Skip to Side Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Accessibility Settings

The Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Course Requirements for the Master's Degree: 30 units

Continuous enrollment is required. A maximum of 9 semester units of transfer and/or CSU Chico Open University coursework may be applied toward the degree.

Graduate Time Limit:

All requirements for the degree are to be completed within five years of the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course applied toward the degree. See Master's Degree Requirements in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements.

Prerequisites for Admission to Conditionally Classified Status:

1. Satisfactory grade point average as specified in Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Admission Requirements in the University Catalog.

2. Approval by the department and the Office of Graduate Studies.

3. An acceptable baccalaureate in biological sciences from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Office of Graduate Studies.

4. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination with a minimum combined score (verbal and quantitative) of 1000, and an analytical score above 3.5.

5. Letter of Intent and two letters of recommendation.

6. Approval by at least two potential faculty mentors.

Prerequisites for Admission to Classified Status:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 units.

2. Acceptance by a CSU, Chico faculty mentor.

Advancement to Candidacy:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Satisfactory completion of BIOL 600.

2. Satisfactory scores on each area of the Biology Subject GRE.

3. Establishment of a Graduate Advisory Committee.

4. Submission of an Approved Program Plan.

5. Successful completion of a written qualifying exam in the student's specialty area (cell/molecular biology, ecology, microbiology, or botany).

Requirements for the MS in Biological Sciences:

Completion of all requirements as established by the departmental graduate committee, the Graduate Advisory Committee, and the Office of Graduate Studies, to include:

1. Completion of an approved program consisting of 30 units of 400/500/600-level courses as follows:

(a) At least 18 units in the discipline of biological sciences, including at least one course of 3 or more units outside the sub-discipline (i.e., botany, zoology, microbiology).

(b) BIOL 600, Research in the Biological Sciences, to be completed during the first fall semester.

(c) At least one unit of graduate seminar (BIOL 605 or BIOL 605), completed during the first year.

(d) At least 18 of the units required for the degree in 600-level courses.

(e) Not more than 9 semester units of transfer and/or extension credit (correspondence courses and U.C. extension course work are not acceptable).

(f) Not more than 15 units taken before admission to classified status.

(g) Not more than 2 units of Independent Study (697) and 6 units of Master's Thesis (699).

2. Completion and final approval of an independent research project resulting in an acceptable thesis as specified by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee.

3. Presentation of a seminar based on the student's master's thesis research. This seminar will usually be given during the semester in which the student plans to complete the degree requirements.

4. Approval by the departmental graduate committee and the Graduate Coordinators Committee on behalf of the faculty of the University.

Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency:

Writing proficiency is a graduation requirement.

Biological sciences majors will demonstrate their writing competence through satisfactory completion of a designated portion of the qualifying examination required as a prerequisite for admission to candidacy.

Graduate Grading Requirements:

All courses in the major (with the exceptions of Independent Study - 697, Master's Project - 699P, and Master's Thesis - 699T) must be taken for a letter grade, except those courses specified by the department as ABC/No Credit (400/500-level courses), AB/No Credit (600-level courses), or Credit/No Credit grading only. A maximum of 10 units combined of ABC/No Credit, AB/No Credit, and Credit/No Credit grades may be used on the approved program (including 697, 699P, 699T and courses outside the major). While grading standards are determined by individual programs and instructors, it is also the policy of the University that unsatisfactory grades may be given when work fails to reflect achievement of the high standards, including high writing standards, expected of students pursuing graduate study.

Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average in each of the following three categories: all coursework taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program; all coursework taken at CSU, Chico subsequent to admission to the program; and all courses on the approved master's degree program.

Graduate Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory each semester for biological sciences majors. Consult the Graduate Coordinator for specifics.

Catalog Cycle:12