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Master's of Science in Biology

The available programs in this degree cover a wide spectrum of biology and include both laboratory and field study. This degree requires a thesis based on original scientific research; a list of research areas with the names of faculty specializing in these areas can be obtained from the Department's Graduate Office.

Application Deadlines:

  • March 15: Application Deadline for following Fall semester. Apply for early consideration by February 15, with best chance of getting Departmental financial support.

Download PDF forms for Graduate Program:


Application Form- MS Biology
Recomendation Letter
Application for Teaching/ Graduate Assistantship

SC1 Form
Graduate Program of Study form - Biology
Thesis Proposal Cover Sheet
Faculty Research Listing
Graduate Handbook
Thesis deadlines 2015-16
Seven Easy Steps to Finishing your Thesis

Please use Adobe Acrobat to print forms. Fill out forms and mail to:

Graduate Office, Department of Biological Sciences,
California State University, Long Beach,
1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-9502

Important info for all TA's & GA's:

Resources for TA's & GA's

Download forms for applying for a TA/GA position:

Note: Returning TA's and GA's: Submit the Teaching Associate/Graduate Assistant Application for Employment.

New TA's and GA's: Submit the Teaching Associate/Graduate Assistant Application for Employment and an SC1 Form.

Application for Teaching/ Graduate Assistantship

SC1 Form

Admission to the Department


In addition to the prerequisites for entrance into CSULB as a graduate student, stated previously in this catalog under Graduate Degrees and Post Baccalaureate Studies, the Department of Biological Sciences requires:

1. A faculty member in the department must agree to serve as the thesis advisor to the student prior to her/his acceptance into the M.S. program;

2. A bachelor's degree in the biological or related sciences from an accredited institution. Students with alternative undergraduate degrees will be considered;

3. An undergraduate GPA in all completed science and mathematics courses of at least 2.70 OR a GPA of at least 3.00 in the last 40 semester (or 60 quarter) units of science and mathematics courses completed;

4. The GRE General Test must have been taken prior to applying to the Department. The applicant should score in the 50th percentile or better in Verbal and Quantitative sections. If either the GRE Verbal or Quantitative score (but not both) is below the 50th percentile, the student may be considered for acceptance if their respective undergraduate grades in English or Math are a B average or better. The GRE must have been taken within five years prior to the intended admission date.

5. Applicants without a degree within a field of the biological sciences must also take the GRE Biology or Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Subject Test. A score of 50th percentile or better on the GRE Subject Test in Biology, or Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology must be achieved.

6. International Students must provide official TOEFL scores. Minimum TOEFL iBT score of 90 is required. (No other test can be used to replace the TOEFL.)


Prospective graduate students in M.S. in Biology, including CSULB graduates, must formally apply for admission to CSULB as described previously in this catalog and must also apply directly to the Department of Biological Sciences. All applicants must submit the following documents directly to the Department no later than March 15 for the fall semester to receive consideration for admission:

1. Completed Departmental Application Form.

2. A one page essay describing why the applicant wishes to obtain an M.S. degree in Biology at CSULB and how this relates to her/his career objectives.

3. Curriculum Vitae.

4. Unofficial transcripts from each university/college attended, including those completed at CSULB (these are in addition to those transcripts required for general graduate admission to CSULB).

5. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic performance and research potential.

6. Official report of the scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) GENERAL Test. Please send official GRE scores to CSULB (Code #4389). This test must have been taken prior to applying to the Department. Students who do not have a degree in Biology (or a related field approved by the Department) must also take the GRE Subject Test in Biology or the Subject Test in Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology. (No other test can be used to replace the GRE.)

These materials must be submitted to the Graduate Office, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-9502.

Review by the Graduate Studies Committee

The Graduate Studies Committee will review all applications completed by the deadlines. Admission into the M.S. Program in Biology is competitive, with an applicant's college GPA, GRE Subject Test scores, one-page essay, and letters of recommendation weighed in the decision to accept or decline. Applicants who are admitted into the program will enter as either a Classified or Conditionally Classified Graduate Student, as described below. All admitted students must contact the Graduate Advisor prior to their first semester for counsel and orientation.

Admission to the Department of Biological Sciences as a Classified Graduate Student (7621-052)

The Department of Biological Sciences may admit as a Classified Graduate Student any applicant who:

1. has met all prerequisites,

2. has a complete application folder, and

3. has obtained acceptance by a faculty member to serve as her/his Thesis Advisor.

The Thesis Proposal and Program of Study

After admission to the Department under Classified, the student, in consultation with the Thesis Advisor, must prepare the Thesis Proposal and establish a Program of Study, that includes all coursework to be taken. The Thesis Proposal must include a thorough review of relevant primary literature that demonstrates the context of the proposed research, it must clearly define the experiments proposed for the research to be undertaken, and should include preliminary data, if available. The student and her/his Thesis Advisor will select at least two additional members to serve on the Thesis Committee. The Departmental Graduate Advisor serves as an ex-officio member of all thesis committees. In most cases, the Thesis Advisor will serve as Chair of the Thesis Committee. However, if the Thesis Advisor is not eligible, another member of the Thesis Committee will need to serve as Chair of the Thesis Committee. The student will then have a formal meeting with the Thesis Committee, at which the student's Thesis Proposal and Program of Study will be evaluated. At this meeting, the student is expected to present the Thesis Proposal to the committee, and the committee will question the student. At the completion of this meeting, the Thesis Committee will meet briefly, without the student present, to approve the Thesis Proposal. Approval is based on whether the student has demonstrated a solid understanding of his/her thesis project.

The Program of Study must include six units of Thesis (BIOL 698), one to three units of Directed Research (BIOL 697), two units of Research Design (BIOL 696A), two units of Scientific Communication (BIOL 696B), one unit of Seminar (MICR 580 or BIOL 580), and four units from: BIOL 661, 663, 664, 665, 666, MICR 661, or CHEM 595A; BIOL 661-666 and MICR 661 topics must be different. Of the minimum 30 units, no more than six may come from BIOL 661-666, and no more than two units of CHEM 595A; no more than six may come from transfer credit; and no more than one 300-level course may be included. Any 300-level course on a graduate program of study must be approved by the Thesis Advisor and the Graduate Advisor. BIOL 696A will be taken during the student's initial Fall semester; the course will cover experimental design, statistics, and literature research, and it will help students in preparing their Thesis Proposal. BIOL 696B will be taken later in the program, when thesis-related data are available, and will cover both oral and written scientific presentation. BIOL 696B is intended to facilitate manuscript and thesis writing and to help students learn to articulate their findings for their thesis defense.

The Program of Study and Thesis Proposal must be established, presented and approved by the Thesis Committee before the end of the second semester after admission to the Department. Failure to meet these requirements will result in dismissal from the Department's M.S. in Biology program.

Advancement to Candidacy

In addition to the general University requirements stated previously under Post-Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees in this Catalog, the student must complete the following steps before receiving Master’s Candidate status in the Department of Biological Sciences:

1. Admission to the Master's Degree program in Biology as a Classified graduate student (see above);

2. Acceptance of the Thesis Proposal and Program of Study by the Thesis Committee;

3. Satisfactory academic progress;

4. Satisfactory fulfillment of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

The Thesis Committee will recommend the student for advancement to candidacy by forwarding its recommendation to the Department Graduate Advisor. This should occur at least one year before graduation. Upon approval by the Associate Dean, the student will attain Master’s Candidate status.

Requirements for the Master of Science in Biology

The regulations governing the master's degree are those in effect at the time of advancement to candidacy. In addition to the general University requirements stated previously in this Catalog, the student must meet the following requirements before receiving the degree of Master of Science in Biology. The requirements are:

1. Advancement to candidacy (see above);

2. Maintenance of a 3.00 ("B" average), or better, overall graduate grade-point average (includes all upper-division and graduate level courses taken since admission to this University and after completion of the baccalaureate degree) and graduate program GPA. If either GPA falls below 3.00, it must be elevated to a 3.00 at the end of the following semester or the student will be dropped from the M.S. in Biology program;

3. Completion of a written thesis and an oral defense of this thesis, followed by a public presentation of the thesis research. The members of the candidate's Thesis Committee must have approved the thesis and the defense before a student may schedule the public presentation. The student may not defend the thesis or give a public presentation during the summer session; and

4. Serve as a teaching associate or graduate assistant. Under some circumstances, this requirement may be waived.

Requests to graduate must be received by Enrollment Services approximately 6 months in advance of the expected graduation date (Check the Schedule of Classes for the date).

These degree requirements must be completed within 7 years from when the first course on the Program of Study was completed, including academic leaves, or the student's degree program will be terminated.