The Ph.D. program in Biology at St. John’s delivers comprehensive knowledge of the biological sciences, with an emphasis on cell and molecular biology.
Earn a Ph.D. in Biology at St. John's University in New York City!
The Ph.D. program in Biology at St. John’s delivers comprehensive knowledge of the biological sciences, with an emphasis on cell and molecular biology. You 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.
Please see a list of our Biological Sciences faculty.
Rachel Zufferey, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies
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:
Office of Graduate Admission
Academic Curriculum: The academic curriculum consists of a minimum of 60 credits beyond the B.S. degree, or 32 credits beyond the M.S. degree. The core curriculum consists of Biology 207, 208, 212 and at least two research rotations (BIO 550 and 551). You have the option of completing a third research rotation (BIO 552). In each of these rotations, you will gain hands-on experience with the specific techniques and research approaches of individual faculty.
Qualifying Examination: In your third of fourth semester of doctoral study, you’ll register to take an oral qualifying examination that will test your basic knowledge of material from the core courses and how it relates to your chosen area of research, which you should establish by this time. Once you successfully complete the qualifying examination, you’ll proceed to the doctoral research level.
Upper-Level Courses: As part of your doctoral training, you’ll complete a series of upper-level, specialized research courses leading to the development of your doctoral dissertation, along with advanced seminars in which you’ll examine specific research questions through experimental literature. You’ll select these courses in consultation with faculty advisors according to your individual career goals and interests.
Comprehensive Examination: You should schedule your doctoral comprehensive examination with your committee as early during your fourth year as possible. This oral examination is administered by the thesis committee (chosen by you and your mentor) to review your thesis proposal, considering both the methodological soundness of your proposed research and its significance to the field.
Research and Dissertation: As a doctoral student, you will be required to take a minimum six credits of Doctoral Research (BIO 950) and submit a dissertation. You may not count more than 15 credits of Doctoral Research (BIO 950) towards the completion of your degree. Upon the recommendation of your advisor, you may take Special Research (BIO 352 or BIO 353) as preparation for your dissertation research, submitting a written report for each semester that you enroll in this course. Your dissertation should embody the results of significant original research, which has been accepted for publication in two peer-reviewed scientific journals. These publications must be included in your dissertation. You will defend your dissertation in a final oral examination before a faculty committee, demonstrating your ability to communicate in both oral and written presentations with clarity, organization, and accuracy.
Time Limit: You must complete all requirements for the degree within seven years from the date you matriculate into the doctoral program. You may not receive degree credit for courses older than seven years.
Transfer Credit: You may seek admission to the Ph.D. program after having successfully completed some graduate work at another accredited institution. You may request transfer of credit for this work, provided that you have not used it to fulfill requirements of another degree.
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.
A limited number of Graduate Assistantships and Doctoral 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. Visit Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships to learn more.
Explore opportunities at St. John's with our pathway generator.
The Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry provides you with a comprehensive curriculum that prepares you for graduate school or a career in health, or the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or cosmetic industries.
The program gives students a thorough understanding of the scientific theory and advanced laboratory research techniques vital to success in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Students also receive valuable internship experience in this revolutionary field.
Biologists study living organisms and their relationship to the environment.
The Department of Biological Sciences offers an intensive, accelerated combined degree program leading to both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in five years of full-time study.
The Master of Science (M.S.) program in Biology at St. John’s delivers comprehensive knowledge of biological sciences, with an emphasis on cell and molecular biology.
St. John’s University admits selected academically talented high school seniors as biology majors and, simultaneously, to candidacy for admission to the professional Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) program at SUNY College of Optometry. Admission to this accelerated program may allow you to graduate with both B.S. and O.D. degrees in only seven years, rather than the usual eight.
Podiatry is a profession dedicated to the complete care of the feet. Most Doctors of Podiatry, or podiatrists, treat many types of foot problems, but some specialize in foot surgery or other treatments for congenital defects, diseases and injuries of the bones and joints of the foot. A podiatrist can also specialize in podopediatrics (foot ailments of children) or in podogeriatrics (foot ailments of the elderly). Like other health professionals, podiatrists are responsible for referring patients to other practitioners (usually physicians) when foot problems are symptoms of other health disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences provides an interdisciplinary academic program of study that fosters competencies in areas related to biomedical sciences, health sciences, as well as core competencies in the liberal arts and sciences and prepares students for health professions and graduate programs.
Earn your Chemistry Minor from St. John's University!
As a Chemistry major, you will graduate with a wide array of career possibilities in the chemical, environmental, health, and pharmaceutical industries.
The Department of Chemistry offers an intensive, accelerated, combined degree program leading to both the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and the Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in five years of full time study.
The widely-respected Master of Science (M.S.) program in Chemistry at St. John’s will prepare you for a career in industry, education, government laboratories, or private research, or to pursue a doctoral degree in the field.
The M.S. in Computational Biology and Biostatistics at St. John’s University answers a growing demand for data analysts, data curators, database developers, statisticians, mathematical modelers, bioinformaticians, and software developers with training in both computer science and biology.
Explore minors for undergraduate students in Environmental Studies or Environmental Education from St. John's University.
Sustainability is a growing field in both the public and private sectors. The Master of Arts in Environmental Sustainability and Decision Making at St. John’s will prepare you for opportunities in a rapidly evolving global community that spans the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
The interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Environmental Sustainability and Decision-Making integrates coursework from across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences, among others to prepare you for opportunities in a rapidly evolving global community.
Neuroscience is the branch of the sciences that studies the relationship between the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of nerves, nervous tissue, and diseases. Through the Master of Science (M.S.) in Neuroscience at St. John’s , you can prepare for a career in this growing interdisciplinary field.
Physical Science is a flexible major that can include physics, chemistry, and mathematics. It is a desirable path for pre-medical and other pre-health professional studies. Very often, this is taken as a second major along with a major in Biology.
The combined Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Physics and Business Administration offers highly-motivated students the opportunity to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years of full-time study.
The Department of Physics at St. John's University offers three Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Physics, Mathematical Physics, and Physical Science, as well as a minor in Physics.
Physics is a demanding but rewarding major that leads to an exciting array of career opportunities, as well as further graduate study.
The Office of Student Financial Services is committed to providing students and their families with the information they need to navigate and understand the financial aid and payment process.
St. John’s offers a free online application for all 100+ undergraduate programs, and graduate applications carry a low cost for most programs.