A Master of Science in Biology from Saint Joseph's University will increase your knowledge of life science topics and refine your skills as an experimental scientist.
The Master of Arts in Biology program at Saint Joseph’s University is designed for students looking to advance their careers across various scientific settings. The Biology MA program exposes you to all levels of biological organization, from the subcellular to the broad ecosystem. With a master’s in biology, you will receive training in specialized fields of biology, preparing you for opportunities in teaching, research, corporate settings or professional practice.
The Biology MA program at Saint Joseph’s University is designed to enhance your knowledge in the discipline of biology, covering topics such as advanced cell biology, biochemistry and microbiology. In your assignments and lab work, you are encouraged to bridge scientific interests with social justice in alignment with the mission of Saint Joseph’s University.
Through Saint Joseph's 4+1 program, current undergraduate students can start earning credits toward their Biology MA degree during their senior year. This unique option allows you to graduate with two degrees — a bachelor's and master's — in just five years, saving you time and money. Students from all majors are welcome to apply, but students majoring in areas outside of biology may be required to complete prerequisite coursework. Students interested in this program should apply to the graduate program in their junior year and be conditionally accepted before they complete their bachelor's degree.
What Sets Our Program Apart
You can choose to pursue your Master of Arts in Biology on a part-time or full-time basis. While most classes are offered on our campus in Philadelphia, some courses are also offered in an online format. Whether you choose to take a class online or on campus, you will have the same curriculum, assignments and instruction from expert faculty. Work at your own pace by choosing one, two or three courses per term.
The Department of Biology features extensive biology coursework for graduate students in areas such as:
- Advanced Cell Biology
- Bacterial Pathogenesis
- Comparative Anatomy
- Animal Behavior
Conduct research alongside expert faculty members in Saint Joseph’s state-of-the-art labs. The Department of Biology is housed in the Science Center, which is well-equipped for research and includes major equipment, such as:
- Scanning and confocal microscopes
- Tissue culture facilities
- Extensive vivarium & sophisticated plant growth chambers
- Rooftop greenhouse
- Experimental green roof
Saint Joseph’s University’s graduate biology program offers the opportunity to develop relationships with faculty, staff and mentors and participate in research design and execution. A small class size will allow you to have open discussions, reflections and collaborations.
If you are interested in learning more about cell and molecular biology or ecology and evolution, you will have the opportunity to take courses in one of those concentrations.
- Cell and Molecular Biology: You will learn how to map genomes, manipulate cells and develop biotech that can save lives and safeguard our planet.
- Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior: Coursework will focus on environmental science and microbiology, animal behavior, plant ecology and zoology.
Undergraduate students enrolled at Saint Joseph’s University with majors in biology or environmental science may be able to complete a combined five-year BS/MA or BS/MS degree. If you are interested in this 4+1 degree program, contact your advisor early in your undergraduate academic career.
What Can You Do With an MA in Biology?
As a master’s student in biology, you will have the opportunity to conduct research that will prepare you for careers in the following fields:
- Cell biology
- Environmental and molecular microbiology
- Behavioral genetics
- Evolutionary biology
- Animal behavior
Affordable tuition options start at $900 per credit.*
*This rate applies to all students accepted by Saint Joseph's University after June 1, 2023. Tuition and fee rates for students accepted prior to June 1, 2023 differ. Pricing does not include room and board, health insurance or any professional, clinical or transportation fees. Visit our Tuition & Fees page or contact us for more information.
Financial aid may be available to you to help offset the cost of your degree. Explore your options on our Financial Aid page.
Alumni of Saint Joseph's are eligible to receive 10% off the cost of this program through our alumni discount.
Have you completed a year or more of service with a recognized service organization? You may be eligible for our mission discount.
Check with your employer to see if they are an Edcor or a Bright Horizons EdAssist member, which may entitle you to a discount on graduate programs.
Note: discounts cannot be combined.
SJU is a Yellow Ribbon School that accepts GI education benefits. Our Office of Veterans’ Services can help you access and understand your benefits.
Why Study Biology at Saint Joseph's University?
Saint Joseph's University offers a rigorous biology program and robust selection of labs, greenhouses, equipment and technology for you to engage in hands-on research. Our facilities include:
- Tissue Culture Lab
- The Biodiversity Laboratory
- Greenhouse & Green Roof
- McNeil Science and Technology Center
- Brewing Lab
- Advanced Equipment in the Biology Department
Additionally, Saint Joseph's University is ideally located in Philadelphia. The heart of the health science industry, Philadelphia offers more than 250 medical facilities with countless job opportunities for graduates holding advanced degrees in biology.
To be considered for admission you must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and have earned an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Apply online.
- Submit official college transcripts from all colleges attended.
- Submit a personal statement.
- Submit resume.
- Submit two letters of recommendation.
Visit our Graduate Admission Information page to learn more about admission requirements, key deadlines, additional requirements for international students and how to submit your application.
Graduate applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. New students may enroll in courses during the fall and spring semesters.
- Fall: August
- Spring: January
If you’re applying as an international student, you must provide proof of English Language Proficiency and Certification of Finances along with your application. This program qualifies international students for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Check the graduate admission page for additional requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between an MA and MS in Biology?
The cornerstone of the graduate biology program at Saint Joseph’s University is scientific research. The program offers a small, hands-on learning environment leading to either a Master of Science or a Master of Arts in biology. While both programs provide graduate students with advanced training in a broad range of subjects within the life sciences, the Biology MA is designed for full- and part-time students and does not require a thesis project. However, MA students are strongly encouraged to participate in original research with biology faculty members to refine their skills as scientists.
Additionally, all students in the MA in biology program must take BIO 550 Research Techniques and at least one course from two of the three broad categories of biology:
- Evolution and Diversity
- Cell Structure and Function
- Systemic Organization
The Biology MS is a full-time program designed to be completed in two years. It requires the development and presentation of a thesis, based on original research you conduct with a member of the faculty in Saint Joseph’s biology department. Meanwhile, M.A. students — both full-time and part-time — have the opportunity to conduct research for credits without needing to complete a research thesis.