Biology M.S.

Our next application deadline is Feb 15, 2016 for the Fall 2016 semester

Dear Prospective Graduate Student,

Thank you for your interest in our graduate program in Biological Sciences. Our faculty have designed a program that will provide students advanced knowledge and training in biology.  Graduates with an M.S. in Biological Sciences will be prepared to continue study at the Ph.D. level, to pursue careers in private industry or government affiliated labs, and/or to teach at the community college level.  In addition to course work, the student will participate in original research culminating in a written thesis, its defense, and a public presentation.

We are very excited about our program and are pleased that you are interested in joining us.  Some of the special features of this program include:

  • Research-based MS degree that includes a written thesis and oral presentation
  • Close, individual guidance by highly trained faculty
  • Incorporation of science pedagogy and teaching experience
  • Close partnerships with the private and public sector. With appropriate approval, students will be able to conduct their thesis research off campus in a partnership with a company or governmental agencies 
  • Extremely well-equipped, modem laboratory facilities
  • Access to numerous field sites in the area
Because our degree is research based, each student is paired with a faculty advisor in the area of their interests.  Prospective students are highly encouraged to contact faculty members directly before applying to the program to discuss research opportunities.  The ability of a faculty member to take on new graduate students changes frequently, and space may be limited in the program.

In order to pursue the Master of Science Degree in Biology, you must make separate applications to, and be accepted by, both the University and the Department. Applications to the University and information on admission requirements may be requested from the Office of Admissions, (760) 750-4848. The University application and fee pay system is online and can be found on the main school website.

In addition to the prerequisites for entrance to CSUSM as a graduate student, our program requires the following: 1) a bachelor's degree in the biological or related sciences with minimum coursework similar to that required for our minor in Biological Sciences at CSUSM; 2) an undergraduate GPA in all completed science and math courses of at least 2.75 or a GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 35 semester units of science and math; and 3) Scores from the General GRE test (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing) submitted by the application deadline. Please complete your University application before you have GRE scores sent to CSUSM Department of Biological Sciences.

In order to be accepted into the Masters Program in Biology, you must also apply directly to the Biology Program. To do so, please complete and return the items listed below. The Departmental application deadline is February 15 for the following Fall Semester. 

We do not accept Spring or Summer applicants.

To apply, please submit the following items:

  • Completed Department Application Form for admission to the Master's program in Biological Sciences. Note that this form requires a statement of interests and educational and career goals. Right click to save: Biological Masters Departmental Application Form
  • Official transcripts (these must be separate from those sent to the University) from all colleges and universities attended. Transcripts from CSUSM can be unofficial.
  • Please use the following Excel spreadsheet to calculate your GPA for all math and science classes taken as well as your GPA in these courses for the last 35 semester units - you need to send an ELECTRONIC COPY of this to the graduate advisor Dr. Deborah Kristan ( when you apply Right click to save:  GPA Calculator (Excel Spreadsheet)
  • Official score reports for the GRE General Test (and TOEFL/TWE, if applicable). We do not accept MCAT scores.
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's performance in the classroom and potential for independent research.
Send all application material preferably by e-mail to:
Department of Biological Sciences
California State University, San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (

Deborah Kristan, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Coordinator