Doctoral Studies

Ecotoxicology - Field

Brief description of field

Major objective of the 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 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).

Studies focus 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 application and development of information and modeling tools. One of important aims of ecotoxicology is to transfer the basic research results to the practical use in environmental risk assessment and rational protection of ecosystems.

Profile of a typical graduate

Graduates can further built 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. The aim of the doctoral studies in ecotoxicology is to promote deep theoretical knowledge with practical skills in laboratory experimental and field biology, environmental chemistry and analytics, risk assessment and environmental impact assessment including applications of geographical informational systems (GIS). Further, students are educated in the interdisciplinary fields such as molecular toxicology, population ecotoxicology, ecosystem informatics and modeling.

Requirements for applicants

Applicant should have good knowledge of biology and chemistry including ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry. Prior to application, supervisors (advisors) of the dissertation theses should be contacted, and based on the consultations, applicants prepare brief overview of the doctoral project including aims, problems and methods. Applicant will demonstrate skills to discuss selected research field. Good knowledge of English language is necessary for all doctoral students. Detailed requirements are discussed with the chair of the ecotoxicology doctoral commitee and individual doctoral advisors. During the entrance examination, the assessment board evaluates research qualities of the candidate (0-200 points) and English language skills (0-100 points). Student can enter the studies only if the more than 120 or 60 points are granted in the expertise part and English language part, respectively.

Study requirements and completion of studies

Studies of Ecotoxicology are based on internal standards of Masaryk University . Major duties include systematic experimental and scientific work on the dissertation project in close coordination and consultations with advisor. Further, students promote their theoretical knowledge by taking specific classes and exercises. During the studies, students are required to actively attend seminars, workshops and also international conferences to present their results. Dissertation thesis must be based on student's results documented by publications in impacted peer-reviewed international journals.

Individual study plan

Doctoral study is organized as the Individual Study Plan (ISP), which is updated and specified before each semester by a student together with his/her supervisor. ISP should allow to successfully graduate within standard duration of the study, and during the first four semesters it should optimally allow to student receive all necessary credits for (i) exams from advanced courses, (ii) active participation at specialized seminars, (iii) demonstration of good English skills (e.g. lecture at scientific forum), and (iv) for teaching and eventual other duties. During the 5th semester, student optimally requests the theoretical state doctoral exam, and ISPs for following semesters preferentially include work on doctoral research project and thesis. For students in a combined form, ISPs are prepared correspondingly and may contain alternative duties or tasks such as preparation of special lecture to seminar, literature research, preparation of materials for lectures or exercises, ad hoc help with organization of summer school(s) or similar activities. Progress and performance according to ISP is evaluated after each semester. In case the student does not fulfil the obligations of his/her ISP, the supervisor, doctoral committee and/or doctoral board can disagree with continuation of student’s studies.

Requirements for the theoretical doctoral exam

Student must complete at least 5 semesters before applying for doctoral state examination and must fulfil above-mentioned requirements, i.e.:

  • Credits for XD100 for every semester
  • Finishing courses enhancing knowledge in broader field and courses refining specialized knowledge (according to the requirements of study field)
  • At least 1-times credits for XD101
  • At least 4-times credits for XD102
  • At least 1-times credits for XD106
  • Credits for seminars (according to requirements of the study field)
  • At least 1-times credits for XD104**

If the theoretical examination is taken separately from the doctoral thesis defence, student elaborates the doctoral thesis topic** - the total of about 10-20 pages (+ list of references); includes the literature research + the theoretical introduction to the doctoral thesis; presents the objectives of the doctoral project. It may include the brief description of the state of project and the presentation of gained results. Doctoral thesis topic is submitted to the chair of field committee (or to the chair of examination committee respectively) in 4 copies 1 week before the theoretical part of DSE.

** Submission of doctoral thesis topic can be used to gain credit for XD104. The text should be used as the basis for the theoretical part of the doctoral thesis.

For the theoretical doctoral state examination broad understanding and orientation in fields of environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology and risk assessment. Detailed deep knowledge in domains directly linked to the doctoral project are required.

Requirements for doctoral thesis

In accordance with international standards, the preferred form of the doctoral thesis is commented set of original publications. The most appropriate form of presentation is the submission of the whole thesis in English.

The doctoral thesis is based on 3 publications** with these minimum requirements - at least one publication in journal with impact factor according to ISI WOS where the student is first author, and at least one other publication published or accepted with impact factor according to ISI WOS where student is at least co-author

** Requirement of three publications can be replaced by lower number of articles if student independently compiled large-scale research and the results were published in complex studies in the most prestigious academic journals.

In case the publications in the doctoral thesis are prepared with other co-authors, student must clearly indicate his/her part of work on every one of them.

The doctoral thesis contains theoretical introduction into the problem (total about 10-20 pages without references) and the part about student's own results (10-20 pages without references) which logically links individual pieces of works and puts the gained results into the context of current knowledge. Student must demonstrate his/her scientific overview and wider orientation in the field than in the specialized themes of individual articles.

Doctoral evaluation committee and reviewers of the thesis are nominated according to MU rules ("Studijní a zkušební řád"). Dean of the faculty nominates at minimum two independent reviewers (usually associate or full professors), none of them can be an employee of Masaryk University..

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages

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