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Biology, M.A., M.S., Ph.D.

At Saint Louis University, you can pursue a Master of Arts, Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy in biology.

About the Programs

Biology graduate students at SLU can pursue coursework and research in a variety of fields, including biochemistry, botany, cell biology, conservation, ecology, evolution, molecular biology, physiology and science.

Three Graduate Biology Programs


This program emphasizes coursework and does not require a thesis. Students applying for an M.A. in biology generally want to broaden their knowledge, advance their careers, or prepare to apply to a health science program such as medical or dentistry school.


Students applying to the M.S. program may do so for reasons similar to those applying to the M.A. program but will also gain experience in laboratory research under guidance of a faculty mentor. This track emphasizes training in experimental design, interpretation of data and scientific writing, and requires a formal research project and thesis. An M.S. degree can prepare you to conduct research at universities, private companies and government labs, or to enter a Ph.D. program.


A doctoral degree can prepare you to lead research groups at private companies or government labs, or to pursue a faculty position in higher education.

Doctoral study in biology at SLU includes an intensive research project that culminates in a formal dissertation. Once you have successfully completed the required coursework, as well as written and oral qualifying examinations, you will be expected to independently design and conduct an original research project with a faculty mentor.

Our biology Ph.D. students may also be expected to seek external funding to support the research project, which will be presented at local and/or national professional meetings. Ideally, this research will result in publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Program Highlights

Biology students at SLU have access to excellent facilities on campus and at the University's Reis Biological Station. Collaborations with neighboring institutions such as Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Missouri St. Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Saint Louis Zoo and the Danforth Plant Science Center further expand possibilities for research and learning.

Curriculum and Program Details

SLU’s M.A. in biology program requires at least 30 post-baccalaureate credit hours. Coursework may be chosen from a wide variety of fields, including cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, geographic information systems, ecology, evolution and botany.

The M.S. in biology program requires at least 30 post-baccalaureate credit hours, six credit hours of which will be thesis research.

For the Ph.D. in biology, a minimum of 36 post-baccalaureate credit hours are required, with at least 24 credit hours of coursework and 12 credit hours of dissertation research.

  • Jan Barber, Ph.D.
  • Peter Bernhardt, Ph.D.
  • Elena Bray Speth, Ph.D.
  • Gerardo Camilo, Ph.D.
  • Lindzy Dodson, Ph.D.
  • Brian Downes, Ph.D.
  • Jonathan Fisher, Ph.D.
  • Kasey Fowler-Finn, Ph.D.
  • Blythe Janowiak, Ph.D.
  • Jack Kennell, Ph.D.
  • Jason Knouft, Ph.D.
  • Zhenguo Lin, Ph.D.
  • Richard Mayden, Ph.D.
  • Allison Miller, Ph.D.
  • Judith Ogilvie, Ph.D.
  • Laurie Russell, Ph.D.
  • Laurie Shornick, Ph.D.
  • Susan Spencer, Ph.D.
  • William S. Stark, Ph.D.
  • Thomas Valone, Ph.D.
  • Yuqi Wang, Ph.D.
  • Daniel Warren, Ph.D.
  • Robert Wood, Ph.D.
  • Wenyan Xiao, Ph.D.
  • Fenglian Xu, Ph.D.
  • Dapeng Zhang, Ph.D.
Alumni from SLU’s biology program have gone on to careers as teachers, university faculty and research scientists at pharmaceutical companies and government agencies.
Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2018-2019 Tuition and Fees
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Financial Aid

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Graduate teaching and research assistantships are available. SLU’s department of biology attempts to provide five years of support for Ph.D. students. Assistantships are sometimes also available for M.S. students.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants should possess adequate undergraduate preparation in biology with a minimum 3.0 GPA in science and math courses.

For Ph.D. applicants, previous laboratory and research experience preferred.

To apply, you’ll need.

Application Requirements

Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
GRE General or MCAT
Goal statement
Interview (desired)

Requirements for International Students

Assistantship Application Deadline

Students who want to be considered for an assistantship must submit their application by Dec. 15.

Review Process

Faculty committee members examine each applicant's materials and make recommendations. Consideration is given for matching applicant interests with faculty research areas.

Applicants should outline their research goals in their professional goals statement and should identify and correspond with faculty members whose area of research matches their interests early in the application process.