Biological Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the new application requirements.

What are the GPA and coursework requirements 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 for 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.

There is no GPA that will guarantee admission to the program. The only way to be admitted is to have a sponsor. Sponsors and the Graduate Coordinator will determine whether your background is adequate for admission.

Is the GRE required?

The department does not require the GRE for admission.

Are letters of recommendation required?

Letters of recommendation 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.

What should I include in my personal statement of intent?

The personal statement should describe academic/scientific research experience, relevant professional experience, research interests for the MS degree, and professional goals. In addition, 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).

Describe your academic background, especially any research experience. Describe your research interests. Be as specific as possible. Describe your professional goals (e.g., PhD, medical school, employment). State the identity of your confirmed sponsor. It is not necessary for you to provide personal or family history, or your motivations for seeking the degree. You are not forbidden to discuss these matters, but the primary purpose of the letter of intent is to inform potential sponsors of your research background and interests. This is not a college admissions essay.

Are classes offered in the evenings?

No. If you are employed or have other commitments requiring your attention during the day, you would need sufficient flexibility to be able to get to campus to take classes. There is usually flexibility with respect to when research may be conducted.

Can my sponsor be from another department or university?

No, absolutely not. The purpose of the sponsor procedure is to develop a professional association with a member of the Biological Sciences Department graduate faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.

Which should I do first, find a sponsor or apply to the university?

You must first find a sponsor. If you apply without providing the identity of your sponsor to the Graduate Coordinator, and including the identity of your sponsor in your Statement of Intent, you will not be admitted.

What happens if I don't get a sponsor?

You will not be admitted to the Biological Sciences Master’s Program. Your application will become inactive. Any future applications to the program will require the payment of another application fee.

What happens after I apply?

The Admissions Office will do the initial processing of your application. They will require all transcripts and fees be supplied through CSU Apply. Check the status of your application to see if everything has been received at Admissions. When Admissions has everything, they will send your file to the graduate coordinator in the department (this status is called "Academic Review"). The graduate coordinator will check to confirm that you have identified your sponsor.

When you email the graduate coordinator with the identity of your sponsor, the graduate coordinator will confirm the sponsorship with the faculty member. Once your application is complete and the sponsor is secured, the graduate coordinator will request that the Admissions office process your acceptance. You will eventually receive material from the Admissions office and from the Registrar's office.

Who do I contact for questions?

If the status of your application indicates "Academic Review", then contact the Graduate Coordinator. Otherwise, contact the Admissions Office at (909) 869-5299 or