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Program Requirements

Admission Requirements

Admission to the program requires an undergraduate degree with a major in a bioscience or chemistry or related area.  Alternatively, applicants with B.A./B.S. degree in a related field with a minor or equivalent work/certification experiences may be considered for conditional admission. While a minimum of a baccalaureate degree is required, applicant evaluation will consider pertinent background, prerequisite courses and opportunity for successful completion. Generally, applicants should have courses or experience in:

  • Molecular Cell Biology or Molecular/Cellular Biotechnology (i.e. BIOL 351 or BIOT 355/356)
  • Microbiology or Biology of Microorganisms (i.e. BIOL 160 or BIOL 367)
  • Statistics (i.e. BIOL 215 or MATH 242)
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry (i.e. CHEM 150 and CHEM 341/351)

Applicants who have not completed an upper division biochemistry course may be required to take CHEM 341 or 351.

Specific admission criteria are:

Applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to graduate studies at CSUSM, including an official score report of the General GRE.

An undergraduate grade point average 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.

All applicants, regardless of citizenship, who do not possess a bachelor's degree from a post-secondary institution where English is the principal language must satisfy the English language proficiency requirement via one of the three following methods:

TOEFL passing score:  A score of 80 internet-based (iBT), 213 computer-based (CBT) or 550 paper-based (PBT). Scores above 15 on the Writing section of the iBT will be considered on a competitive basis. Test scores must be sent directly from ETS, please visit the ETS website for detailed information and test locations. Our school code is 5677.

IELTS passing score:  An overall band score of 6.0 with a writing score no lower than 6.0 and no section score below 5.5. Be sure to let us know when you take the test and provide us with your Test Report Number (TRN) so we can electronically download the scores. Please visit the IELTS website for testing dates and locations.

ALCI TOEFL waiver: If you are interested in applying for an ALCI TOEFL waiver, please visit the ALCI website.

Degree Requirements and Courses

The Master's in Biotechnology requires thirty-eight (38) semester hours of coursework and project-oriented work experience with a local life-science entity.  Students must complete a set of courses and project work experience with a 3.0 GPA and earn at least a "C" (2.0) in each course.   Predetermined advanced level courses and credit hours are:

Science Fundamentals & Professional Preparation

BIOT 600    Genomics & DNA/RNA Technologies (5)    
BIOT 620    Bioengineering & Bioprocessing (3)      
BIOT 630    Experimental Design & Statistical Analysis in Biotechnology (3)
BIOT 650    Regulatory Affairs & Quality Management in Life Sciences (3)  
BIOT 655    Business Law & Intellectual Property in High-Tech Enterprises (2)
BIOT 660    Scientific Communication in Industry (2)     
BIOT 690    Case Studies and Current Trends in Biotechnology(2)
CHEM 450   Protein Structure and Function (3)

Business Core

BA 503    Statistics for Management (3)
BA 504    Financial Accounting (3)       
BA 505    Marketing (2)         
BA 506    Managing Complex Organizations (2)    

Internship/Residency & Project

BIOT 680    Internship/Semester in Residence/Project (5)

A student with demonstrated expertise in a required course that would make the course a repeat of attained knowledge or previous coursework may take other electives (up to 2 courses or 6 hours) offered at the graduate level as approved by the Advisory Committee.

In lieu of a thesis, the candidate must successfully complete a Project Abstract, project/work assignment with performance assessment, a written report/paper and pass an oral defense.  It is intended that the "Internship/Residency/Project" be completed in a 16-week semester period according to established guidelines for the course experience.  The type of experience for the Internship / Semester-In-Residence / Project depends upon the student's situation, current employment and right-to-work status.

Alternative Courses

BIOL 686    Graduate Topics in Biology (1-3)

Lecture and discussion of selected topics with emphasis on current problems and advances in subdisciplines of biological science.  Students should check the class schedule for listing of actual topics.  Prerequisite:  Graduate classification or consent of instructor with approval by the academic advisor and program director.

Advancement to Candidacy

The student will advance to Master's Degree candidacy upon the completion of 23 semester credit hours of coursework, satisfying the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), and approval of a Project Abstract by the student's Advisory Committee.  The GWAR may be completed either by an acceptable standardized test score for the Analytical Writing subtest of the GMAT or GRE, or a paper(s) that receive(s) a passing score as described in university policy.


Graduate students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and earn at least a C (2.0) in each course, except those taken for credit/no credit.  Any student whose overall GPA falls below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters will be dropped from the program.  A full-time student should be enrolled in the predetermined course schedule and credit hours each semester for the program.  In addition, a project report must be submitted, defended and approved at the end of the Internship or Semester-In-Residence.  In unusual circumstances where project requirements are not be completed, defended and approved at the end of the Internship or Semester-In-Residence, the student may complete the requirements within six months under the guidance of the advisory committee.