Buffalo, NY
student ratio
total students
Tuition Cost Not Reported
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
January 2
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
3 Degrees Offered
degrees offered



The Department of Biological Sciences at the University at Buffalo offers graduate training in biological sciences programs in a rigorous, yet supportive research environment. The Department enrolls about 80 full-time graduate students in three degree programs: PhD, MS, and MA. Research in the department spans all fields of biology, including:

  • Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • Cell biology
  • Developmental biology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Plant science
  • Signal transduction

Apply to the Graduate Programs in Biological Sciences.

Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences

The PhD in Biological Sciences is ranked in the top 10% of programs by research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. It provides training for students interested in leadership positions in academic institutions, public policy, and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.   It also provides training in grant-writing, public speaking, and classroom instruction, ensuring that students are well-prepared to succeed after graduation.

PhD students work closely with faculty mentors in a supportive, rigorous research environment. All students are supported with a combination of renewable teaching and research assistantships. Support also includes tuition waivers and health insurance.

Master of Science Program in Biological Sciences

The MS in Biological Sciences provides research training for students without prior research experience and those interested in laboratory management positions. This flexible degree program allows students to choose courses in their area of interest and complete a mentored research project. Students build other relevant skills, including data preparation, oral and poster presentation, and laboratory safety and management, making them well-rounded, competitive job candidates. Work completed for the MS in Biological Sciences degree can be directly applied to a PhD degree at the University at Buffalo. 

MS candidates are eligible for teaching assistantships that provide a stipend.

Master of Arts Program in Biological Sciences

The MA in Biological Sciences prepares students for professional careers related to biology, including medical, dental, public policy, and education.  The program offers flexible course selection and research projects tailored to students’ interests.  Courses from across the university can be applied to the MA degree. 

Highly motivated students can earn their MA degree in as little as 12 months.  Since 2008, more than 75% of pre-health-intended MA students have been accepted into health training programs such as MD, DDS, and DVM.

Faculty Members

Distinguished faculty members lead the biology master's programs at the University at Buffalo.

They're excellent and innovative educators. For example, Dr. Katharina Dittmar was a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016, Dr. Jessica Poulin received the University at Buffalo (UB) Teaching Innovation Award in 2017, and Dr. Paul Gollnick received the Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award in 2017

They're also engaged in cutting-edge research. For example, Dr. Omer Gokcumen investigates the impact that genomic structural variation has on human evolution, Dr. Denise Ferkey studies neural circuits that control animal behavior, Dr. Sarah Walker is uncovering how protein production is regulated, and Dr. Zhen Wang is harnessing synthetic biology to produce medicines originally derived from plants.

The University at Buffalo and the Department of Biological Sciences

The University at Buffalo is the largest public research university in the Northeast and the most comprehensive school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. It is ranked among the top 50 public universities by US News & World Report and is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

The Department of Biological Sciences includes 27 graduate faculty members and 80 full-time graduate students from around the world. The department is characterized by its supportive academic community and the broad scope of its research program, from evolutionary genomics, to molecular biology & biochemistry of gene expression, to signal transduction & sensory perception. Funded research in the department is currently more than $2.75 million annually. Faculty also collaborate with colleagues across the university, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.


Buffalo is in the Great Lakes Region in Western New York, where the Northeast meets the Midwest. It is the second-largest city in New York State, a short drive from Niagara Falls and Toronto. Cultural attractions include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, science and historical museums, several permanent professional theater companies, and numerous amateur theater groups. Buffalo hosts three professional sports teams - the Bills (football), Sabres (hockey), and Bisons (AAA baseball). Outdoor activities include boating, swimming, hiking, camping, and skiing.


The Department hosts a Graduate Open House in October. This is a great opportunity to meet current students and faculty, learn about the degree programs and requirements, and discover the careers available through these degrees. 

To schedule a visit at other times, please contact Dr. Laura Rusche (for MS and PhD) or Dr. Dave Hoekstra (for MA).


Applications for the doctor of philosophy in biological sciences and the first round master of science program in biological sciences are due January 2. Second round MS applications are due April 2.  MA applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but must be submitted by June 30. 

Applications should be submitted online by selecting the desired biological sciences degree. Required application materials include a personal statement, transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, GRE scores, and contact information for three individuals who have agreed to provide letters of recommendation. International students must demonstrate proficiency in spoken and written English.

Location & Contact

Department of Biological Sciences (Programs in Biology)

College of Arts and Sciences
University at Buffalo, the State University of New York

109 Cooke Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
United States

Dr. Stephen Free


Phone: 716-645-4904
Fax: 716-645-2975
Email: free@buffalo.edu

Dr. Laura Rusche

Director of Graduate Studies

Phone: 716-645-5198
Fax: 716-645-2975
Email: lrusche@buffalo.edu

Request More Info

Degrees & Awards

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Biological And Biomedical Sciences Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Arts (MA)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 19
    • Doctoral Degrees 8
    • 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 Independent research project, written report, oral presentation
    • Doctoral Degrees Comp Exam Required, Thesis Required and thesis research, oral defense
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


49% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 132
    • Accepted 65
    • Acceptance Rate 49
    • Enrolled 31
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $75
    • Application Fee - International $75
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 2nd January 2nd Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline December 15th December 15th Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE (for MS); GRE, MCAT, DAT, or equivalent test (for MA), solid foundation in biology, math through calculus, and chemistry through organic, general physics
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE, solid foundation in biology, math through calculus, and chemistry through organic, general physics; previous research experience
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL (minimum score 95 iBT) or IELTS (minimum score 6.5)

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsJanuary 2
    • Types of financial support availableFellowships, Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, Health Care Benefits

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students79
    • Female Percentage46%
    • Male Percentage54%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students79
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Full-time Percentage100%
  • Race/Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino3%
    • Black / African American5%
    • White / Caucasian44%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian14%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown or International Student34%


  • Faculty Breakdown
    • Total Faculty28
    • Full-time Percentage100%
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Female Percentage32%
    • Male Percentage68%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchRegulation of gene expression, signaling and sensory transduction, evolutionary phylogenomics, neuroscience, fungal biology
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last year$1,941,935


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