Graduate Advisement | Biological Sciences


The Master's of Science program in Biology involves a combination of course work and original research. There is no comprehensive examination option. Students work closely with a faculty mentor who is their primary source for academic advisement.

General Requirements for the MS Program

Graduate Flow Chart

The document below summarizes the admission process and steps towards completion of the degree.

Graduate Flow ChartGraduate Flow Chart

MS Program Form and Information Sheet

Below is a blank program form for Master of Science Degree in Biology.

Program Form for MS Degree in BiologyProgram Form for MS Degree in Biology

The document below summarizes important information regarding the MS Program in Biology.

Information Sheet for MS Program in BiologyInformation Sheet for MS Program in Biology

Postbaccalaureate Writing Requirement

Both conditionally classified and classified graduate students must meet the postbaccalaureate writing requirement within the first two quarters of their graduate program or before they have completed 16 units of course work, whichever comes first. This requirment is normally met by taking the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE). The policy concerning the writing requirement is provided below.

Postbaccalaureate Writing Requirement PolicyPostbaccalaureate Writing Requirement Policy

Students may petition to substitute alternative criteria to meet the writing requirement. The form below must be completed and submitted together with the appropriate documentation.

WPE Waiver FormWPE Waiver Form


Graduate Research Prospectus

Graduate students must prepare a prospectus that describes the proposed research on which the master's thesis will be based. The research prospectus must approved by the student's thesis advisor, their thesis examining committee, and the departmental Graduate Affairs Committee. Students may enroll in BIOL 598 while they are preparing the prospectus. This prospectus must be approved within three quarters of the date they receive classified graduate standing in order for a student to remain eligible for assistantships. Students normally submit their research prospectus within their first two quarter of graduate study. The student may not enroll in BIOL 597 or BIOL 599 until the prospectus is approved. The prospectus must be submitted to the Department Office by Monday of the tenth week prior to the quarter in which the student wished to enroll in research and thesis units.

Guidelines for the Research Prospectus

The document below provides guidelines for the preparation of the graduate research prospectus.

Prospectus GuidelinesProspectus Guidelines

Rubric for Prospectus Evaluation

The document below is a rubric used by members of the department Graduate Affairs Committee to evalute a student's graduate research prospectus.

Rubric for Prospectus EvaluationRubric for Prospectus Evaluation

Common Pitfalls in the Preparation of a Prospectus

The document below describes some of the more common mistakes encountered in the evaluation of a graduate research prospectus.

Common Pitfalls for the Research ProspectusCommon Pitfalls for the Research Prospectus

Master's Thesis

Graduate students must write a master's thesis based on their research. The Deparment also requires a thesis seminar followed by an oral defense of their thesis. You may invite friend and family to the public seminar. The oral defense is a one to two hour closed-door session with members of your thesis committee. You should allow at least three weeks for your committee to read the final draft of your thesis perior to the defense.

Guide to Preparation of the Master's Thesis

The document below is the University's guide to the preparation of a master'a thesis.

Master's Thesis GuideMaster's Thesis Guide

Procedures for the Master's Thesis

The document below summarizes the procedures for the administration of the master's thesis.

Procedures for the MS ThesisProcedures for the Master's Thesis

Master's Thesis Forms

Below are the forms for establishing a thesis committee and reporting the results of the oral thesis defense.

Request for Thesis CommitteeRequest for Thesis Committee (GS-12)
Report of Oral Defense of ThesisReport of Oral Defense of Thesis

Other Forms

Below are a few additional forms related to the graduate program that may be useful.

Request for Transfer Course Level Evaluation

This form is used if you are requesting approval to use transfer courses on your master's degree program

Request for Transfer Course Level EvaluationRequest for Transfer Course Level Evaluation (GS-1A)

Request for Course Substitution on Graduate Program

This form is used to request a course substitution in your graduate grogram. Note that course substitution requests must be submitted before the student completes the courses to be substituted.

Course Substitution on Graduate ProgramCourse Substitution on Graduate Program (GS-5)

Graduate Student Status Change

This form is used a change of status for a graduate student. An example of a status change would be advancement to candidacy.

Graduate Student Status ChangeGraduate Student Status Change (GS-8)

Application for Advancement to Candidacy

This form is used to recommend a student for advancement to candidacy. This form should be filed as soon as a student completes 16 units of the approved graduate program..

Application for Advancement to CandidacyApplication for Advancement to Candidacy (GS-10)