Learn more about the Master of Arts in Biology.

About the Program

The MA in Biology emphasizes contemporary coursework for students to gain advanced understanding within the field of modern biology. The Biology MA degree program is designed for students seeking graduate studies in the biological sciences without experimental research in labs. In comparison with the Biology MS, the MA in Biology program focuses primarily on coursework and independent research, which helps the student form expertise in one or more areas of biology. Students develop the analytical thinking skills necessary for biological research and literature review.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Many classes are offered in the evening to enable full-time working professionals to be enrolled in the program. International students are required to register as full-time students.

Interdisciplinary Study: The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics. Special interdisciplinary programs in which faculty from the Biology Department participate include the Center for Biotechnology, Center for Computational Genetics and Genomics, the Institute for Computational Molecular Science, the Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine, and the Environmental Studies and Neuroscience Programs.

Areas of Specialization: Faculty members specialize in the areas of aquatic and terrestrial ecology, biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, computational genomics, developmental biology, evolutionary and organismal biology, genetics, molecular biology, molecular evolution, neurobiology and virology.

Job Prospects: Graduates are prepared for professional schools or careers in fields related to the biological sciences, including academia, biotechnology, government, health professions and pharmaceuticals.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may enroll in a total of three courses (9 credits) with permission of the instructor and the department.

Financing Opportunities: University Fellowships, Graduate Assistantships, and Academic Internships are normally reserved for PhD students.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 1
Spring: October 30

Late applications may be considered for admission.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters should be obtained from college/university faculty, whenever possible.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Applicants should have a solid background in Biology and should have taken at least eight undergraduate Biology courses and one year each of Calculus, Chemistry and Physics. The Biology Department Graduate Committee may allow exceptions to these course requirements after review.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree in a science field is required.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, describe your interest in Temple's program, academic achievements and research goals, and provide the names of up to three faculty with whom you would like to conduct your capstone master’s research thesis.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Not required. If submitted, a combined minimum score of 300 on the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections is expected.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 90
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 61
  • Duolingo: 110

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: Graduate credits from an accredited institution may be transferred into the Biology program. The credits must be equivalent to coursework offered by the Biology Department at Temple University. A grade of "B" or better must have been earned for the credits to transfer. The Biology Department Graduate Committee makes recommendations to the Department Chair for transferring credit on an individual basis. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Core Courses
BIOL 8003Introduction to Graduate Research3
Two 8000-level Graduate Seminar courses 16
Select courses from the following to total a minimum of 15 credits: 215
Genomics in Medicine
Fundamentals of Genomic Evolutionary Medicine
Evolutionary Ecology
Genomics and Infectious Disease Dynamics
Genomics and Evolutionary Biology of Parasites and Other Dependent Species
Animal Behavior
Ecology of Invasive Species
Cell Biology
Conservation Biology
Plant Community Ecology
Research Techniques in Molecular Biology
Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience
Structural Bioinformatics I
Tropical Marine Biology: Belize
Developmental Genetics
Advanced Techniques in Microscopy
Freshwater Ecology
Systems Neuroscience
Neurological Basis of Animal Behavior
Organization and Development of the Nervous System
Mammalian Development
Contemporary Biology
Molecular Biology
Cell Proliferation
Physical Biochemistry
General Biochemistry I
General Biochemistry II
Analytical Biotechnology
Microbial Biotechnology
Ethics Regulation and Policy in Biotechnology
Professional Development Seminar for PSM in Biotechnology
Computational Genomics
Ethics in Bioinformatics
Teaching in Higher Education: Life Sciences 3
Capstone Course
BIOL 9995Capstone Project 46
Total Credit Hours30

One 5000-level course that emphasizes writing and communication may be substituted for one 3-credit 8000-level seminar. The 5000-level course need not be a Biology course but must be approved by the student's advisor and the Graduate Chair.


Electives may include BIOL 5000-level courses from the Professional Science Master's programs. Up to 9 credits may also be taken in non-biology graduate courses in related fields such as chemistry, computer science, education and psychology. All non-biology electives must be approved by the student's advisor and the Graduate Chair.


This course may only be taken for 3 credits.


This course requirement may be satisfied by completing a library thesis.

Additional Requirement: All graduate-level courses must be passed with a "B-" or better.

Culminating Event:
Capstone Project:
The capstone project, BIOL 9995, is typically completed by conducting an MA library thesis. This is an original study that demonstrates the student's knowledge of the literature, mastery of their primary area of interest, and an advanced knowledge of research methods. The thesis should be limited to a specific problem in the biological sciences and investigated under the direct supervision of a major advisor. The thesis is evaluated by the student’s advisor and one other graduate faculty member.


Department Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Biology

255 Biology-Life Sciences Building

1900 N. 12th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6078


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Sandhya Verma


Program Coordinator:

Tonia Hsieh, PhD


Graduate Chairperson:

Tonia Hsieh, PhD


Department Chairperson:

Robert Sanders, PhD