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Ph.D. in Applied Biology

Full time Duration: 5 years

The Ph.D. Program in Applied Biology at UMass Lowell trains outstanding students to contribute to the wide array of life science research needs.

The program integrates foundational areas of biology (e.g., Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology, Genetics, Developmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology) with focused interdisciplinary biological research and preparation for career advancement.

The program combines fundamental and rigorous training in the pursuit of new knowledge regarding the mechanisms of biological processes coupled with the skills needed to apply this knowledge in the workforce. In addition to traditional academic careers in research and education at colleges and universities and academic research hospitals and institutes, our graduates are also prepared for non-academic careers.

To provide students an area of focus within the broad field of biology, the Applied Biology program includes four options. 

  • Biomedical Science 
  • Developmental & Evolutionary Biology 
  • Quantitative Biology & Biophysics 
  • Cellular & Molecular Biology 

Students select their option anytime during their first two years in the program. Each option contains a list of approved advanced option graduate courses. Students are required to complete at least four advanced courses in their option and two courses outside of their option.

For more information on the curriculum including course listings and degree pathways, visit the Graduate Catalog.

  • Submitted online application
  • First year and transfer students must show evidence of having earned a Bachelors or Master’s degree in Biology or a related discipline (e.g., Biochemistry, Botany, Environmental Biology, Marine Biology, Zoology) with a minimum 3.0 GPA
    • A Master’s degree with evidence of a strong background in biology may be used in lieu of a degree in Biology or a related discipline for students who earned their undergraduate degree in a different field of science or engineering
  • Official transcript from previously earned degrees
  • Official score from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • $50 application fee

International Applicants

  • For applicants who earned their degree outside of the US: transcript must be evaluated by a credentialing service such as CED
  • English proficiency testing
    • TOEFL minimum 90
    • IELTS minimum 7


Full consideration - January 31

Regular application - March 31

See the Graduate Catalog for additional requirements of the program. 

Visit Graduate Admissions for more information about the application process.

To facilitate research and academic achievement, the Department of Biological Sciences offers at least two years of teaching assistant support for Applied Biology students. Support includes tuition, fees, and a stipend for living expenses. 

In subsequent years support funding can be supplied by the department, training programs and faculty research grants. Applied Biology is a multi-department program. Additional grants, scholarships, or research support opportunities may be available through individual departments/programs. Applicants are strongly encouraged to have established contact with potential research mentors before applying.


Cost Per Credit: $842.21*


Cost Per Credit: $1,496.66*

*These estimated graduate charges are for the 2019-2020 academic year. These prices are subject to change by vote of the UMass Board of Trustees.


For more information on tuition and financing, visit Costs & Aid for Graduate Programs.

Why Study Applied Biology at UMass Lowell?

Visiting grad student researcher from Spain working with molecular biologist Jack Lepine

Experiential Learning

Students have the opportunity to experience laboratory rotations and engage in journal clubs and research seminars. Students also work closely with a faculty advisor in the development of an individual research development plan that will be tailored to serve specific research and professional goals. Learn more about research topics

Darwin's bark spider web

Cutting-edge Research

Assoc. Prof. Jessica Garb and a team of researchers including UMass Lowell students are examining the molecular composition, biomechanical properties and evolution of an exceptional type of silk produced by an arachnid species known as Darwin’s bark spider. Read more

Prof. Jessica Fish and student in the lab

Outstanding Faculty

Asst. Prof. Jennifer L. Fish is spearheading a project to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible in patients who have mutations in the gene called SATB2and how these mutations in SATB2 cause defects, specifically in the growth of the lower jaw. Read more