Biological Sciences

Master's of Science in Biological Sciences


The following requirements must be met to be considered for admission:

  • An applicant for admission to the Biological Sciences Graduate Program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university.
  • Students with an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 can be considered for admission. A GPA of 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework, as well as all biology and biology-related coursework, is recommended but not required.
  • There are no minimum coursework requirements for admission. However, the following coursework is suggested: 16 semester units in upper division biological sciences, 12 semester units in chemistry, 8 semester units in physics, and at least one course in calculus. Completion of this coursework is comparable to the requirements for a baccalaureate major in the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly Pomona.
  • The requirements listed above are minimum requirements. Many faculty members have their own requirements that exceed the minimum requirements (e.g., higher GPA, specific coursework, research experience, etc.). When you contact potential sponsors, it is wise to ask if they have their own requirements to join their lab as a graduate student.

To be admitted, applicants must be sponsored by a member of the graduate faculty. The sponsor will serve as the Chair of the Thesis Committee. Applicants should contact faculty members conducting research in their area of interest. Applicants should provide a curriculum vitae to their potential sponsor, and arrange to discuss research interests, available space, qualifications, and goals. Applicants are responsible for securing a sponsor.

Three letters of recommendation are required. Letters should be provided by individuals able to evaluate the applicant's academic record and potential for success in a research-based graduate program. Applicants should specify contact information for three references in the CSU Apply application. The references will receive an email with a link to upload their letters to CSU Apply. 

Applicants must provide a personal statement of intent. The statement should describe academic/scientific research experience, relevant professional experience, research interests for the MS degree, and professional goals. Applicants must identify their confirmed sponsor in the statement. The statement should be uploaded to CSU Apply and must not exceed one page in length (Arial 11-point font; 1-inch margins all around; single-spaced).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - International students only

  • For International students, the CSU system requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550 for the paper version, 213 on the computer-based exam or 79-80 on the Internet version in order to participate in graduate studies.
  • Instructions on how to have TOEFL scores sent to your home university can be found on the "Sending your scores" TOEFL page of the exam. Cal Poly Pomona Institution Code: 4082. Department Code (Biology): 0203. Your application will not be processed until TOEFL scores are received. If scores are not received by 2-3 weeks before the start of the semester to which you have applied, your application will be denied.
  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also an acceptable measure of English language proficiency. The IELTS Overall Band Score minimum for being accepted into the Graduate Program score is 6.5, with exceptions being made on a case-by-case basis.

Conditional Admissions

Conditional admissions are not available. Applicants who do not meet requirements will not be admitted to the program. You are encouraged to take additional coursework as necessary to meet requirements. However, the Biological Sciences Department will not provide entrance to the university. Students may take courses through the Open University or appropriate courses at another institution.

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