Jan Sapp received his PhD in the history of science from the University of Montréal in 1984. He subsequently held an appointment at the University of Melbourne for 8 years, where he served as chair of the department of History and Philosophy of Science. He was visiting associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1990-1991) and then Andrew Mellon Fellow at the Rockefeller University, 1991-92. He subsequently accepted an appointment at York University in Toronto, and he was Professor and Chair in the Department of Science and Technology Studies before moving to the Biology Department in 1996.
Professor Sapp held the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the History of the Biological Sciences at the University of Québec at Montréal from 2001 to 2003 of which he remains an Associate; he returned to the Biology Department at York University. He is also Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, and is completing a book on the evolution and ecology of Tropical biology.