Graduate Arts and Sciences


Biology Department

The Biology Department at Saint Joseph's University offers programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees in Biology. The M.S. program is full time and designed to be completed within two years. The M.A. program accommodates both full and part time students.

The goal of both programs is the advanced training of students in a broad range of subjects within the life sciences. Students in both the M.S. and M.A. programs are required to take both lecture and seminar style courses. The M.S. program focuses on not only increasing students’ factual understanding of a wide range of life science topics, but also on developing and refining their skills as experimental scientists. Therefore, all M.S. students are required to conduct original research under the guidance of a Biology faculty member. This research project typically spans two years. M.S. students then prepare a written thesis and give a public presentation of their findings as a department seminar.

The M.A. program is more focused on traditional course work. M.A. students are often seeking to improve their academic credentials in order to pursue admission to a professional school program, for promotion within the secondary education system, or within corporate settings. While the M.A. program is designed around traditional classroom experiences, students are also encouraged to participate in original research with Biology faculty members.

Students enrolled at SJU with majors in Biology or Environmental Science may be able to complete a combined 5-year BS/MA or BS/MS degree

Fields of Study

Research and courses are offered in wide range of biological disciplines, including molecular biology, microbiology, environmental biology, anatomy, behavior, plant biology, physiology, developmental biology, computer modeling, and mycology. Click here to see a list of the graduate Biology faculty and their research interests.  The department is well-equipped both for teaching and research at the undergraduate level.  Major equipment available includes transmission, scanning and confocal microscopes, tissue culture facilities, an extensive vivarium, and sophisticated plant growth chambers as well as a rooftop greenhouse and experimental green roof.  Some of these facilties can be viewed here

Financial Assistance

Full time M.S. students are eligible for graduate teaching assistantships that provide a stipend and a scholarship for tuition. Qualified students may find employment as assistants in introductory undergraduate laboratories.  

For more information about the graduate program, please contact Dr. Karen Snetselaar, Graduate Director, Department of Biology.  You can reach her by e-mail at or by phone at (610)660-1826.