Academic Catalog 2024-2025

Biology, Master of Science

About the Master's Program

The Master of Science Program in Biology is a two-year program in which a student must complete a series of both core and elective courses and engage in independent scientific research that culminates in a thesis. This graduate program is designed to be a flexible degree that can help students reach their career goals, whether that be further study in a doctoral program or employment in science education, health sciences or environmental fields.

In the first semester of the program, the student will choose a research mentor who will provide guidance for the thesis research and help the student set their curriculum. Three members of the student's thesis committee, including the research mentor, will need to be selected by the end of the first year of the program.

To accommodate students with other professional commitments, many graduate classes are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening.

Admission Requirements

Requirements for admission as a classified graduate student are a bachelor's degree in biology or a related field with a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in upper division courses, and completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) at the graduate level. Students should also have strong motivation in conducting original research. All students should have completed a course in each of the subject areas listed below:

Subject Area

  • Cell Biology or Evolution or Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Upper Division Experimental Laboratory
  • Physiology or Developmental Biology
  • Statistics or Calculus

Students who do not satisfy all these requirements may complete the requirements while enrolled through Extended Education. Students who meet all but one requirement may be admitted as a conditionally classified graduate student at the discretion of the Biology Graduate Committee. They must meet any conditions by the end of the first year as a conditional graduate student.

The Biology Graduate Committee makes all final decisions on graduate admissions.

Admission Procedures

All applicants are required to complete a Cal State Apply application. The following documents should be submitted in the 4th Quadrant at Cal State Apply:

  1. CV/resume,
  2. Unofficial transcripts (submit official transcripts to the Office of Admissions),
  3. A personal statement,and
  4. Three letters of recommendation.

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree from a non-English speaking university are also required to submit proof of English proficiency. Please visit for details. Applicants should address in their personal statement why they are interested in the program and which research area(s) they wish to pursue. Applicants interested in ecology and/or evolutionary biology must contact the appropriate faculty member(s) in the Biology Department before submitting their Cal State Apply application. Applicants interested in cellular and molecular biology should indicate potential research mentors in their personal statement, and they are also encouraged to contact possible mentors.

For more information regarding the university application for admission, please visit: