Master of Science Program in Biological Sciences

The graduate program in biological sciences at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) leads to a research-based Master of Science (MS) degree.  Our program provides the opportunity for students to receive advanced training in biological sciences and to pursue independent research investigations in specialized areas of interest.  Laboratory and/or field research is an integral component of the program, which emphasizes a "hands-on" approach with close faculty mentoring. Research experience also enables students to hone investigative skills related to experimental design & implementation, and data analysis & interpretation.  Another important feature of our program is the Teaching Assistantship requirement, which is designed to give students the opportunity to discuss and implement pedagogical strategies employed in science education.  Graduates with a MS in Biological Sciences will be prepared not only to continue study at the Ph.D. level, but also to successfully pursue careers in private industry or government affiliated labs and agencies, and to teach at the college level.

The graduate program in Biological Sciences fosters the integration of many disciplines.  A wide range of faculty expertise and research interests enables the department to offer a curriculum that spans the fields of molecular genetics and development, aquatic biology, evolution, ecology, physiology, microbiology, immunology and molecular & cellular biology.  Students may develop a program of courses and research tailored to their individual interests within the areas of faculty expertise.  In addition, students may choose a research supervisor outside of the Biological Sciences Department to be on their committee, allowing them to pursue interdisciplinary studies, special field research, or industry projects.  Seminar courses focus on the primary literature and are presented as a forum for open interchange and dissemination of scientific knowledge.

We have five program learning outcomes such that when students graduate with a Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences they will be able to:

  • Actively participate in and lead discussions about current topics and selected research topics to become highly knowledgeable about specific areas in biology.
  • Locate, acquire and critically evaluate primary literature in the biological sciences.
  • Develop specific hypotheses/aims pertaining to a research problem and design and conduct a study or experiment to accomplish this goal.
  • Quantitatively analyze and interpret biological data (e.g., class project, original thesis research).
  • Critically evaluate, synthesize and report on biological data (e.g., class project, original thesis research) in oral and/or written formats based on their knowledge of biology.

For additional information, please select the links on the left-hand navigation menu for ‘Prospective Students’ or ‘Current Students’ as appropriate.