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Graduate Degrees

Cal Poly Biological Sciences offers three graduate degree programs at the Master's level.

Master of Arts in Biological Sciences

This degree offers a broad background in the biological sciences. It is intended to prepare candidates for many types of biological work that require advanced training beyond the bachelor's degree, or careers in industry and/or civil service, or  teaching biological  sciences at the elementary, secondary, and community college levels. This degree differs from the MS in Biological Sciences in that a research thesis is not required.

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

This degree program is designed to prepare students for many types of biological work that require advanced training beyond the bachelor's degree, including careers in industry and/or civil service,  teaching biological sciences at the elementary, secondary, and community college levels, independent research in the field of specialization, or continued graduate work at other institutions. A research thesis is required.

Master of Science in Biological Sciences -- Specialization in Stem Cell Research

This new degree program accepts 10 candidates per year in Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering or Animal Science. It is a two-year program offering candidates a year of training. In place of the thesis as a culminating experience, students are required to complete a non-traditional Comprehensive Exam that includes a 9-month internship in a stem cell research laboratory, a quarter-long project course at Cal Poly, a written report of their internship research, a written report of their quarter-long project course, and an oral presentation of their internship research. This degree prepares candidates to go into industry at laboratories conducting stem cell research work, or to pursue a doctorate in the field.

More details at http://cirm.calpoly.edu

Admission Requirements

Fall 2014 Application deadline is 1 February 2014.
This deadline is a departmental policy, and differs from the University deadline listed in the current catalog. All materials listed below must be received by Admissions (using the CSUMentor) and/or the Graduate Coordinator by this date. Admission is for Fall quarter only.

In addition to Cal Poly university-wide admission requirements (see catalog or admission form), admission into the graduate program in the Biological Sciences Department requires the following:

  • A minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 in the last 90 quarter units (60 semester units) taken as an undergraduate. Candidates with lower GPAs are considered only with extenuating circumstances.
  • Satisfactory scores on the General Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test. Scores should be at least 150 in each of the verbal and quantitative sections for the “new” GRE, and 1000 for the “old” GRE. (Note that the Biology GRE Subject Test is not required for admission.) GRE results should be entered as required on the CSU Mentor application and should also be sent to the Graduate Coordinator. Candidates with lower GRE scores are considered only with extenuating circumstances.
  • Two letters of reference from persons familiar with recent academic or work performance of the applicant. Letters should be uploaded by your recommenders via the Graduate Education Biological Sciences Interfolio link;
  • A one page, typed Statement of Purpose describing your reasons for pursuing graduate study in the Biological Sciences at Cal Poly, your specific areas of interest (including the name(s) of your prospective faculty research advisor(s) if applicable), and any other information you consider pertinent. You may also attach a curriculum vitae (optional). Statements may be included in the CSUMentor application, uploaded separately via the Graduate Education Biological Sciences Interfolio link, or both;
  • (Optional) A current curriculum vita (CV) listing your educational and professional achievements. CVs should be uploaded via the Graduate Education Biological Sciences Interfolio link;
  • Applicants to the regular MS program are strongly encouraged to contact prospective advisors. Admission to the regular MS program requires that an advisor agree to supervise an applicant. Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Emily Taylor, Biological Sciences, Cal Poly, 1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0401; etaylor@calpoly.edu; phone: 805-756-2616; fax: 805-756-1419.

Coursework Requirements

Course work in the following areas is important background necessary for success in the program and is a prerequisite for attaining “Classified” status. Students who are deemed to have deficiencies in their preparation may be admitted as “Conditionally Classified” and are required to take courses to strengthen their background.

Prerequisites for attaining “Classified” status:

  • One year of majors introductory course work in biology including, but not limited to, molecular biology, biological diversity, plant and animal form and function, ecology and evolution;
  • One course in each of the following areas: genetics, ecology, physiology, taxonomy, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, calculus.

Admission Steps and Timeline

  • All materials uploaded to CSUMentor and Interfolio by Feb. 1, 2014;
  • Eligibility determined by Admissions Office by March;
  • Acceptance communicated by Graduate Coordinator of Biological Sciences Department by April via email and mail;
  • Departmental financial aid (if applicable) offered by mid-May.

Graduate Coordinator

Emily Taylor, PhD, Associate Professor
etaylor@calpoly.edu
805-756-2616
805-756-1419 FAX