Master of Science in Biology

In Merrimack’s project-based M.S. degree program in biology, you’ll build leadership skills through a combination of directing and performing laboratory and field research, coursework, teaching and mentoring. Whether you concentrate in Biotechnology & Biomedical Science or Environmental Biology, you’ll graduate well positioned for the growing sciences job market.

Finish in as little as 12 months.

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Graduate Programs Virtual Information Session

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 
from 5:30 pm 
to 7:00 pm

Learn about the Merrimack College community, application process, financial aid, your program's curriculum, professional opportunities, fellowships and more!

Why Pursue Your Master’s in Biology at Merrimack College?

Marketable skills.

The M.S. in biology program goes far beyond deepening knowledge of a biological discipline. Through a combination of coursework, mentoring, teaching, and research, it will give you the hands-on experience and leadership skills to excel in the high-demand life sciences industry.

Collegial environment.

With small classes and a diverse student population, Merrimack College provides graduate biology with unique opportunities to develop practical skills, gain meaningful field experience, and engage in innovative coursework as part of a close-knit community of scientists.  

Convenient flexibility.

While  you can complete your master’s in biology in just one year as a full-time student, you also have the option to take courses part-time to accommodate your work and life schedule. However you earn the degree, our master’s in biology will increase your scientific aptitude while helping raise your career trajectory.

Exceptional faculty.

Our biology master’s program is led by seasoned teachers and scholars who combine academic expertise with years of research and industry experience. They include ecologist William McDowell, plant biologist Azam Noori, ethologist David MacLaren, microbiologist Charlotte Berkes, and biochemist Josephine Modica-Napolitano.

Groundbreaking research.

Biology graduate students will have the opportunity to assist faculty in projects across a broad range of topics, such as:  animal behavior and ecotoxicology; plant biotechnology and natural medicines;  left/right asymmetry determination in embryonic development; using CRISPR technology to study neuronal development;  and understanding the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the etiology and pathogenesis of several diseases.


Grad Chat Podcast

On this episode of Grad Chat, we’re featuring a remarkable guest, John-Paul Haley-Read, a recent graduate who successfully obtained his Master of Science in Biology. After completing the program, John-Paul landed his dream job as a Senior Research Technician at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. During the episode, he talks about his research project, how the program prepared him for and helped him land his job at Dana Farber, and his close connection with faculty and fellow students. For those intrigued by Merrimack’s Master of Science in Biology program, this episode is an absolute must-listen!

Program Format

  • Hybrid online & on-campus classes
  • Part-time or full-time study

Start Terms

  • Fall*

*We encourage students (especially fellowship applicants) to apply by February 1 for the fall semester for the best chance of securing a lab placement.


What You Will Learn in the Master of Science in Biology Program

The curriculum of the M.S. in biology degree features a 16 credit core, and 16 elective credits that may be applied to toward a concentration in either Biotechnology & Biomedical Science or Environmental Biology.

Program learning goals include:

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of cell biology and biotechnology and/or environmental biology (depending on concentration) and becoming proficient in using the techniques and instruments pertaining to the field.
  • Becoming proficient in gathering experimental data.
  • Deepening your ability to evaluate biological information critically, using the scientific method, analytical reasoning and quantitative skills.
  • Developing critical thinking and communication skills for purposes of conveying biological information to both professional scientists and the lay public, and developing intellectual independence in evaluating the scientific literature and it’s application to societal issues.

Stand Out in the Biology Job Market

The master’s degree in biology opens a wide range of professional doors, especially in the Boston area. Since 2014, the life sciences industry in Massachusetts has grown at close to double the rate of the state and U.S. economy. In May 2018, trade association MassBioEd reported a shortage in qualified applicants to fill available jobs, while 83% of life sciences companies recently reported future plans to expand. In life sciences fields, applicants with a master’s degree typically earn $20-$30,000 more a year than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

Depending on which concentration you choose, Merrimack can help you prepare for a successful career in roles such as:

Biotechnology & Biomedical Science

  • Laboratory technician
  • Research assistant
  • Senior research associate
  • Associate scientist or Scientist I
  • Biotech or pharmaceutical sales representative

Environmental Biology

  • Naturalist for community and municipal organizations
  • Conservation scientist
  • Environmental scientist or technician
  • Biology research assistant
  • High school or community college biology teacher

Master of Science recipients of both concentrations in Merrimack’s graduate biology program will also be highly qualified applicants to graduate doctoral programs, professional schools — such as medical, dental, and veterinary schools — or law schools seeking students with scientific knowledge interested in patent law .

Both the biology department and staff in Merrimack’s O’Brien Center for Career Development will assist biology graduate program students with seeking out and applying for employment and post-graduate education opportunities.

Explore Biology Fellowships

Merrimack College offers robust fellowship opportunities to students in the biology master’s program. Qualified applicants gain enhanced development via a work placement of up to 25 hours per week. You’ll work closely with a faculty member to gain hands-on experience in activities such as serving as Teaching Assistants in laboratory sections for the introductory courses offered in the Department of Biology

Presidential fellowships include full tuition (excluding fees), while Provost fellowships cover half tuition. In addition, partial tuition Dean scholarships are available, and they may include advanced professional development opportunities.

Entry Requirements for the Master of Science in Biology

Applicants must have a BA or BS degree in Biology or Biochemistry, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and an interview with departmental faculty before being accepted into the program.  Applicants with other degrees who meet the course prerequisites will also be considered after the interview process.

There is no fee to apply, and there is no GRE requirement.  However, we encourage you to submit test scores if you feel they will support or enhance your academic background.

Want to Learn More About the Master’s Degree in Biology?

Contact the Merrimack College Office of Graduate Admission at

Schedule an Informational Call with Program Experts

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