Graduate Programs

Information for Current UMass Boston Biology Graduate Students | Information for Prospective UMass Boston Biology Graduate Students | Apply Online

Students in our MS and PhD graduate biology programs are trained in the latest theories and techniques.

In the environmental biology track, PhD students are trained in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. In the molecular, cellular and organismal biology (MCOB) track, PhD students are trained in molecular biology, cellular biology and organismal biology.

Biology MS Programs

Master of Science in Biology
Master of Science in Biotechnology
Biotechnology Certificate Program

Biology PhD Programs

Two Tracks:

Environmental Biology
Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, and Organismal Biology (MCOB)

Intercampus PhD Programs

Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology (BMEBT)
Marine Sciences and Technology

Information for Current Students

Biology Handbook for MS Students

Biology Handbook for PhD Students

Graduate Student Funding Opportunities

Graduate Student Writing Center

The Graduate Writing Center (GWC) offers one-to-one tutoring to students who are in the process of completing graduate coursework at UMass Boston, and who are willing to meet with a tutor over the course of several weeks. Students may apply for GWC tutoring in-person at Academic Support Programs (CC-1-1300) Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Biology Graduate Tracking Forms

MS Tracking Forms

PHD Tracking forms

Information for Prospective Students

Application Deadlines

Fall admission: To be considered fully for all available funding, applications should be received by January 2nd. We begin reviewing applications and making offers within a month of the deadline, but continue reviewing applications and making awards until resources are exhausted.

Spring admission: To be considered fully for all available funding, applications should be received by October 15th. We begin reviewing applications and making offers within a month of the deadline, but continue reviewing applications and making awards until resources are exhausted.

Application Process

Complete application as required by Graduate Admissions (see Graduate Bulletin)

The university requires a detailed statement of interests and intent. As described in the Graduate Bulletin, you must include a two-part essay. In the first part, include your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies.

In the second part, the Biology Department requires a detailed description of your specific interests, and the area of research you wish to pursue. It is helpful if you identify members of the faculty whose research interests are similar to your own. Please feel free to contact individual members of our programs to discuss your interests, but be selective.

In addition, international students must meet other requirements as required by the university.

Decision Process

Your application arrives in the department from the University's Graduate Admissions Office.
When complete (letter of intent, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and transcripts), the application will be reviewed by the Biology Graduate Program Director.
The application is then forwarded to possible mentors/advisors in the department for review.
All applications are then reviewed by Graduate Committee for decisions on possible acceptance.
Acceptance/Rejection notification is sent out.
Acknowledgement of acceptance by the student must be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions in order to retain a position in the program.


What kind of background do I need to be competitive for the various programs?
We seek students with strong academic backgrounds, generally considered to be a GPA of 3.0 or better in a field of biological science. The University requires a 4-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent and our program seeks students with degrees in biology or related fields with courses in general biology, cell biology, genetics, chemistry, and appropriate levels of math is certainly very reasonable. We also accept students with unusual backgrounds strongly emphasizing quantitative fields, computer sciences, informatics, and other interdisciplinary areas that commonly interact with fields of biology these days.

If you have expertise in other areas or you are interested in changing fields, you can certainly take, as a non-matriculated student, some of the courses described above that are part of a standard biology degree (looking at our Biology BS requirements for specific courses here at UMass Boston might give you this background). You would not necessarily need to obtain a second bachelor's degree, but should gain the appropriate background to prove that you are capable of handling graduate level work in biological sciences.

Is there a minimum GRE score required by the department?
No. While we do not have a minimum acceptable GRE score, to be competitive in the applicant pool, a score of ~150 (~50% rank; prior scale score of 500) in each area (Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning) is a good starting point. A weak GRE does not automatically doom your application, especially if the remainder of your application is strong.

Which GRE test do I need?
You must take the General GREs. We do not require individual subject tests.

Is there a minimum TOEFL score?
Yes. See the graduate admissions page for details.

What are the institutional codes for GRE and TOEFL exams?
The Institution Code for UMass Boston 3924. The program codes are not necessary.

Is there a minimum GPA?
Your undergraduate cumulative GPA must be at least 2.75. This is a University requirement, although exceptions can be made in some cases.

Can I be accepted without stipend support?

Are there any fees associated with being a graduate student at UMass Boston?
A full assistantship provides you with a stipend as well as tuition and Educational Operations Fee waivers, but there are some additional fees that you may need to pay, some on a one time basis. Please see the university fee table.

Can I take graduate courses if I'm not in the Graduate Program?
Yes. You can take any course as a non-matriculated student per university policy. You also will need permission of the instructor. See our course listings.

Can I transfer courses into the Biology Graduate Program if accepted?
Yes. You can transfer up to 6 graduate credits towards your degree in biology.

Is there spring admissions for the graduate programs?
Yes. We have two admissions schedules. For September admissions we begin reviewing applications January 2nd. For January admissions we begin reviewing applications November 1st of the previous year. These are target dates and not deadlines. For both of these schedules, to be fully considered for all potential funding it is best to submit your applications by these dates. We do however continue to review and admit students well beyond these target dates.

Linda Huang Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125

Interested in a trans-disciplinary approach to solving environmental problems? Learn more about our IGERT Coasts and Communities program here:

Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program Read More 

For more information regarding the Master's or PhD program please contact:

Alexa MacPherson at