainings. This includes specifically work on the doctoral project. In addition, students are motivated to participate at international research stays and internships as described in the section on Rules and conditions for the creation of study plans.
Requirements for doctoral state examination
Students must complete at least 5 semesters before applying for the doctoral state examination and must fulfil the above-mentioned requirements, i.e.:
> Credits for XD100 for every semester
> Finishing courses enhancing knowledge in a broader field and courses refining specialized knowledge (according to the requirements of the study programme)
> At least 1-times credits for XD101
> At least 4-times credits for XD102
> At least 1-times credits for XD106
> Credits for field seminars (according to the requirements of the study programme)
> At least 1-times credits for XD104
If the theoretical examination is taken separately from the doctoral thesis defence, the student elaborates the "doctoral thesis topic"
For the theoretical doctoral state examination, a broad understanding and orientation in the fields of DSE and detailed deep knowledge in domains directly linked to the doctoral project are required.
Fields of doctoral state examination: (i) Environmental chemistry, (ii) Ecotoxicology and human toxicology, (iii) Risk assessment
Requirements for the doctoral thesis
In accordance with international standards, the preferred form of the doctoral thesis is a commented set of published, accepted or prepared to be published articles or manuscripts. The most appropriate form of presentation is the submission of the whole thesis in English.
The doctoral thesis is based on 3 publications and/or manuscripts with defined minimum requirements. In case the articles and manuscripts in the doctoral thesis or submitted to defence are written with other co-authors, the student must clearly indicate their part of work on every one of them.
The doctoral thesis contains a theoretical introduction into the problem (total about 10-20 pages without references) and the part about their own results (10-20 pages without references) which logically links individual pieces of works (subprojects, articles, manuscripts) and puts the gained results into the context of current knowledge. Sstudent must demonstrate their scientific overview and wider orientation in the field than in the specialized themes of individual articles.
Doctoral study in Ecotoxicology is the highest stage of the studies.