Basic Principles of Toxicology Overview

Basic Principles of Toxicology Overview

How this course works

  • The short course consists of 4 topics with 25 multiple choice questions embedded throughout.
  • You can start and complete the short course at any time, and so work at your own pace. The suggested study time-frame for completion is 5 hours per week for 5 weeks. Some may require less and others more time, depending on your background knowledge and the time spent on researching each topic.
  • You are not alone – there is a discussion forum available for you to meet other students and the facilitator, as well as comment and ask questions. Other forms of communication, such as webinars will be facilitated, depending on need.
  • A number of links to genuine articles and resources are included throughout the course text and assessments. It is expected you review each of these.

About This Course

Welcome to the UNE Boost Basic Principles of Toxicology short course! This first short course provides an overview of toxicological concepts and covers the following topics:

  1. What is toxicology?
  2. Factors that influence toxicity
  3. Basics of toxicology and risk assessment
  4. Cause and effect versus association in toxicology

We have aimed to keep this course authentic and relevant for regulatory scientists in agencies, government and industry. It features toxicological case studies and scenarios that have arisen from the regulation of chemicals, including medicines.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes have been divided into three categories. These categories describe the journey of learning, articulated as:

  1. Knowledge –  This is essentially the basic core content you will learn. This category will provide an outline of the theories, concepts and information that will be covered.
  2. Reasoning – this category builds on the core knowledge and articulates how you will apply your newly acquired knowledge within the course framework.
  3. Skills – The skills section identifies the soft skills that are being refined throughout the course, as you engage with the content, your peers and your facilitator.

The learning outcomes for ‘Basic Principles of Toxicology’ are articulated below. At the end of this course, you should be able to:


  • Define toxicology and explain its role in the scientific community, and in society more generally
  • Explain basic toxicology concepts such as poison, dose, absorption, exposure and mode of action
  • Contrast between concepts such as  hazard vs risk, and cause/effect vs association
  • Present ways to assess disagreement in toxicology


  • Apply toxicological concepts to a range of real world scenarios
  • Distinguish between valuable and irrelevant disagreements in toxicology
  • Judge the strength of a cause and effect relationship using authentic data


  • Apply critical and strategic thinking to toxicological case studies


The assessment for this short course is 25 multiple choice quiz questions that are included within each topic. The questions are mostly based on case studies and scenarios in order to apply what you have been learning.

Upon completion of this short course you will gain one credit point that can count towards a UNE, six credit point unit. This unit may in turn count towards the Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice or other relevant award at UNE.

Completion of the short course and competency will be achieved with a pass mark of 100% correct answers in the quiz questions. You will have an unlimited number of attempts to answer each quiz question.

Once this has been achieved, a UNE Boost Basic Principles of Toxicology Course certificate will be awarded.

Toxicology Suite of Courses

The suite of Toxicology short courses to be offered are:

  1. Basic principles of toxicology (1 cp)
  2. Toxicology and dose response (1 cp) – coming soon
  3. Toxicology testing and risk assessment (1 cp) – coming soon
  4. Toxicokinetics: What your body does to the chemical (1 cp) – coming soon
  5. Toxicodynamics: What the chemical does to your body (1 cp) – coming soon
  6. Capstone: Chemical classes and regulatory toxicology (1 cp) – coming soon


The content for this short course was developed by

  • Associate Professor Rhian Cope, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, Armidale, NSW 2350.
  • Professor Trevor Brown, School of Science and Technology, UNE, Armidale, NSW 2351
  • Dane Lyddiard, School of Science and Technology, UNE, Armidale, NSW 2351

The specific contributions from Assoc. Prof. R.B. Cope do not necessarily reflect any official position of the Government of Australia or any of its departments or agencies.

Learning and platform design was undertaken by the UNE Teaching and Learning team: Michael Bryne, Lisa Bugden, Steve Carruthers, Trish Donald, Madeleine Murphy, Raph Roberts, Jessica Fitzgerald and Aliya Steed.

The UNE Boost project has been led and managed by Associate Professor David Miron and Sarah Loxley.