The Master of Science degree in Biology is designed to prepare students for biological research, doctoral study, technical positions in university, hospital and public health laboratories, the biotechnology industry or other industry settings, government agencies, and community college teaching. Graduate students may focus their studies in any of the following areas: animal biology, applied microbiology, biotechnology, cell biology, developmental biology, ecology, environmental biology, environmental microbiology, evolution, genetics, immunology, marine biology, molecular biology, molecular phylogenetics, neurobiology, physiological ecology, plant biology, population genetics, virology, or zoology.
Admission to the Program
Application to the Department of Biological Sciences and the University is required. The completed departmental application, together with transcripts of all previous college work, general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (no minimum score requirement), and three letters of recommendation, must be received by the department prior to the following deadlines:
- March 15 for admission to Fall Quarter
- January 1 for admission to Spring Quarter
Applications will be reviewed by the Department and assessed based on the completed application form and supporting materials.
Applicants are expected to possess a baccalaureate in a biological science, such as biochemistry, biology, medical technology, or microbiology, equivalent to the Bachelor of Science degree offered at Cal State L. A. Applicants may be admitted to the degree program in classified or conditionally classified standing. Classified standing is granted to those accepted applicants who have a minimum 2.75 grade point average in their last 90 quarter units attempted. Conditionally classified standing is granted to those accepted applicants whose grade point average in their last 90 quarter units attempted is between 2.5 and 2.74. Conditionally classified students must achieve a B (3.0) grade point average in four qualifying courses (to be approved in advance by the graduate adviser) that should be completed by the end of their second quarter of graduate study and must be among the first six courses completed.
Applicants who wish to enter the program from outside the biological science area must complete the following courses (or equivalents) to be eligible for graduate status in the Biological Sciences Department:
Requirements for the Degree (45 units)
A minimum of 45 units is required, with at least 25 in 500-level courses. A thesis is required. All students must complete BIOL 500 Graduate Orientation during the first quarter of attendance, BIOL 510 (Seminar: Biology) twice during their first year in classified graduate standing, and BIOL 594 Graduate Thesis Prospectus, within the first three quarters after joining a research laboratory. Students also must fulfill all University requirements including the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). All students must present their thesis research in a department seminar.
The M.S. degree requires a minimum of 20 units of 400 or 500- level elective courses in biology or related fields. These courses are selected in consultation with an adviser and should provide the student with the necessary background for thesis research.
The M.S. degree also requires a minimum of two graduate seminar courses (3 units each) in addition to BIOL 500 (1), BIOL 510 (1,1), BIOL 594 (1) and one of the following options:
Required Course (4 units)
Graduate Research (2 units)
Graduate Research (6 units)
Before enrolling in BIOL 597 and 599 students must have received credit for BIOL 594 . Students may enroll in BIOL 598 prior to enrolling in BIOL 594. BIOL 594 must have been completed within three quarters of the date students attain classified graduate standing in order for them to remain eligible for assistantships.
Before being awarded the M.S. degree, students must present their thesis research in a public seminar immediately followed by an oral defense administered by the thesis committee.