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Prospective MS Students
About our MS Degree Program
Students interested in careers that involve research or interested in pursuing a Ph.D. should consider the M.S. degree in Biological Science. Examples of M.S. study areas in the department are environmental biology, ecology, population biology, marine biology, physiology, neurobiology, cell and molecular biology, microbiology, genetics, mycology, and virology.
Our Master of Science graduates are found throughout the work force: academic institutions, clinical labs, biotechnology, wildlife management, industry, botanical gardens, hospitals, private practice and education. Others use the MS as a stepping stone into professional degree programs including dentistry and medicine.
The Master of Science (MS) degree program at California State University, East Bay involves both coursework and research and culminates with the writing of a supervised University thesis and passage of an oral exam. Students typically conduct their research under the supervision of one of our on campus faculty. It is possible, however, to conduct research at another University, Institute or Company provided that the off-campus site is willing to supervise the research and will allow the publication of a thesis.
For example, CSUEB has a partnership with Lawrence Berkeley Labs. More info here. This opportunity is particularly well-suited for those applicants interested in Microbiology. Here is a list of faculty that participate in this program.
There are two applications, A University Application (Cal State Apply) and a Departmental application.
- Fall semester Admission: University and Departmental Application is due April 1 (Late applications will be accepted until April 15).
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
Writing a Statement of Purpose
Your statement of purpose should clearly convey your reason for choosing to pursue an M.S. degree. You should be able to address what you hope to achieve from the program and how the skills and breadth of knowledge gained will enable you to pursue future academic and/or career goals. Your statement should include a reference to previous academic and research activities that have prepared you for the rigors of a graduate-level degree. You should also describe your current research interests and how they might parallel some of the ongoing research projects currently underway on or off campus.
Finding a Thesis Advisor
If you are interested in the Master of Science degree program, we strongly encourage you to identify a Biology faculty member that will agree to serve as your research advisor before you submit an application to the department. If you have not done this, it is never too late. If you find a thesis advisor after you submit your departmental application, simply email the graduate coordinator (email@example.com) to update your application.
The research interests and contact information for CSUEB Biology faculty actively involved in research can be found here.
To secure an agreement, email a faculty member of interest or stop by during their office hours. To make your email stand out, briefly highlight your strengths in the body of your message, explain why you are interested in the faculty member's research, then attach a print screen of your general GRE scores, your personal statement, and your unofficial transcripts. This is a must-read for more tips on how to "Nail the Inquiry Letter".
If you are successful in finding a thesis advisor in this way, add this information to your departmental application and ask this individual to write a letter of recommendation for you that mentions this agreement. If you are not successful, you should still submit your application. Faculty space and needs can change.
Alternatively, you may do your research off-campus (i.e. at a biotech company, other university or research institute). You should first discuss this possibility with your prospective off-campus thesis advisor and hand them this letter explaining their responsibilities. In brief, an off-campus thesis advisor is subject to approval and must have a PhD. This individual must also agree to act as your primary supervisor and is amenable to having your research published in a University thesis that will be available online. If you are successful in finding an off-campus thesis advisor, add this information to your application and ask this individual to write a letter of recommendation for you that mentions this agreement.
Who to Contact about Admission Questions
International applicants with University application questions or concerns (including VISA questions), should email* the International Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org (CC: the graduate coordinator).
Domestic applicants with University Admission questions or concerns, should email* email@example.com (CC: the graduate coordinator).
Applicants with departmental admission questions or concerns, should email* the graduate coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Use your horizon email account if possible.
Master of Science Curriculum
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).
University Requirements (essential):
The CSU requirements are described in detail here. In brief, the applicant must
- Possess a 4-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited Institution.
- Possess an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or greater (A=4.0).
- Possess a GPA of 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted.
Departmental Requirements (essential):
- Complete the General GRE exam (NOW OPTIONAL*)
- Possess a degree in any field in the biological sciences.
- Complete* undergraduate coursework equivalent to those required of biological science majors at CSUEB:
- a year of introductory biology
- a year of general chemistry
- a quarter/semester of organic chemistry
- a quarter/semester of calculus
- a quarter/semester of biochemistry
*Any missing coursework will be treated as a course deficiency and must be completed in advance.
Departmental Requirements (recommended):
- Attain general GRE scores that rank 30% or higher in all categories (NOW OPTIONAL*).
- Possess an overall GPA greater than 2.75 in all undergraduate work.
- Possess a GPA of 3.0 or greater in upper division biology courses.
- Gain the written support of a faculty member in the Biology department that is willing to serve as your major thesis advisor (see below).
NOTE: Students who do not satisfy these requirements may be denied admission to the Master of Science degree program.
*The department has decided to make the submission of GRE scores optional. We advise that if your GRE scores will like enhance your application (i.e. you need to overcome deficiencies elsewhere) that you should submit your scores. Otherwise they are not necessary.
This page (including links) are under construction!!! Thank you for your patience.
To see a list of all the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Cal State University, East Bay, click here. Below is a list of our faculty that have active research labs and may have space to host undergraduate or graduate students. In the table at the top of this page you will get a sense for each faculty member's broad areas of interest. Scroll down to click on a photo to review more specific details about an individual's research interests and how to best contact them.
Research Interests of Our Faculty (Broadly Defined)
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.
For more detailed information on what you need to do once you are accepted.
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.