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Chemical Risk Assessment PGCert

Subject area: Environmental Sciences Apply full-time
Mode of study

12 months full-time; 36 months part-time

PG Code


Start date


Chemical Risk Assessment PGCert


Please note the application deadline for this course is Friday 25th August 2017. Any applications after this date will be considered on an individual basis, subject to course vacancies.

Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2016, students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2016/17 of up to £10,000. Find out more

About the course

The Postgraduate Certificate in Chemical Risk Assessment caters for the current global need for professionals who are competent in conducting hazard and risk evaluation of chemical substances.


The aim is to support professionals already in employment in advancing their knowledge in specific areas, as well as developing their careers. The course is comprised of four intensive block modules and is delivered by experts from academia, industry and regulatory bodies to ensure students receive the most current and comprehensive training on chemical risk assessment and regulation.


Tutor: Dr Elisabete Silva

Course Content

The course comprises four (15 credit) modules:

Designing, Analysing and Interpreting (Eco) Toxicological Studies

This module covers the principles of Toxicological and Ecotoxicological study design, with an emphasis on setting up a study and analysing and interpreting data.

Students are introduced to dose-response modelling and learn how to select appropriate dose-response models according to categories of toxicological response (quantal, continuous, count data, ordinal categorical measures). The concept of statistical power and its implications for study design in terms of dose group size are covered, as well as the use of estimates of low doses (no-observed-adverse-effect levels, benchmark doses) for deriving health-based guidance values such as acceptable daily intakes and their ecotoxicological equivalents (predicted no-effect-concentrations).

This module is delivered in the autumn term as a block module over three consecutive weeks, two days per week.

Module dates: 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th November, 1st, 2nd December 2016.

Chemical Regulation and Legislation in the EU

This module covers the general features of relevant EU pieces of Chemical regulation, including Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Water Framework Directive (WFD), Plant Protection Products Regulation (PPPR) and Cosmetics Regulation. Classification and labelling topics (GHS & CLP) are also explored. The teaching sessions are in the form of seminars and structured debates, where students can discuss EU legislation, its strengths and limitations, and the level of protection it offers the health of Humans and Wildlife.

This module is delivered in the autumn term as a block module on 5 consecutive working days.

Module dates: 20th – 26th October 2016.

Mixture Toxicology and Cumulative Risk Assessment

The module provides an introduction to the concept of mixture toxicology.

Students have hands-on experience with analysing data and applying the principles of designing mixture experiment. Topics covered include: introduction to mixture toxicology, additivity, synergisms and antagonisms; the use of mixture assessment concepts (dose addition and independent action) to derive quantitative expectations about additive effects from toxicity data on mixture components; data handling and data analysis; the design of experimental mixture studies; combination effects at low doses and dose and effect thresholds in the context of mixtures (“when is a mixture safe?”). Cumulative risk assessment concepts for use in regulatory practice are also covered (hazard index approach, point of departure approach, toxicity equivalency concept).

This module is delivered in the Spring term as a block module on 5 consecutive working days.

Module dates: 8th - 14th February 2017.

Current Practice in Chemical Risk Assessment

The module deals with the concepts and approaches that are currently used in human and ecotoxicological risk assessment. The emphasis is on case studies (e.g. from EU pesticide draft assessment reports), where data use and interpretation are practised in a “hands-on” way.

The main focus of the module is the identification of hazards on the basis of minimal data, fundamentals of exposure assessment (modelling approaches, monitoring and sampling, human biomonitoring) and analysis and interpretation of toxicity data, particularly in terms of data gaps, data quality and the use of non-guideline test systems.

This module is delivered in the Spring term as a block module on 5 consecutive working days.

Module dates: 15th – 21st March 2017.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.

Special Features

  • European chemicals legislation gives equal importance to the protection of human and environmental health. An application of this is that, when evaluating the hazards associated with existing or novel chemicals, there is a need to consider the impact for both humans and the environment. This PGCert provides full integration between human and ecotoxicology, as it has been designed such that every subject (e.g. chemical risk assessment) is covered from both human and environmental perspective. This approach is unique and innovative as it ensures students have an all-encompassing overview of the hazards posed by chemicals, and is not solely focused on either human or ecotoxicology.
  • Adult learning happens more productively if students are faced with realistic, challenging problems which direct the learning process. With that in mind, in this PGCert, learning will be based on carefully selected, relevant “real-world” scenarios and case-studies derived from the cutting edge of practice, which will be used to illustrate basic and complex principles throughout the course.


The credits achieved with this PGCert will contribute to the graduate’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and towards the requirement to register or revalidate registration with the UK Register of Toxicologists.

Teaching and Assessment


The course uses ‘real-world’ scenarios and case studies to illustrate fundamental principles and concepts. It provides hands-on experience of the methods and approaches currently used to evaluate toxicity and assess the risk posed by chemicals to human and environmental health.

A large range of teaching methods are utilised in this course, to ensure the expected learning outcomes are met. These include problem-based learning sessions (PBLs), tutorials, seminars, structured debates and lectures. The course places great emphasis on developing self-directed, independent learning.

In order to develop professional and transferable skills, students are encouraged to attend workshops offered by Brunel’s Graduate School on subjects such as presentation skills, English pronunciation for non-native speakers, career planning, CV writing and job application, and entrepreneurial skills, among others.


The programme includes a variety of assessment methods ranging from individual and group coursework assignments, oral presentations and poster presentations.

In addition to summative assessment, all modules include various forms of self-, peer and formative assessment.


It is expected that graduates from this programme will be qualified and in demand for positions within industry (pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetics etc), regulatory and government bodies (human and environmental health protection), contract laboratories, academia and further education (PhD) dealing with chemical safety, both in the area of human and ecotoxicology.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2017/18 entry

UK/EU students: £2,500 full-time; £1,250 part-time

International students: £5,250 full-time; £2,625 part-time

Additional course related costs

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Entry Criteria 2017/18

You will require a UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a relevant scientific discipline such as biology, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental sciences or other life-sciences related disciplines. Applicants with a third class honours degree or other qualifications will be considered if supported by science A-level (or equivalent) and relevant work experience. Such applicants may be required to attend an interview. Further details can be found on the course page online.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.