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Master of Science in Biology for Science Teachers

In an effort to maintain the health of our students and reduce their travel during a pandemic, we will not be accepting applications for the summer 2022 cohort. Our next cohort will be summer 2023.​​​​ 

The two-year program is designed to fit the schedules of working teachers. It consists of two summer institutes, three weeks each, in residence at Washington University. The remaining course work during the academic years will be completed online. Summer housing is available for out of town students and included in the cost of the program.

Teachers in the program continue working together throughout the summer and online courses, using social media to develop a professional networking group.

Program Benefits

  • Earn a Master of Science in Biology from Washington University in two years while continuing to work at your current job.
  • Learn from leading researchers in St. Louis and top-notch faculty at Washington University, one of the most prominent research universities in the country.
  • Gain skills to build your department as a team and acquire nationwide contacts with colleagues who are working to strengthen biology education.
  • Spend two three-week summer sessions at Washington University’s main campus, participating in courses with renowned faculty. Housing and on-campus meals are included in the program cost.
  • Participate in professional networks to keep in touch with colleagues and to provide support when writing papers and conference proposals.
  • Develop leadership skills for curriculum innovation at the district, local and national levels.


Program History

Washington University in St. Louis faculty created and piloted this degree with 90 biology teachers as a National Science Foundation (NSF) teacher institute. Barbara Schaal, Mary-Dell Chilton distinguished professor in biology, and Victoria L. May, assistant dean in Arts & Sciences, used a blend of current research in life sciences and in education to design the program.

Using the NSF program as its benchmark, the MS in Biology for Science Teachers degree is now available and open to teachers nationwide.

Schaal, a leading researcher in the nutrition and evolution of plant crops, is also the vice president of the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Her interest in helping all students understand the interconnectedness of living systems led to her involvement with the program.

Biology faculty who teach in the program use their own and related current research in the courses to demonstrate importance of scientific issues to the global community.

Tuition & Fees

The pricing for this 30-credit program varies between Residential and Non-Residential (commuting) participants. For reference purposes only:

  • Residential pricing for 2021 is $13,025/year (includes $1,100 for housing and meals and $825 in lab fees per summer).
  • Commuter pricing for 2021 is $11,925/year (per credit hour rate is $740 in 2019, plus $825 lab fee per summer). 

Tuition is billed each semester. Students will be enrolled in at least 4.5 credits per semester, making them eligible for federal financial aid (loans). Pricing does not include books. Parsons Blewett funding is available for St. Louis Public School Science Teachers.

Application Requirements

Note: the MS in Biology for Science Teachers is only available during the summer semester. We are currently not accepting applications for the summer 2022 cohort. Our next cohort will be will summer 2023.

Application Deadlines

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis and typically take four to six weeks. An application is incomplete and will not be reviewed until all of the application requirements have been received or processed. 

Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by the following dates:

  • Priority deadline: February 1
  • Final deadline: April 1
Completed application form

The online application is available online on our Apply page. Applications are ready for review when all fields on the application form are completed and the required documents have been received.

Official transcripts from all previous college work

Transcript from the institution where you received your bachelor's degree or a higher-level degree, was conferred. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar to University College. Electronic transcripts should be forwarded to For transcript questions, please contact our Admissions Coordinator, Patricia Agnew, at

Personal Statement

Please describe your professional growth and your plans for the future. What would you like to contribute to the field of science education as a teacher, department member, and as a professional?

Teaching Style Statement

Please describe your teaching style. Also, please tell us about your familiarity with research-based curriculum and methods.

Three Letters of Recommendation

A college instructor or professional associate should complete letters of recommendation. If an instructor cannot be contacted, applicants may submit a waiver request to provide three professional recommendations. Letters can be submitted through the online application or mailed by the recommender.

TOEFL/IELTS scores (if applicable)

All international students are required to submit TOEFL iBT or IELTS scores at the time of application. The TOEFL iBT and IELTS may be waived for applicants who, immediately prior to their application for admission, have done both of the following:

  • Lived for three years or longer in the United States or another country where English is the primary language of daily life (e.g. Canada or United Kingdom).
  • Completed three or more years of study at a college or university which is located in that country and where the language of instruction is English.

This policy applies to all international students, even those who have earned a degree from a United States college or university.

If an applicant moves away from an English-speaking country after living and studying there for three years or more, TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores are then required for admission. 

Changes to the English Language Proficiency Requirements (2022–23)

Effective March 23, 2022, if an applicant is unable to take the TOEFL iBT or the IELTS, they may document their efforts to take the tests, contact University College Admissions, and request the Duolingo, TOEFL ITP Plus for China, or TOEFL iBT Home Edition as exceptions. 

For international student application deadlines and fees, please click HERE.

Additional TOEFL and IELTS information for international students adversely affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on University College’s International Student Information webpage.

Our advisors go the extra mile to help you navigate your path and needs. We will provide you with the tools to make each moment spent on your education as valuable as possible. Students will receive:

  • individual appointments with an experienced advisor;
  • career planning services to prepare you for opportunities after graduation;
  • a partner throughout your journey to ensure success.



Student advising is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.


Schedule an appointment

Academic Year / Online Courses

  • Tropical Marine Biology (BIO 4080)
  • Program Capstone I (BIO 521)
  • Chemistry for Biology Teachers (BIO 509)
  • Case Studies in Biology (BIO 529)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 5322)
  • Conservation Biology and Biodiversity (BIO 5432)
  • Applications of Biology to Global Health Issues (BIO 563)
  • Program Capstone II (BIO 5771)
  • Immunology
  • Human Genetics

Summer Courses

  • Plants and People (BIO 523)
  • Matter and Energy Transformations (BIO 5925)
  • Molecular Basis of Heredity (BIO 5924)
  • Ecology and Environmental Sciences (BIO 524)
  • Biological Evolution (BIO 525)
  • Neuroscience and Behavior (BIO 5926)
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