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.

Fields of Study

Research and courses are offered in the areas of 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. Click here to see an announcement about the affiliation allowing SJU Biology MS students to engage in thesis research at the Lankenau Medical Research Institute.


Faculty research laboratories, as well as the departmental teaching labs, are well-equipped. Major equipment includes transmission and scanning electron microscopes, preparative and ultracentrifuges, tissue culture facilities, video documentation systems, plant growth facilities, one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis equipment, an automated DNA sequencing system, an extensive vivarium and a large teaching and research collection of plants in a roof top greenhouse and amphibians, reptiles and fish housed in several rooms on the first and second floors.

Financial Assistance

Full time M.S. students are eligible for graduate teaching assistantships that provide a stipend and a scholarship for tuition. Applicants to the M.S. program are automatically considered for these assistantships if they are available. Funding is also available through a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows in K-12 Education program and through the program with the Lankenau Medical Research Institute.

For more information about the graduate program, please contact Dr. James Watrous, Graduate Director, Department of Biology.  You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at (610)660-1829.