Contemporary biology is built on understanding life at the molecular, cellular, organismal, population and community levels. Tufts Department of Biology is dedicated to providing a unified and comprehensive view of biological processes for our students.

Master's programs are available both full-time and in a part-time format designed for working professionals. The part-time program allows working professionals to work full-time while attending courses during the evening and can be completed in two years or less. 

Graduate students in a biology lab at Tufts University
  • Degree Offerings
  • Full-Time and Part-Time MS Tracks
  • Faculty
  • Application Requirements
  • Contact the Department

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Office of Graduate Admissions
Bendetson Hall
Medford, MA 02155
(617) 627-3395

MS in Biology
Tufts' master's program in biology develops the student's ability to think creatively and critically about a range of biological subject matters and to study current research in biology through graduate courses, seminars, and research experience.  

All courses are taught by leading researchers in topics ranging from macromolecules and gene expression. Students learn state-of-the-art laboratory skills that drive translational research, bridging theory to application.

Applications for the master's degree programs are accepted for fall or spring semester, and students are eligible for tuition scholarships from the university. 
Our program offers two options for the MS degree:
  • Open Choice MS 
  • Open Choice MS with a Focus on Functional Genomics
Open Choice MS - The Open Choice MS is designed for students wishing to upgrade their expertise in the biology professions, explore or expand their interest in research, and/or broaden their base for making future career choices in the biological sciences. 
Open Choice MS with Functional Genomics Focus This part-time track of the Open Choice MS program offers a focus in Functional Genomics and is designed for students who wish to work full-time while completing their degree. It is an excellent fit for professionals in Boston’s robust biotechnology industry. The Functional Genomics track equips graduates with the skills needed to contribute effectively to enterprising research on genomic, biomedical, or commercial projects.
MS in Biology Learning Objectives
  • Develop thorough competency in a specific area of study to drive their selection of career concentration
  • Engage in advanced study on a topic; present an organized professional talk on a current scientific topic supported by critical analysis of data from primary literature
  • Update and/or upgrade professional credentials in support of career development and promotion
  • Accelerate career development by attending professional development workshops, such as those presented by GSAS
  • Show awareness of their professional behavior and responsibilities (integrity, ethical behavior, timely e-communication, and ability to work with diverse groups of people) and the importance of engaging professionally with all constituent groups, including students, faculty, and the public.


PhD in Biology
The primary goal of the department's doctoral program is to develop independent, creative research scientists which is accomplished through research training, graduate-level courses, seminars, and teaching experience. Entering students are assigned an advisory committee of three faculty members who work with the student to plan a suitable program based on the student's experience and interests.
The graduate program in biology is arranged into five concentrations, each with an advisor and a core of faculty researchers:


Open Choice MS Track 

The Open Choice MS in Biology requires 30 semester hour units (SHUs) typically earned from ten courses of 3 SHUs each, and can be completed either full-time or part-time. One of the ten courses must be a seminar. 

Part-Time Open Choice MS with a Focus in Functional Genomics for Working Professionals

Using a trimester format for graduate coursework, the part-time Open Choice MS in Biology with a focus in Functional Genomics allows working professionals to work full-time while attending courses during the evening, allowing completion of the program in less than 2 years. Credit requirements are the same as the full-time track Open Choice MS program.

Sample Part-Time Schedule*

Fall Semester Programming & 'R' for Biologists

Advanced Genomics OR Regenerative Biology
Monday, 6-9PM

Spring Semester BME 262: Molecular Biotechnology

BIO 196: Advanced Genetics & Genome Editing
Monday, 6-9PM

Tuesday and Thursday, 6-9PM
Summer Session 1 BIO 168: Biotech Process Project Lab Monday and Wednesday, 6-9:30PM
Summer Session 2 BIO 152: Biochemistry & Cellular Metabolism Tuesday and Thursday, 6:30-9:30PM
Fall Semester BIO 132: Biostatistics

Elective (E.g. Immunology or Regenerative Medicine)
Thursday, 6:30-9:30PM

Spring Semester BME 154: Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

PSY 111: Psychiatric Meds in Children
Tuesday, 6-9PM

Monday, 6:30-9PM


*This is a sample schedule. Course offerings and schedule are subject to change. 


Elizabeth Crone
Ph.D. , Duke University
Population ecology and dynamics
Erik B. Dopman
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. , Cornell University
Evolution and Genetics of Natural Populations
George S. Ellmore
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , University of California, Berkeley
Experimental Plant Anatomy and Morphology
Julia Gouvea
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , University of California, Davis
Biology education
Michael Levin - Professor
Michael Levin
Vannevar Bush Professor
Ph.D , Harvard Medical School
Developmental Biology: Morphological and behavioral information processing in living systems
Sara M. Lewis
Ph.D. , Duke University
Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology
Kelly McLaughlin
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Molecular Development (Organogenesis)
Mitch McVey
Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Molecular biology, genomic instability
Sergei Mirkin
White Family Chair in Biology
Ph.D. , Russian Academy of Sciences
Genetics and Molecular Biology, DNA structure and functioning
Colin M. Orians
Ph.D. , Pennsylvania State University
Plant Ecology and Plant-Herbivore Interactions
Jan A. Pechenik
Ph.D. , University of Rhode Island
Invertebrate Zoology and Marine Biology
J. Michael Reed
Ph.D. , North Carolina State University
Avian ecology and conservation biology
L. Michael Romero
Ph.D. , Stanford University
Physiology and Neuroendocrinology of Stress in Vertebrate
Philip Starks
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , Cornell University
Animal Behavior: Recognition systems, evolution of sociality, parasite and host relationships, behavioral and chemical communication, invasion genetics
Barry Trimmer - Professor
Barry Trimmer
Henry Bromfield Pearson Professor of Natural Science
Ph.D , University of Cambridge
Neurobiology, Neuromechanics and Biorobotics
Eric Tytell
Eric D. Tytell
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , Harvard University
Biomechanics and Neural Control of Locomotion
Benjamin Wolfe
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , Harvard University
Ecology and evolution of microbial communities

Application Deadline

Fall: December 1 (Phd) and February 15 (Open Choice MS)
Fall Round 2 Deadline: March 15 (Open Choice MS only)
Fall Round 3 Deadline: May 15 (Open Choice MS only)
Spring: October 15 (Open Choice MS)

Fall M.S. Part-time Track for Working Professionals: August 1
Spring M.S. Part-time Track for Working Professionals: December 15


> Application fee
Personal statement
> GRE scores are not required
> Official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test, if applicable
Three letters of recommendation


> Application fee
> Resume/CV
> Personal statement

> GRE scores are not required
> Official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test scores, if applicable
> Transcripts
> Three letters of recommendation

For questions about this program, including scholarships and assistantships, please contact the graduate program directors: 

Open Choice Master's: Associate Professor George Ellmore
PhD in Biology: Professor Elizabeth Crone

Department of Biology
163 Packard Ave.
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.3195
Fax: 617.627.3805