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Current Biology MS Students
Current Biology MS Students
New graduate students are admitted as conditionally classified. As you progress through the program you will attain classified graduate status, advance to candidacy then apply for graduation! To progress through these steps in a timely manner you must complete specific requirements. Please read each topic carefully.
What to do if you are accepted into the MS Degree Program
- First, you must accept your admission offer online at MyCSUEB. Failure to do so will delay your ability to enroll in classes in a timely manner.
- Second, you MUST enroll in courses for the semester you are admitted. If you fail to do this, you will classified as a "no show" and you will be automatically dropped from the graduate program! Moreover, students who have not enrolled in classes at Cal State East Bay for two consecutive semesters (not including summer or winter sessions), and do not enroll in the third consecutive semester, will be discontinued and will be required to submit a new application to the University for readmission.
If you need advice on which courses to take, contact your thesis advisor or the course advisor assigned to you in your acceptance letter.
One way to find out which courses are offered and when for the upcoming semester, go to https://www.csueastbay.edu/mycsueb/schedule-catalog.html then click on "Section List by Subject".
To enroll in courses that are part of the Biotechnology Certificate Program (click here to review the list), you need to follow a different procedure (BCP courses require approval). Please follow this link.
Who to Contact about Admission Questions
- International applicants with University application questions or concerns (including VISA questions), should email* the International Admissions Office at email@example.com (CC: the graduate coordinator).
- Domestic applicants with University Admission questions or concerns, should email* firstname.lastname@example.org (CC: the graduate coordinator).
- Applicants with departmental admission questions or concerns, should email* the graduate coordinator: email@example.com
*Use your horizon email account if possible.
The MS degree program in Biological Sciences requires 30 semester units of coursework. At least half of those units (15) must be at the graduate level (600). Those 15 units must include five university thesis units (691), two to four graduate seminar units (610, 630, 650 and/or 670) and six units of research specialization (including two of the following: BIOL 616 - Cell and Molecular Biology I, BIOL 618 - Cell and Molecular Biology II, BIOL 631 - Microbial Physiology and Biochemistry, BIOL 652 - Advances in Ecology and Evolution and/or BIOL 671 - Advanced Topics in Physiology - see below). Subject to approval by your thesis advisor, the remaining units (up to 15 total) can include 300 and 400 level courses approved for the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
To remain in the MS in Biological Science degree program students must maintain a B average and all units must be earned within five calendar years (a waiver is possible up to a seventh year). Moreover you must be continuously enrolled until you complete your curriculum. Students that do not enroll in classes at Cal State East Bay for two consecutive semesters (not including summer or winter sessions), and do not enroll in the third consecutive semester, will be discontinued and will be required to submit a new application to the University for readmission. That said, once you have completed the curriculum requirements outlined above (30 units) and satisfied the UWSR you no longer need to enroll in courses prior to graduation (See Graduate Study Completion below).
Lab courses required for BCP students can fill to capacity. If you plan to enroll in BIOL 415, 424, 425, 622 and 620, please email Natalie Granera, our office manager in the Department of Biology and CC: the BCP coordinator no later than four weeks prior to the first day of the semester. Use your horizon email account and provide your net ID along with the list of courses and preferred section times. I will be able to approve these courses for you so long as you follow these instructions. Use MyCSUEB to enroll in all other courses including BIOL 601A, 616 and 601B.
To review the class schedule for any upcoming semester, go to https://www.csueastbay.edu/mycsueb/schedule-catalog.html then click on "Section List by Subject".
Biological Science Core Requirements
The following 2 units are required during the first year of the M.S. program.
- BIOL 601A - Foundations of Scientific Research Units: 1
- BIOL 601B - Foundations of Scientific Communication Units: 1
Choose two (2) courses from the following list (requires approval of the Thesis Advisor and Thesis Committee):
- BIOL 616 - Cell and Molecular Biology I Units: 3
- BIOL 618 - Cell and Molecular Biology II Units: 3
- BIOL 631 - Microbial Physiology and Biochemistry Units: 3
- BIOL 652 - Advances in Ecology and Evolution Units: 3
- BIOL 671 - Advanced Topics in Physiology Units: 3
Communication the Research Specialization
Choose one (1) course for 2 units from the following list:
- BIOL 610 - Seminar in Cell & Molecular Biology Units: 2
- BIOL 630 - Seminar in Microbiology Units: 2
- BIOL 650 - Seminar in Ecology and Evolution Units: 2
- BIOL 670 - Seminar in Physiology Units: 2
A minimum of 15 units are required from the following list as approved by the Thesis Advisor and Thesis Committee:
- BIOL 602 - Preparation for Undergraduate Instruction in Biology Units: 3
- BIOL 620 - Functional Genomics Units: 3 *
- BIOL 622 - Advanced Molecular Techniques Units: 3 *
- BIOL 653 - Community and Ecosystem Biology Units: 4
- BIOL 655 - Phylogenetic Methods Units: 3
- BIOL 657 - Environmental Experimental Analysis Units: 4
- BIOL 690 - Independent Study Units: 1-4
- Substitutions (including upper division undergraduate courses) may be considered subject to approval by your Thesis Advisor.
A University thesis and an oral defense for 5 units is required to complete the program. BIOL 691 - University Thesis (WARNING: Thesis units expire after 2 years). If you do not feel ready, you should enroll in BIOL 690 (Independent Study - 4 units max) or BIOL 891 (Research - subject to approval).
Graduate Study Completion
Once you have completed all the semester units required for your master's degree (30 total) and you have satisfied the UWSR (requirement suspended until further notice), you are not required to enroll in any more classes. During this time, students typically finish up their research, write and defend their thesis. That said, if you want continued access to University facilities (including research labs) or you want to TA, you must register for BIOL 890 Graduate Study Completion through the Division of Continuing and International Education. This is a 1-unit course with a fee of $134 (fee subject to change). Again, this is OPTIONAL. Discuss this option with your thesis advisor or graduate coordinator to see if it is right for you.
To enroll, complete a BIOL 890 "Graduate Study Completion Form" then submit it to the Biology office to be signed by the graduate coordinator.
Students who do not enroll in classes at Cal State East Bay for two consecutive semesters (not including summer or winter sessions), and do not enroll in the third consecutive semester, will be discontinued and will be required to submit a new application to the University for readmission.
That said, once you have completed 30 semester units and satisfied the UWSR (requirement suspended until further notice), as outlined above, you are eligible to enroll in BIOL 890 (See above).
Attaining Classified Graduate Status
To become classified, specific requirements must be fulfilled. To graduate in a timely manner, we recommend that these requirements be completed within the first two semesters. These requirements include the following:
- Secure a thesis advisor. In the rare event that you were accepted into the MS degree program without a thesis advisor, your acceptance letter may indicate one (or more) CSUEB faculty member(s) that are interested in taking you into their lab. Please email prospective advisor(s) to discuss possible projects and assess compatibility. Once you have chosen an advisor, please have that individual send a confirmatory email to the graduate coordinator.
- Select a thesis committee with guidance from your thesis advisor. A Committee must include the following:
- A minimum of 3 members (one of your committee members may be your thesis advisor).
- At least 2 members must be regular faculty from the Department of Biology.
- If you will conduct your research off-campus, your third committee member must be your off-campus thesis advisor. Be sure to have a signed letter of agreement in your file indicating that there is a mutual understanding about the responsibilities between you, your off-campus advisor, and the Department of Biology at CSUEB concerning the research that will be applied towards the M.S. degree.
- For the official rules please download the "Policy on Master's Thesis Committees".
- Fulfill theUniversity Writing Skills Requirement. "Students with rights to the 2022-23 Catalog for graduation requirements are considered to have satisfied this requirement." See link.
- Once you have satisfied all requirements listed above the graduate coordinator can petition on your behalf to become "fully classified" by submitting a Change of Graduate Status form to Academic Programs and Graduate Studies.
Advancing to Candidacy
To “Advance to Candidacy”, a classified graduate student must
- Complete at least six semester units of coursework suitable for inclusion in the M.S. degree program.
- Remain a graduate student in good standing with an average GPA of 3.0.
- Write and submit your research proposal outlining your research objectives for the master degree. This hurdle will allow you to register for BIOL 691, University Thesis units (See MS Curriculum). To become eligible to register for thesis units, you will need to complete a "Proposal Submission" Form, and email your advisor-approved proposal along with the advisor-signed “Proposal Submission” form to the graduate coordinator and your committee (for approval) by one-week prior to first day of the semester that you wish to enroll in BIOL 691. To register for BIOL 691, your thesis advisor you will need to complete a SpecialRegistration Form on your behalf. Consult with your thesis advisor to determine the number of thesis units you should enroll in each semester. Exactly five University Thesis units (no more or less) are required for graduation. Once enrolled, you should be engaged in active research.
Once you have satisfied all requirements listed above, the graduate coordinator can petition on your behalf to "advance to candidacy". You are also eligible to apply for graduation. Although just because you are eligible does not mean you should! To determine if you are ready to graduate you need to review the MS Curriculum and the Graduation Process.
Sometime during your first semester, you should sit down with your thesis advisor and discuss potential research projects and the writing of your research proposal. This is a 10-20 page document (excluding references) that outlines and defends the specific aims of your Master's research project. Once submitted and approved by your advisor and thesis committee, you will be allowed to register for BIOL 691, University Thesis units, in partial completion of your MS degree.
Writing Your Proposal
While you must be self-motivated to review the literature and write the proposal, your research advisor will provide guidance throughout this process. The list below links to documents that may also help.
- The Proposal Format
- Elements of Style for Scientific Writing
- The Proposal Rubric: How to Judge A Good Proposal
Submitting Your Proposal
Once your thesis advisor has approved the final draft of your research proposal you are ready to begin the proposal submission process and enroll in University thesis units (1-5 in total) for the first time. First, email your advisor-approved proposal to your committee members by the first deadline**: one week prior to the first day of classes for the semester you intend to enroll in University Thesis units. Next, complete the proposal submission form. Make sure to type all the email addresses accurately or the Adobe Form will be misrouted. Also, you must use your horizon email account as your email address. The proposal submission form will then be routed to the appropriate individuals including your committee members. They need to approve the research proposal by the second deadline: one week after the first day of classes. It is OK to email a gentle reminder to your committee members as this deadline approaches. Once all the signatures have been collected you will be approved to enroll in University Thesis Units (BIOL 691).
To register for BIOL 691 units, your thesis advisor will need to complete a request for Special Registration. The actual special registration form will be completed by the Biology office once you have been approved. Consult with your thesis advisor to determine the number of thesis units you should enroll in each semester. Exactly five University Thesis units are required for graduation (no more and no less).
**NOTE: You do NOT need to wait until the deadline to email your proposal to the committee. In fact, you are encouraged to seek feedback from your committee members at any time during the proposal writing process.
The Graduation Process
The semester before you expect to graduate, you must initiate the graduation process (file for graduation). Three topics are discussed here.
- Did you satisfy the UWSR (I.e. passed the WST)? No longer applicable (in 2020 or 2021).
- Are you Ready?
- How to Apply for Graduation
- Ask your advisor to submit a Major Check form
- What to Expect from your Master Degree Audit
Are You Ready?
Graduate students who have fulfilled the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR) are eligible to file for graduation. But how do you know if you are ready to file? Ask yourself: Will all your coursework (including thesis units) be complete by the semester you intend to graduate? Are you midway through writing your thesis? Is the last experiment on your to do list guaranteed to work?
Best advice. Discuss it with your advisor. The filing fee for graduation is nonrefundable and the application for graduation is valid for a short period of time (see table below). This may sound like a long time but you will be surprised at the number of people that file too early. If you fail to graduate within this window of time you will have to re-file for graduation and pay the filing fee. There is another unexpected consequence if you don't get the timing right. If you realize after the filing deadline that you will not graduate and it is the last semester of your graduation candidacy, you will not be able to graduate in the subsequent term since the filing deadline will have passed!
Original Term of Graduation
Term(s) to Which Students Can Postpone
Summer or Fall
My recommendation: If you are in your last semester of graduation candidacy and you do not think you will be able to submit your thesis by the format review deadline (see below), then you should cancel your graduation PRIOR to the deadline to file for graduation. This will allow you to file for graduation for the subsequent semester. For more information about the graduation process, go to http://www.csueastbay.edu/registrar/graduation/before-applying-for-graduation.html
How to Apply for Graduation
Early in the semester before you expect to graduate, you must initiate the graduation process:
1. File for graduation on MyCSUEB before the deadline (see below).
2. Pay the “graduation filing” fee.
The deadline to file for graduation and pay your filing fee is in the middle of the semester before you anticipate graduating. For the most accurate deadline, go to "BEFORE APPLYING FOR GRADUATION" site, open on Deadlines.
NOTE: If you are no longer a continuing/active student (discontinued), you will need to file a paper application for graduation.
Ask your Advisor to Submit a Major Check form
Ask your advisor to complete a Major Check form. The Major Check form is due soon after (2-3 weeks) the deadline for filing for graduation. It is your responsibility to alert your thesis advisor that you filed for graduation. The University will not send any notice. Do not let this requirement slip off your radar or your graduation date may be delayed!
Again, this form must be completed, signed and submitted by your thesis advisor. Students cannot hand-carry this form. If your thesis advisor submits the Major Check Form in a timely manner, you will receive a "Master Degree Audit" from the graduate evaluator (currently Patricia Koenig) early during the following semester.
What to Expect from your Master Degree Audit.
If your thesis advisor submits a Major Check Form in a timely manner (see above), you will receive a "Master Degree Audit" from the graduate evaluator (currently Patricia Koenig) early in the semester that you first intend to graduate. The Master’s Degree Audit will indicate degree requirements that are in progress and/or are yet to be completed:
Courses that need to be completed: This section will mention that you still have a grade of "RP" for your BIOL 6910/691 and that a completion memo must be sent. This will not change until you pass your oral defense and submit your final thesis. Once this is complete, your thesis advisor needs to submit a change of grade form (please remind them) and the graduate coordinator needs to submit a completion memo (I will receive an email reminder).
Additional degree requirements to be met: The content here will vary. Here are some issues you may have:
- FIVE YEAR RULE WAIVER: If you have course work beyond the five year rule you will be asked to complete a "Five Year Rule" waiver and submit to the graduate coordinator. You can download them here:
- Change of Graduate Status form: Ignore. This is a form that the graduate coordinator will submit on your behalf.
- Non-Residence Coursework: This means that you took more than 13 quarter units (or 9 semester units) before you became an M.S. student. You need to complete a "waiver of the maximum non-resident units towards the Biology M.S". You can download this form here:
- 13 Non-resident units Waiver (submit to the graduate coordinator)
What to do if you need to postpone your graduation?
Click here and find the online form to "Request to Postpone or Cancel Graduation" (eForm on BaySync). If your intended semester of graduation was Spring, you can postpone to Summer or Fall. If your intended semester of graduation was Fall you can postpone to Spring. IMPORTANT: You are only allowed to postpone your graduation once. You cannot postpone a second time, instead you must cancel. If you need to cancel and you want to graduate in the subsequent semester, you MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE GRADUATION APPLICATION DEADLINE!!!! This will allow you to re-apply for graduation before the deadline.
"A University Thesis is a formal presentation of an objective, critical investigation. . . The University Thesis demonstrates originality, clear purpose, appropriate organization, critical analysis, independent thinking, and accurate and complete documentation."
-The University Thesis Writing Guide
All Master of Science students must write and orally defend a University Thesis. It is never too early to start writing!!!
Click HERE for a complete guide to writing and submitting your University Thesis.
For a concise description of this process for students in the Department of Biology, see below.
With guidance from your thesis advisor (and your committee), write your University Thesis. Some tips included here:
- Review past theses written by students in the Biology Department.
- How to write an abstract (Nature's guide to authors).
- How to write an abstract (another example)
- Elements of Style for Scientific Writing
Format your thesis using the most recent University Thesis Writing Guide (UTWG) .
Distribute your advisor-approved thesis to your committee for additional comments and suggestions BEFORE your oral defense. In practice, you may need to incorporate comments made by your thesis committee after the oral defense as well.
Schedule an oral defense. You should schedule your oral defense well before the format review deadline. This will give you time to incorporate any last minute corrections discovered during the oral defense.
Remind your thesis advisor to post flyers announcing your oral defense.
Once you pass the Oral Defense remind your thesis advisor to sign, date and submit the flier to the graduate coordinator.
Submit the final draft of your thesis and the “Thesis Submission Information Form” to firstname.lastname@example.org by the "Format Review" deadline. The thesis editor may also suggest corrections. For official instructions read the section here entitled, "Format Review".
Once corrections have been made, return it to email@example.com with the title “Revised Thesis” in the subject line for a final check.
Once you have been given permission to publish by the thesis editor, submit your committee-approved thesis by the “Electronic Library Submissions Due” deadline. For official instructions read the section here entitled, "Publishing your Thesis".
For a table listing both "Format Review" and "Electronic Library Submissions" deadlines for each semester, click here and open up the section called "deadlines".
Once you have passed your oral defense and submitted the final draft of your thesis as described above, ask your thesis advisor to submit a Change of Grade form to have each of your BIOL 691 courses changed from RP to CR. If you notice that your grade is listed as CR prior to passage of your oral defense, you need to ask your thesis advisor to first change your grade changed back to RP first. Please alert your thesis advisor and the graduate coordinator of the problem.
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! YOU'RE DONE!
OPTIONAL. Print and deliver hard copies of your thesis for binding to the Academic Programs and Graduate Studies Student Services office (SA 4500) by the same deadline. For payment, make a cashier’s check or money order payable to Valley Library Bindery (no personal checks!). Hard copies must be collated with the pages in the proper order with a sheet of colored paper between each copy. The copies should be placed in a stiff corrugated box (a box that one would use for shipping glassware). Pick up your bound thesis copies at the Academic Programs and Graduate Studies Student Services (SA 4500) when available, 510-885-3716.
Visit ACCE (Academic Advising and Career Education). You can find a variety of career advice, resources, and services on this site. By providing guidance to students throughout the academic and career readiness process, the office helps students understand program completion requirements, explore majors, explore graduate school options, and develop professional skills through career development platforms and services.
You can make an appointment with one of a Career Counselor and schedule a one on one interview critique!
The College of Science has two designated Career Counselors: Please include your Net ID and use your horizon email for any official University communication.
Coursework (on the quarter system)
The following is a description of the curriculum for the quarter system. We will be transitioning to semesters by Fall 2018. This program requires 45 quarter units of coursework. At least 23 units must be at the graduate level (6000) including nine university thesis units (6910), at least one but no more than two three-unit graduate seminars (6821), up to four units of Independent Study (6900), up to eight units of Issues in Biological Sciences (6999) and up to four units of Coop Education (6898). The remaining units can include 3000 and 4000 level courses approved for the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree (See catalog and consult with your thesis advisor before enrolling in any 3000 level course). To remain in the MS in Biological Science degree program students must maintain a B average and all units must be earned within five calendar years. Moreover you must be continuously enrolled. Lack of enrollment for 3 consecutive quarters* will lead to automatic expulsion from the graduate program. That said, once you have completed the curriculum requirements outlined above (45 units) you no longer need to enroll in courses (See Graduate Study Completion below).
University rules state that no more than 13-quarter units of coursework applicable toward the master’s degree can be completed before admission to the program (i.e. as an Open or BCP student). To waive this rule, you need to ask the graduate coordinator to submit a waiver to “Academic Programs and Graduate Studies” on your behalf. The first step is to download then complete this Memorandum and place in the graduate coordinator's mailbox (currently, Maria Gallegos). Similarly, you can transfer courses from outside the CSUEB but the course will need to be approved and an official transcript will need to be submitted to the University.
NOTE: If you receive financial aid (loans or grants), courses where you exceed the number of units allowed by the department for 6910, 6900, 6821, 6898 and 6999 will not eligible for financial aid. Exceeding the maximum units for a course might result in no or reduced aid eligibility. You are responsible for making sure that this does not happen.
*Currently, summer quarter does not count towards the "3 consecutive quarters"
University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR)
In brief, you must satisfy the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR) in order to receive a degree from CSUEB unless you are exempt by one of the following criteria.
- You graduated from any one of the CSU campuses (unless it is noted on your transcript that your USWR was not satisfied).
- You received an essay score of 4.5 or higher on the GMAT or GRE or an essay score of 53 or higher on the CBEST.
If you are not exempt, you will have to either pass the Writing Skills Test (WST) at CSU East Bay or pass a first-tier writing course and possibly a second-tier writing course (if needed). NOTE: If you plan to satisfy the WST with an English course (can be taken on campus or online), we recommend that you sign up early. There is often a multi-quarter wait period. You must make your first attempt at satisfying the UWSR in order to apply for graduation.
The MS degree requires that you conduct research under the supervision of a research advisor on or off campus. Within four quarters of your start date, students are strongly encouraged to submit a research proposal outlining the research objectives for the MS degree. Once the proposal is approved by your committee and submitted to the graduate coordinator, the student may enroll in University thesis units (6910). Click link to read more about writing and submitting the proposal.
The University Thesis and Oral Defense
The MS degree culminates with the writing of a supervised university thesis and passage of an oral defense. Click link to learn more about writing and submitting the University Thesis.
Graduate Study Completion (optional)
Once you have completed all the quarter units required for your master's degree (45 total), you DO NOT need to enroll in any more classes. During this time, students typically finish up their research and write the thesis. That said, if you want to TA or you need continued access to University facilities, you can register for GS X6990 Graduate Study Completion through the Division of Continuing and International Education. This is a 1-unit course with a fee of $78 (fee subject to change). Again, this is OPTIONAL.
To enroll, complete a "GS X6990 Graduate Study Completion Form" then submit it to the Biology office to be signed by the graduate coordinator.