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    Cal Poly Pomona
  Feb 19, 2018
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Science, M.S.

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Offered by: College of Science, Biological Sciences Department


The Master of Science degree program in the Biological Sciences enhances the knowledge and competence of the student in the chosen field of specialization and develops potential for continuing self-directed study and research. The curriculum is designed to increase the student's knowledge of the discipline by providing theoretical, technical and practical studies. It also provides students with training in the use of research techniques, as well as familiarity with the critical evaluation of, and the use of scientific literature. Graduate study specializations may be elected in the disciplines of the biological sciences: biology, biotechnology, botany, microbiology and zoology.

Sepehr Eskandari, Chair, Biological Sciences Department
Robert Talmadge, Graduate Coordinator

Admission to the Program

An applicant for admission to the Biological Sciences Graduate Program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. The minimum requirements for admission are: 24 quarter units in upper division biological sciences, 20 quarter units in chemistry, 12 quarter units in physics, and calculus. These courses must be comparable to those required for a baccalaureate major in the Biological Sciences Department at this university.

A 3.0 GPA is expected over all undergraduate work. A 2.5 minimum GPA in the last 90 quarter units (60 semester units) attempted is required.

A 3.0 GPA minimum is required in all biology and biology-related course work. This includes, but is not limited to, courses in the fields of biology, biotechnology, botany, microbiology, physiology, and zoology.

A 2.5 GPA minimum is required in all support coursework for the natural sciences. This includes, but is not limited to, chemistry, biochemistry, math, and physics.

Applicants must submit scores from the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) General Test. No minimum score is required, and no minimum score guarantees admission. Scores are considered as part of the evaluation process. Only GRE General Test scores are acceptable.

Three letters of recommendation are required. Letters should be provided by individuals able to evaluate the applicant's academic record, and able to evaluate the potential for success in a research-based graduate program.

Applicants must supply a statement of intent, which should describe professional experience, academic/scientific research experience, research interests for the MS degree, and professional goals. The statement must not exceed one page in length (12 point font; 1 inch margins all around; double-spaced).

To be admitted, applicants must be sponsored by a member of the Graduate Faculty. The sponsor will serve as the Chair of the Thesis Committee (major professor). Applicants should contact faculty members conducting research in their area of interest. Applicants should provide a curriculum vitae to their potential sponsor, and arrange to discuss research interests, available space, qualifications, and goals. Applicants are responsible for securing a sponsor.


  1. The degree program must include a minimum of 45 quarter units; at least 24 units must be in 500-600 level courses.
  2. No more than 13 units of acceptable graduate credit may be transferred from another graduate institution. No more than 13 units taken through Extended University may be used on a contract. No more than 13 units of acceptable graduate credit may be petitioned by an undergraduate student.

    A total limit of 13 transfer units, Extended University units, and/or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included on the Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences. The stipulated time limit of 7 years applies to all of the above.
  3. The student must complete the program based upon the curriculum outlined below.
  4. A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all upper division undergraduate and all graduate classes. A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all courses listed on the Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences.
  5. Advancement to candidacy requires: (1) filing of an approved Program for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences; (2) passing the Graduate Writing Test (GWT); (3) successfully completing the thesis proposal (BIO 693 ); and (4) completing the comprehensive examination, consisting of the Graduate Record Examination subject test in Biology. A scaled score of 650 or greater must be achieved to complete this requirement.
  6. All graduate students are required to attend the annual Graduate Symposium every year. Students in their second year in the program will present their research at the Symposium.
  7. All graduate students must file a written progress report with the adviser and graduate coordinator each academic year.
  8. A final oral examination/thesis defense must be successfully completed.
  9. An acceptable thesis must be completed and submitted for binding in accordance with university regulations.
  10. The candidate must be enrolled in the university during the quarter of graduation.

Curriculum: 45-50 units

The total units must be at least 45, and must not exceed 50. At least 24 of the total units must be at the 500-600 level.

Required Subject-Area Courses

  • One course from list A (Cellular/Molecular) below
  • One course from list B (Physiology/Organismal) below
  • One course from list C (Ecology/Evolutionary) below

Elective Courses: 17-22 units

At least 11 units from Subject-Area Courses and Elective Courses must be at the 500-level (excluding BIO 500). Remaining courses may be 400-, 500-, or 600-level. No more than 3 units from the combination of

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