College of Science

Degree Requirements / Curriculum

The department offers the Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences. Course work (program of study) and area of research are determined on an individual basis.

The unconditional graduate student with an advisory committee will develop a program in a selected discipline of biology based upon interests and preparation. The student's approved program will include required core courses, a selection of additional formal courses in a specialization, independent study and an appropriate thesis. It will normally constitute 45 to 50 quarter units of credit.

Requirements - For Students Entering the Program Fall Semester 2018 or Later

REQUIREMENTS

  1. The degree program must include a minimum of 30 semester units; at least 21 semester units must be in 5000-6000 level courses. No more than 9 units may be from 4000-level courses.
  2. No more than 9 units of acceptable graduate credit may be transferred from another graduate institution. No more than 9 units taken through Extended University may be used on a contract. 
    • Any course transferred into the graduate program must be taken after the student receives their undergraduate degree.  Thus, any course that appears on an undergraduate transcript can NOT be transferred.
  3. A total limit of 9 transfer units, Extended University units, and/or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included on the Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences. The stipulated time limit of 7 years applies to all of the above.
  4. The student must complete the program based upon the curriculum outlined below.
  5. A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all upper division undergraduate and all graduate classes. A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all courses listed on the Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences.
  6. Advancement to candidacy requires: (1) filing of an approved Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences; (2) passing the Graduate Writing Test (GWT); and (3) successfully completing the thesis proposal (BIO 6930).
  7. All graduate students are required to attend the annual Graduate Symposium. Students in their second year in the program will present their research at the Symposium.
  8. All graduate students must file a written progress report with the adviser and graduate coordinator each academic year.
  9. A final oral examination/thesis defense must be successfully completed (BIO 6960).
  10. An acceptable thesis must be completed and submitted for binding in accordance with university regulations.
  11. The candidate must be enrolled in the university during the semester of graduation.  Students must be registered for units and pay fees in the semester in which they graduate.
Curriculum: 30 semester units

Required Core Courses: 8 units

  • BIO 6800 - Seminar in Biology (3)
  • BIO 6930 - Presentation of Thesis Research Proposal (1)
  • BIO 6940 - Thesis Research in the Biological Sciences (4)

Required Culminating Experience Course: 2 units

  • BIO 6960 - Master’s Degree Thesis (2)

Elective Courses: Minimum of 20 units

A maximum of 9 units may be taken at the 4000 level.

3 units may be any combination of BIO 5000, BIO 6910, and BIO 6920.

  • BIO 5000 - Training in Graduate Research (1-3)
  • BIO 6910 - Directed Study (1-3)
  • BIO 6920 - Independent Study (1-3)
Possible Elective Courses   (Courses from other departments may be considered on an individual case basis
  • BIO 4030 - Human Genetics (3)
  • BIO 4040 - Advanced Genetics (3)
  • BIO 4060 - Regulatory Affairs and Safety Assessment (3)
  • BIO 4080 - Water Pollution Biology (3)
  • BIO 4140 - Biology of Species Invasions (2)
  • BIO 4180/4180L - Marine Ecology (3/1)
  • BIO 4190/4190L - Neuroscience I (3/1)
  • BIO 4200 - Neuroscience II (3)
  • BIO 4220/4220L - Neural Circuits of Behavior (3/1)
  • BIO 4240 - Neuromuscular Physiology (3)
  • BIO 4300 - Concepts of Molecular Biology (3)
  • BIO 4320/4320L - Molecular Biology Techniques (3/1)
  • BIO 4360/4360L - Protein Biotechnology (2/2)
  • BIO 4380/4380L - Bioinformatics (3/1)
  • BIO 4400 - Stem Cell Biology (3) and
  • BIO 4400L - Stem Cell Biology Lab (1)
  • BIO 4450/4450L - Physiology I (3/1)
  • BIO 4460/4460L - Physiology II (3)
  • BIO 4480/4480L - Plant Physiology (3/1)
  • BIO 4490/4490L - Marine Botany (2/2)
  • BIO 4520/4520L - Evolution of Plants (3/1)
  • BIO 4530/4530L - Plant Anatomy (2/2)
  • BIO 4540 - Plant Genetics (3)
  • BIO 4560 - Plant Development and Differentiation (3)
  • BIO 4570/4570L - Plants and the Environment (2/2)
  • BIO 4630/4630L - Medical Microbiology (3/1)
  • BIO 4640 - Medical Virology (3)
  • BIO 4650/4650L - Immunology (2/1)
  • BIO 4660/4660L - Microbial Physiology (3/1)
  • BIO 4670/4670L - General Virology (2/2)
  • BIO 4680/4680L - Microbial Ecology (2/1)
  • BIO 4690/4690L Plant-Microbe Interactions (2/1)
  • BIO 4700 - Hematology (2) and
  • BIO 4700L - Hematology Lab (1)
  • BIO 4710 - Immunohematology (2)
  • BIO 4800/4800L - Entomology (2/2)
  • BIO 4810/4810L - Histology (2/2)
  • BIO 4820/4820L – Biology of Fishes (2/2)
  • BIO 4840/4840L - Herpetology (2/2)
  • BIO 5280 - Community Ecology (3)
  • BIO 5320 - Advanced Physiology (1-3)
  • BIO 5350 - Advanced Cell Biology (1-3)
  • BIO 5400 - Biogeography (3)
  • BIO 5600 - Advanced Microbiology (1-4)
  • BIO 5600L - Advanced Microbiology Lab(1-2)
  • BIO 5650/5650L - Animal Tissue Culture (2/1)
  • BIO 5810/5810L - Transport Across Cell Membranes (3/1)
  • BIO 5990 Special Topics for Graduate Students (1-3)
  • BIO 5990L Graduate Laboratory (1-2)



 

Requirements - For Students that Entered the Program from Fall 2011 to Spring 2018

REQUIREMENTS

  1. The degree program must include a minimum of 45 quarter units; at least 24 quarter units must be in 500-600 level courses.
  2. No more than 13 quarter units of acceptable graduate credit may be transferred from another graduate institution. No more than 13 quarter units taken through Extended University (also known as Open University) may be used on a contract.
    • Units taken as an undergraduate and appearing on the undergraduate transcript CANNOT be transferred into the Graduate Program.
  3. The student must complete the program based upon the curriculum outlined below.
  4. A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all upper division undergraduate and all graduate classes. A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all courses listed on the Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences.
  5. Advancement to candidacy requires: (1) filing of an approved Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences; (2) passing the Graduation Writing Test (GWT); (3) successfully completing the thesis proposal (BIO 693); and (4) completing the comprehensive examination, consisting of the Graduate Record Examination subject test in Biology. A scaled score of 650 or greater must be achieved to complete this requirement.
    • If you have already taken the GRE subject test in Biology and achieved a scale score of 650 or greater, you do not need to re-take the test. If you have not already had your scores sent, simply have your scores sent to the University by standard ETS procedures.
    • If you started the Graduate Program in Fall 2016 or later, the GRE subject test in Biology is not required for graduation.  However, you should fill out a Graduate Academic Petition eliminating this requirement.
  6. All graduate students are required to attend the annual Graduate Symposium every year. Students in their second year in the program will present their research at the Symposium.
    • This requirement is contingent on the symposium being held.
  7. All graduate students must file a written progress report (DOC) with the adviser and graduate coordinator each academic year.
    • The progress report (DOC) is Microsoft Word document (2003 version; 74 KB) that can be completed by the student electronically. Follow the instructions on the document.
    • Students will download the form (DOC)and fill in all but the last page, save as a Microsoft Word document, and email it to the major professor as an attachment. The major professor will enter comments in the area provided and evaluate the student on the Graduate Student Learning Objectives. The major professor will then print the form, sign the form, and return it to the student. The student will sign the form and submit it to the Graduate Coordinator to be placed in the student's file.
  8. A final oral examination/thesis defense must be successfully completed.
  9. An acceptable thesis must be completed and submitted for binding in accordance with university regulations.
  10. The candidate must be enrolled in the university during the quarter of graduation. Students must be registered for units and pay fees in the quarter in which they graduate. It is a requirement adopted by the Academic Senate, approved by the President, and placed in the catalog several years ago. The department does not have the option of overriding this policy.
  11. Bio-580 may not be used for degree credit. Do not include it on GS-101 (graduate contract).
  12. Other important items to consider for progress towards degree completion:
    • Course work more than 7 years old becomes invalid.
    • If for any reason a student expects to take more than 2 consecutive quarters off, they must file a Leave of Absence petition. If a Leave of Absence petition is not filled and the student decides to return to the University after being absent for 3 or more quarters, the student will need to re-apply to the University and will be subject to all requirements for the new curriculum year.

CURRICULUM

3 units

Required Courses

BIO 680 Seminar in Biology

BIO 693 Presentation of Research Proposal

1 unit

BIO 694 Thesis Research in the Biological Sciences

6 units

BIO 696 Master's Degree Thesis

3 units

Required Subject-Area Courses

One course from List A (Cellular/Molecular) (opens in new window)

Courses from Lists A, B, & C 10 - 15 units

One course from List B (Physiology/Organismal) (opens in new window)

One course from List C (Ecology/Evolutionary) (opens in new window)

Elective Courses

  • At least 11 units from Subject-Area Courses and Elective Courses must be at the 500-level (excluding BIO 500)
  • Remaining courses may be 400-, 500-, or 600-level
  • No more than 3 units from the combination of BIO 500, BIO 691, and BIO 692

17 - 22 units

TOTAL

The total units must be at least 45, and must not exceed 50. At least 24 of the total units must be at the 500-600 level

45 - 50 units


Requirements - ONLY FOR STUDENTS ENTERING PROGRAM PRIOR TO FALL QUARTER 2011

  • The degree program must include a minimum of 45 quarter units; at least 24 units must be in 500-600 level courses.
  • No more than 13 quarter units of acceptable graduate credit may be transferred from another graduate institution. No more than 13 quarter units taken through Extended University (also known as Open University) may be used on a contract.
    • Units taken as an undergraduate and appearing on the undergraduate transcript CANNOT be transferred into the Graduate Program.
  • The student must complete the program based upon the curriculum outlined below.
  • A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all upper division undergraduate and all graduate classes.
  • A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all courses listed on the program of study. No course listed on the program of study may have a grade less than C.
  • The Graduation Writing Test (GWT) must be passed prior to Advancement to Candidacy.
  • Advancement to Candidacy (Thesis proposal - BIO 693) is required.
  • An acceptable thesis must be completed and submitted for binding in accordance with university regulations. See the University Library Thesis Regulations.
  • A final oral exam (thesis defense) must be successfully completed.
  • The candidate must be enrolled in the university during the quarter of graduation. It is a requirement adopted by the Academic Senate, approved by the President, and placed in the catalog several years ago. The department does not have the option of overriding this policy.

Curriculum

The degree requires a minimum of 45 quarter units, distributed as follows:

Course Units
Required Courses Seminar in Biology (BIO 680) - usually taken 3 times for 1 unit each 3
Presentation of Research Proposal (BIO 693) 1
Thesis Research in Biological Sciences (BIO 694) 6
Master's Degree Thesis (BIO 696) 3
Total: Required Courses (quarter units) 13
Courses in a Specialization To be selected with consent of the student's thesis committee from 400, 500 and 600-level courses; minimum of 32 (maximum of 37) units, including at least 11 units of 500 and 600-level courses. 32
TOTAL: Required Courses + Courses in a Specialization 45