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. At the discretion of the academic program, a maximum of 30 percent of the units counted toward the degree requirements may be special session credit earned in non-matriculated status combined with all transfer coursework.  This applies to special session credit earned through Open University, or in courses offered for academic credit through the Center for Regional and Continuing Education.

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) At the discretion of the academic program, a maximum of 30 percent of the units counted toward the degree requirements may be special session credit earned in non-matriculated status combined with all transfer coursework. This applies to special session credit earned through Open University, or in courses offered for academic credit through the Center for Regional and Continuing Education. (Correspondence courses and UC Extension coursework are not acceptable for transfer).

(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.

The Option in Botany

Students may additionally consider completing a Master of Science in Biological Sciences with an Option in Botany. Upon completion, the Option in Botany will be included with the posted degree on the academic record and on the diploma.

This is a four-semester sequence of graduate level coursework that includes field, laboratory, and primary literature based courses. It differs from the Ecological, Evolutionary, and Organismal or Cellular and Molecular Biology emphasis that can be completed as part of the general MS in Biological Sciences, in that it requires at least 18 units of plant related courses at the 400 level or above.

Completion of all requirements for the MS in Biological Sciences as noted above, except that there is no requirement to take three or more units outside the sub-discipline for this option.

At least 18 units of 400/600-level plant related courses.

1 course required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: BIOL 350, BIOL 448, graduate standing.
Autecology, emphasizing California vascular plants, with focus on current topics in behavioral and reproductive ecology. Field project work and detailed literature survey. 2 hours seminar, 6 hours laboratory. (001299)

14 units required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: NSCI 102 or BIOL 153; CHEM 108 or CHEM 270; or faculty permission.
Functions in higher plants; water and soil relations, photosynthesis, respiration, enzyme action, and growth. 3 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (001181)
Prerequisites: BIOL 153.
Comparative morphology of plant types, emphasizing evolution of structures and methods of reproduction. 3 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (001191)
Prerequisites: BIOL 153 or PSSC 101 or faculty permission.
Study of plant pathology encompassing parasitism and disease in plants, pathogen attack strategies, diseased plant physiology, plant defense mechanisms, environmental effects on disease and descriptions of diseases and treatments. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (001194)
Prerequisites: BIOL 152 or faculty permission.
Principles of plant classification with field study of local flora, emphasizing the higher plants and their phylogenetic relationships. 2 hours discussion, 6 hours laboratory. (001198)
Prerequisites: BIOL 152, BIOL 369.
The composition and distribution of plant communities, emphasizing the ecological, environmental, and evolutionary processes that affect them. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (020283)
Prerequisites: BIOL 350.
Study and lecture/discussion of population ecology, with an emphasis on field methods used on local populations. 2 hours seminar, 6 hours laboratory. (001303)
Prerequisites: BIOL 350.
This course is a special topic offered for 1.0-3.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. Detailed investigation of selected special topics in ecology, systematics, or evolutionary biology. Extensive survey of current literature. Topics will be selected and advertised by the instructor. 3 hours seminar. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 4.0 units. (001291)
Prerequisites: BIOL 350 or GEOG 444; MATH 314 or MATH 350 or GEOG 315.
This course is also offered as GEOG 660 .
This course emphasizes spatial patterning in the landscapeits causes, development, and importance for ecological and environmental processes. The course includes the study of ecological and anthropologic aspects of landscape pattern and change. The laboratory includes hands-on experience with tools used in landscape ecology. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (020295)

At least 60% of the units required for the degree must be 600-level courses.

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:15