Masters of Science in Biological Sciences

The M.S. degree program in the Department of Biological Sciences is open to graduates of accredited institutions who have a four-year baccalaureate degree in any field of the biological sciences and who have achieved a GPA of at least 2.75 in all undergraduate work and an average of 3.00 in all biological science courses taken as an upper division student. Normally, all applicants should have completed undergraduate courses equivalent to those required of all biological science majors at Cal State East Bay. Applicants must have taken basic courses in biological and physical sciences and mathematics/statistics; areas omitted, if any, will be treated as course deficiencies and must be completed by the time of classification (see below).


There are two applications, A University Application (Cal State Apply) and a Departmental application. 

Application Deadline

  • Fall semester Admission: Applications and Documents due April 1 (NEW!).

University Application and Required Documents

  • Complete a University Application online at Cal State Apply.
  • Pay the nonrefundable University Application Fee (at the time you apply).
  • Mail official transcript(s) to Enrollment Management, Cal State East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward, CA 94542.

Departmental Application and Required Documents

  • Before you complete your online Departmental Application, make sure you have the following documents and information ready: 
    • Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages). Save as a word or PDF file. For tips on how to write your statement of purpose, see below. 
    • General GRE scores. A scan or print screen of your general GRE scores is sufficient. Save as a JPEG or PDF file (NOW OPTIONAL!)
    • Unofficial Transcript. A scan or print screen of your unofficial transcript from your degree granting institution is sufficient. Save as a JPEG or PDF file. 
    • List or table of science courses taken. Save as an Excel, Word or PDF file. Include all Biology, Math, Chemistry, Physics, and Statistics courses taken. Indicate institution, course #, descriptive title, grade, and year taken. 
    • Name, title, work and email address for three individuals that can comment on your academic record, research experience (if any), ability to work as a team and your integrity in the form of a letter of recommendation. If you already have a thesis advisor (on or off-campus), this person should be included as one of the three individuals and should submit a letter of recommendation that indicates that he/she is willing to supervise your Master of Science research. 
  • With your document files on hand, begin the departmental application. The application first asks you to choose your program of interest. For Fall admission you can choose MS, MS+BCP or BCP only. You should choose MS+BCP if you are interested in 
    • pursuing an MS degree in the broad area of cell and molecular biology, 
    • you plan to take all the BCP courses (see BCP curriculum). 
    • you plan to take the BCP exam at the end of the year to obtain a BCP certificate.
  • Finally, have three letters of recommendation sent to the graduate coordinator, Dr. Maria Gallegos.
    • For letters that will be emailed (preferred), ask your letter writer to craft a letter on official letterhead and email to from a work email address. Letters from gmail or equivalent will not be accepted. 
    • For letters that will be mailed, send them to the following address: 
          Attn. Graduate Coordinator
          Department of Biological Sciences, 
          California State University, East Bay, 
          25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. 
          Hayward, CA 94542
Please note that your application packet may not be reviewed until it is complete and submitted by the deadline (including both the University and departmental applications). 

Conditionally Classified Graduate Status and the Degree Process

All students admitted to the Master of Science program in Biological Sciences will be admitted as “Conditionally Classified Graduate” students.  Thesis research is the only allowable capstone experience for this program. There are generally five areas of research specialization as supported by individual faculty members: Cell & Molecular Biology, Ecology & Evolution, Microbiology, Physiology, and Science Education. Upon acceptance into the program the student must arrange with a faculty member to discuss and agree upon an intended thesis research plan. This includes formulation of a thesis committee of a minimum of three members (that may include one individual outside the Department of Biological Sciences), and chaired by the thesis advisor. The thesis committee will monitor the student’s progress through the degree program by periodic review. The thesis committee will design a customized curriculum of coursework for the individual student and will by a thesis defense examination and evaluation of the written thesis decide whether the student meets the departmental standards for conferral of the M.S. in Biological Science. Completion of the thesis research off-site is allowable, upon review of the department and provisional thesis committee; a scenario follows. The individual student may be currently employed by a biotechnology company. By careful arrangement with the employer and CSU East Bay, thesis research may be conducted at the place of employment as supervised by the work supervisor (who will also be a member of the thesis committee). The student should resolve any question about the degree process with the departmental Graduate Program Coordinator.

Classified Graduate

Satisfaction of the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR) must be completed before a student can become a fully “Classified Graduate”.

Advancement to Candidacy

The student must have attained (a) “Classified Graduate” standing; (b) completed at least six units of satisfactory work beyond the baccalaureate degree suitable for inclusion in an M.S. program in Biological Science as approved by the student’s thesis committee; (c) received approval from the thesis committee of a thesis research plan.  This plan must be formally submitted prior to enrollment in BIOL 691 thesis units.

The M.S. in Biological Science is a research-based thesis program that provides students with opportunities to develop and complete research projects to enhance advancement and career opportunities in biology.  It requires 30 semester units of coursework.

Students graduating with an M.S. in Biological Science from Cal State East Bay will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad and sophisticated understanding that contributes to biological concepts and principles across all levels of biological organization, from ions to ecosystems.
  2. Demonstrate expertise in a specific area of biological science.
  3. Independently apply the scientific method to formulate testable biological hypotheses, analyze empirical data, and synthesize the results of the analysis.
  4. Clearly communicate the design and results of an observational or experimental analysis in a variety of formats, including the graduate thesis, scientific paper, scientific poster, and oral presentation.
  5. Gather and evaluate primary scientific literature and judge the value of the information presented in relation to particular biological questions.