Graduate Programs

Graduate programs leading to both the M.S. or Ph.D. are offered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-Newark, and the College of Science and Liberal Arts, NJIT. Because of Federation, the curricula are essentially identical at both institutions. However, the application procedures and some of the details differ. These differences are outlined below.

Adding to the strength of the Federated Department are its collaborative interactions with the other academic units at Rutgers-Newark and NJIT, including the Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience (CMBN) at Rutgers, and the Departments of Mathematical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, and Computer Sciences at NJIT. In addition, the department participates in graduate and clinical programs at the nearby University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The Department places a high priority on the training of researchers who are capable of drawing on a broad range of scientific views and approaches. Toward that end, the Department is involved in a number of innovative multidisciplinary research initiatives.

Program requirements for Masters Program

Program requirements for Doctoral Program


The M.S. in Biological Sciences

The Master of Science in Biology is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge of both plant and animal biology and microbiology. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits of graduate work. These must include at least one 3-credit course in four of the following five areas: cell biology/biochemistry, molecular biology, computational biology, ecology/evolution, and plant biology.

To fulfill the written thesis requirement, students may conduct laboratory, field work, or bibliographic research.  Students selecting the experimentally-based research thesis option must complete a minimum of 24 credits of course work and 6 credits of research with a graduate faculty member of the department.  Students choosing the bibliographic-based research thesis option are required to take 27 credits of course work and 3 credits of independent study with a graduate faculty member of the department.  For both experimentally-based and bibliographic-based research thesis options, the thesis will be defended publicly followed by a question-and-answer session with the thesis committee.  The thesis committee must be approved by the Graduate Program Director and consist of the primary advisor and at least one other reader who is a member of the graduate faculty.

More information about the course of study and program requirements of the Masters of Science in Biology can be found HERE.

Deadline dates for the Masters degree, additional downloadable forms, and guidelines for the can be found on the Graduate School page.


The Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

The Ph.D. Curriculum in Biology is divided into three tracks, of which students select one.

  • Cell/Molecular/Biochemical Track
  • Ecology/Evolution Track
  • Computational Biology Track

More information about the course of study and program requirements of the Doctoral Program in Biology can be found HERE.

Deadline dates for the Doctoral degree, additional downloadable forms, and guidelines can be found on the Graduate School page.


Other information for prospective students
Rutgers or NJIT?

As mentioned above, while the curricula for the programs are essentially identical no matter whether you apply to Rutgers of NJIT, some of the adminstrative details differ. In those cases, the topics below are divided into separate sections for each institution.

An important consideration is support. If you are responding to an advertisement for grant-funded Research Assistantship, then you must apply to the institution where that grant is located. Please consult the faculty member adminstering the grant. If you are interested in a Teaching Assistantship, you should contact each Department to see what support is available for the upcoming year. Students can and do switch from NJIT to Rutgers, and vice versa, over the course of their graduate career, as funding sources come and go. This does not affect progress towards the degree.

How to apply


Information is available from the Graduate Admissions Office at 249 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07052. Applications should be submitted online at Use program name "Biology" and program code “26120.”

Completed Ph.D. applications should be submitted by December 15 for admission the following Fall, especially if you wish to be considered for financial support (e.g., a teaching assistantship). Ph.D. applications for spring admission should be submitted by December 1.

M.S. applications are accepted until August 1 for the fall semester. Late applications will be accepted only if space permits. 



Application information is available from the NJIT Admissions office.

Information for all applicants

Applicants for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree should have taken undergraduate courses in the biological sciences, or another pertinent area of science, equivalent to a major. Full-year courses in both General and Organic Chemistry, as well as Physics, are required. College mathematics through Calculus is preferred.

In addition to the application form, three letters of recommendation, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test scores are required for admission. GRE scores of 50 percentile or better on each of the general examinations are required. The subject test in Biology is recommended. All applicants whose primary language is not English are required to submit their scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Financial Support


The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-Newark, offers teaching assistantships and graduate assistantships to qualified Ph.D. students with strong records of scholastic achievement and scholarly promise. Assistantships include remission of tuition and student fees and have an annual value of $32,000 per year. During the summer months, support is generally available in the form of research positions or summer teaching appointments. Teaching and graduate assistants and their dependents are eligible for University-paid health benefits.

The Graduate School-Newark also is the recipient of the Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Grant, providing for research and training opportunities for minority students. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the program provides financial support to undergraduate and graduate students in the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Behavioral and Neural Sciences, Nursing and Psychology.


In addition to graduate teaching and research fellowships, several funding opportunities that are available to full-time graduate students.



Tuition for full-time study (12 credits) in 2016–2017 is $8,268 per term for New Jersey residents and $14,064 per term for nonresidents. Tuition for part-time study is $689 per credit for state residents and $1,172 per credit for nonresidents.


Tuition for full-time study (12 credits, with fees) in 2016–2017 is $10,907 per term for New Jersey residents and $15,449 per term for nonresidents. Tuition for part-time study is $1,034 per credit for state residents and $1,484 per credit for nonresidents.

Advising and Degree Requirements

Once admitted to the doctoral program through Rutgers or NJIT, students are advised by the Graduate Standards Committee so that course selection and progress can be monitored. Full-time doctoral students complete at least two rotations in research laboratories during the first two years. Both rotations require a written report with a public oral presentation. At the completion of the two rotations, students must take and pass an oral candidacy examination, and, with a research mentor, begin to develop and execute an independent thesis project. The program also provides opportunities for teaching experience to complement research interests and career goals.

Research Interests

Currently established research projects within the Graduate Program in Biology include those which are investigating cell cytoskeletal elements, development and regeneration in the nervous system, calcium regulation in plants, cellular trafficking, environmental stressors and their impact on development, opportunistic parasitic infections in AIDS, environmental bioremediation, estuarine and salt marsh ecology and ecotoxicology, plant ecophysiology, species interaction and community sructure, and interactions of neurotransmitters with the immune system. The department also is strong in cellular biophysics, endocrinology, toxicology, and microbial physiology. Please visit the various links in the sidebar on the the left to learn more.

Recent departmental graduates have gone on to post-doctoral fellowships at such outstanding research institutions as Harvard, University of California at Los Angeles, Washington University in St. Louis, Case Western Reserve, Vanderbilt, the National Institutes of Health, and Yale, and have achieved academic and industrial positions from California to Washington, D.C.