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Biology, Doctor of Philosophy

60 Credits
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Queens Campus


The Ph.D. program in Biology at St. John’s University delivers comprehensive knowledge of the biological sciences, with an emphasis on cell and molecular biology. You’ll join accomplished, dedicated, and internationally-known faculty mentors to conduct cutting-edge research, across areas of biology that include: cancer biology; neuroscience; epigenetics; evolutionary and developmental biology; and plant and environmental sciences. Most of the research projects in the department are funded by federal research grants, and funds are available to support students who present research at national and international conferences. The Department of Biological Sciences also hosts weekly seminar series, offering you the opportunity to meet and learn from experts at top research institutions.

Graduates with a Ph.D. in Biology from St. John’s have gone on to pursue research careers at leading universities and medical centers, including: Harvard University; Rockefeller University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Many of our graduates have also founds success in industry settings, as faculty members on the college and university level, in patent law, or in scientific publishing.

Department Faculty

Please see a list of our Biological Sciences faculty.

Department Contact

Yong Yu
Director of Graduate Studies
St. Albert Hall, Room 210


Application Requirements
To apply to the Ph.D. program in Biology, you must have completed an undergraduate major in one of the biological sciences or a related discipline. One semester of genetics, molecular biology, or biochemistry is required, and a semester of each is highly recommended. In addition, you must have completed one year each of inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, and mathematics through introductory calculus. We prefer applicants to have completed one or more courses in an area of biology in which you hope to focus your doctoral research. Although you should complete all prerequisite courses prior to enrollment in the program, the department may allow you to make up limited deficiencies during your first year of graduate study. International students who have not received a U.S. degree will also be required to present either TOEFL or IELTS scores as evidence of English proficiency.

Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy program must also present:

  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate (and any previous graduate) work.
  • Evidence of successful completion of a bachelor’s degree with an overall cumulative index of 3.0, along with a 3.5 or higher average in biology, chemistry, and physics courses.
  • Evidence of an overall cumulative index of 3.0 or higher in graduate work, if applicable.
  • Official score reports demonstrating satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), general. You may also submit GRE subject texts in Biology or Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology.
  • Three satisfactory letters of reference from science faculty in your most recent program of study.
  • A one-page essay describing your interests, career goals, and special aptitudes.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall: April 1
  • Spring: October 1

Graduate Admission Information
Robert Medrano, Director
Office of Graduate Admission



Career Outcomes

With a Ph.D. in Biology from St. John’s University, you’ll be well-qualified for research and teaching positions at the college and university level, or research and managerial careers in industry or government. The Department of Biological Sciences organizes its course offerings to provide you with comprehensive understanding of biology, with an emphasis on cell and molecular biology.

Additional Information

Fellowship and Graduate Assistantship Opportunities
A limited number of Graduate Assistantships and University Fellowships are granted to various academic departments within each school and college of the University. Graduate Assistantships are also available in administrative departments. All students interested in applying for an Assistantship must complete the online Graduate Assistant or Doctoral Fellowship application. Find out more »

Program News

Continuing a record of recognition for outstanding research in the Department of Biological Sciences this year, three faculty members have been awarded Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA)...