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Prospective Students

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, biotechnology or government affiliated labs, and/or to teach at the college level.  In addition to course work, the student will participate in original research culminating in a written thesis, a thesis written defense, and a public presentation. Detailed information regarding the program is available in the graduate student handbook

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, modern 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 be accepted by both the University and the Department. Applications can be found at Cal State Apply and information on the University admission requirements can found at the Global Programs and Services 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.

The Departmental application deadline is February 15 for the following Fall Semester. The Biology Department does not have an open Spring admissions period, however exceptional requests for Spring admission will be reviewed by the Biology Department's Graduate Studies Committee. Contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Julie Jameson, for instructions.

Applying to the Graduate Program in Biological Sciences

Deadline for Fall admissions:  February 15, 2019

Note: Applicants for Spring admission must get approval from the Biology Department’s Graduate Studies Committee prior to submission.

Application for admission to the Master of Science Degree in Biology requires the following:
  1. A completed online application for admission to Graduate Studies for the University. Please fill out and submit the university admissions form (Cal State Apply) which is available at
  2.  Within the Cal State Apply “My Application” dashboard you see a section called “Program Materials”. This is where you will upload your statement of research interests and the GPA calculation worksheet (information can be found under “documents”).

The statement of research interests briefly outlines your career goals and your research interests. Note any research you have been involved in as an undergraduate or in another context (e.g. jobs, internships). Please also specify which biological sciences faculty you would be interested to work with, and note if you have already contacted them (this is highly recommended). Your statement should be no more than one page, single spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins, and in pdf format.

The GPA calculation worksheet is used 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: GPA Calculator (Excel Spreadsheet).

  1. The application requires three letters of recommendation.  The online application will require the submission of three names of recommenders and their email addresses.  The recommenders will automatically be contacted with instructions on how to submit their letters through the application portal. 
  2. You will be required to submit (1) official transcript and (1) unofficial transcript from each college or university attended in order to be considered for admission. However, CSUSM students are not required to submit an official transcript. All applicants who attended and/or earned degrees from colleges or universities outside of CSUSM, must send their official transcripts to the Office of Admissions & Student Outreach, CSU San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, CA 92096. 
  3. GRE scores are required and will be uploaded under “Test Score Reports”.  If your GRE scores have not yet arrived, upload a copy of your test registration (date). When completing the GRE, applicants should have the scores forwarded to the University. We do not accept MCAT scores. TOEFL/TWE scores must be submitted if applicable. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  For a list of answers to frequently asked questions, please visit the Admissions website.

Julie Jameson, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Coordinator

Phone: (760)750-8274