M.A. Martínez, M. Martínez, E. Ramos, A. Romero, V. Castellano, I. Ares

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (SPAIN)
The gradual adaptation of the studies in the Complutense University to the European Higher Education Area started in 2008-2009. According to this, at present the teaching of Toxicology takes place in the Degrees of Health Sciences. With the changes to their respective titles of degree, the different toxicology-related subjects have been adapted or transformed. On the other hand postgraduate education is expanding with the increasing supply of new masters in which the area of Toxicology is actively involved.
Most graduate toxicology programs have specific prerequisites for academic training. In addition to obtain a degree which including this subject are important specific prerequisites of study such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, etc.

For this reason, one of our main objectives is to establish a potential career plan, considering the various subspecialties in toxicology, such as neurotoxicology, chemical carcinogenesis, teratogenesis, etc., to determine if there is a specific field of research that is of particular interest to the students. For getting this objective, it is essential to have a frequent, early and effective communication as well as a positive feedback in support to students’ stimulations to acquire skills.

The grade students (over 600 total) of the different subjects given by our department explain a tutored work (in couples) on a topic of the subject, either a review or an innovative research published in scientific journals of high impact. Although choosing an early specialty in your graduate education does not certainly commit you to this direction, it will help you in deciding which programs are most likely to meet your needs. It is also useful to talk with other toxicologists in local universities, industries and governmental agencies to help student in the selection of a training program and future career direction. There are many different activities that can improve a subject; it must be the teacher the one who should select the suitable ones.

For postgrade students (over 80 total), it is also important to have skills in the laboratory, because they are tutored in experimental works which could be the basis of subsequent studies of a particular toxicology area and the beginning of their professional careers. These research works are usually long lasting so they require time and help by the teacher or tutor.

In conclusion, graduate and postgraduate students show consistency in articulating the benefits of tutored research works, which include enhanced knowledge currency, credibility, competence in supervision and enthusiasm/motivation. In addition to the 'generic' benefits of research identified by both groups, postgraduates emphasize the importance of the salience (interest, relevance and utility) of the lecturer research for the content of their learning.