Department of Biology College of Science Northeastern University

Department of Biology College of Science Northeastern University

Boston, MA
student ratio
Not Reported
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
December 15
fall application deadline
Not Reported
acceptance rate
7 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


A Biology Department at a Leading Research Institute

Northeastern University, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is a top research university whose strategic mission is to advance knowledge in health, security, and sustainability. The Department of Biology at Northeastern offers rigorous, interdisciplinary graduate programs with state-of-the-art research facilities and well-funded, accomplished faculty members who are leaders in their fields.

The Department of Biology offers one doctoral and four master's degree programs. The Master of Science (MS) in Biology is a research-oriented degree that can lead to the doctoral studies. The MS in Bioinformatics, the MS in Marine Biology, and the MS in Biotechnology are all Professional Science Master's programs that prepare students for careers in research management and technology transfer fields.

About 100 graduate students, 20 professional research associates and postdoctoral fellows, and 27 full-time faculty members make up the Department of Biology. They engage in 4 areas of research: cellular and molecular biology and biochemistry; microbiology and immunology; marine biotechnology and ecology; and neurobiology and behavior.

Professional Master of Science in Biotechnology

Biotechnology graduate students benefit from Northeastern University's proximity to many of the top hospitals in the nation and the many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the area. In addition, Northeastern's own research centers furnish a rich environment in which students can gain the expertise they need for careers in biotechnology. These centers include the Antimicrobial Discovery Center, the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis, the Center for Drug Discovery, and the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Nanomedicine, the Center for Translational NeuroImaging, and the New England Inflammation and Tissue Protection Institute (NEITPI).

Professional Master of Science in Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics graduate students complete a rigorous program integrates mathematics and computer science with biology and biochemistry. Courses range from Bioinformatics Programming to Molecular Modeling to Database Management. Courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening to accommodate working professionals.

Students complete a 3-to-6 month internship at an academic, government, or commercial lab. Recent graduates have completed internships at the Harvard Medical School hospital, the Dana-Farber Institute, and the firms of Genzyme, Novartis, and Millenium.

Professor Master of Science in Marine Biology

The MS in Marine Biology program can furnish entry to mid-level professionals with the advanced research skills they need for their careers. Students of the program also often go on to gain admission into the some of the nation's top doctoral programs in marine biology.

Offered in conjunction with the Three Seas Program, which takes students out of the classroom and into the field in 3 different marine environments: the Caribbean (in Jamaica, West Indies), the Pacific Coast (in Santa Catalina Island, California), and New England (in Nahant, MA). Students also complete a six-month internship with a private, government, or academic research lab.

Rigorous MS and PhD programs in Biology

Graduate students may complete the Master of Science in Biology on a part-time or full time basis. The program involves 30 semester hours of coursework, laboratory or field research, a written thesis, and an oral defense.

The PhD program helps students to develop both the experimental and the intellectual skills scientists need to carry out independent research. The program involves a one-year residency requirement.

Highly Accomplished, Well-funded Faculty

The faculty members in the Department of Biology are leaders in the field, recipients of sizeable research grants and numerous awards.

Professor Rebeca Rosengause is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Grant recipient. She has studied how pathogens and/or parasites may play a role in the evolution of complex insect societies.

The NSF awarded Professor Slava Epstein a $1.5 million grant to create a Microbial Observatory in the Caribbean.

Professor Fred Davis received a 4-year grant from National Institute of Mental Health to study how the hypothalamus communicates with other parts of the brain to regulate circadian rhythms.

The United States Department of Agriculture granted Professor Don Cheney $180,000 to develop new methods to prevent pollutants from getting into seafood.

Professor William Detrich served as the chief scientist of ICEFISH 2004 expedition, an international initiative to study fish that are indigenous to the sub-Antarctic habitats. Professor Detrich also received a $440,000 NSF grant to study the genomic instability and the evolution of Antarctic Nototheniod fish.

State-of-the Art Research Facilities

The laboratories at Department of Biology at Northeastern University are equipped to carry out ground-breaking research. The facilities include a genomics facility with an Affymetrix suite of instruments for DNA array hybridization, scanning and analysis; facilities for cell growth, storage and processing; a bioinformatics computer cluster; core molecular biology and protein chemistry instrumentation; controlled-environment rooms; and many other state-of-the art instruments.

In addition, graduate students have access to equipment in other research centers in or affiliated with the university. The marine center in Nahant, Massachusetts, for example, has a robotics laboratory, an ocean-going research vessel, and a running seawater system.

Innovative Research

Current research in cellular and molecular biology and biochemistry investigates the evolution of protein function, DNA repair, insect insulin-like hormones, development of sterile surface materials, cyst formation in parasites, diseases involving inflammation and cancer, and forensic botany.

Research related to marine biotechnology and ecology explores the motor protein function in Antarctic fishes and how marine organisms detect and respond to chemical risk cues. Department members are also involved in the development of electronic nervous systems for robots modeled on the lobster and the lamprey and the bioengineering seaweeds to detoxify mercury.

Within the field of microbiology and immunology, researchers at Northeastern are uncovering previously unculturable microorganisms and natural inhibitors of microbial resistance from medicinal plants. They are defining controls for antibiotic formation and the immunological parameters that determine the health of preimplantation embryos. They are exploring how humans limit inflammation and how chemotaxis leads to symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Researchers are also investigating the nature of persister cells responsible for multidrug tolerance of biofilms and latent infections.

Neurobiology and behavior research explores how neurons are organized in zebrafish, how neurons communicate to allow complex behavior, and how complex insect societies optimize disease resistance. Department members are also engaged in discovering what controls the energy cost for locomotion and when circadian entrainment occurs during development.

More Information

More information is available regarding graduate applications and graduate studies at Northeastern University.

Location & Contact

Department of Biology

College of Science
Northeastern University

360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115-5096
United States

Dr. Donald O'Malley

Graduate Coordinator

Phone: 617-373-2284
Fax: 617-373-3724

Ms. Chelsea D'Aprile


Phone: 617-373-4275

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Biology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Science (MS)
    • Marine Biology Master of Science (MS)
    • Biotechnology Master of Science (MS)
      Professional Science Master's (PSM)
    • Bioinformatics Master of Science (MS)
      Professional Science Master's (PSM)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 15
    • Doctoral Degrees 7
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied Not Reported
    • Accepted Not Reported
    • Acceptance Rate Not Reported
    • Enrolled Not Reported
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $50
    • Application Fee - International $50
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline December 15th December 15th Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, TOEFL iBT

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsMarch 1
    • Types of financial support availableResearch Assitantships, Teaching Assistantships, Tuition Waivers, Career or Field-Related Internships, Federal Work-Study, Health Care Benefits, Graduate Assistantships


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchBiochemistry, marine sciences, molecular biology, microbiology and immunology neurobiology, cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, marine biochemistry and ecology, microbiology, neurobiology, biotechnology
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last yearNot Reported

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