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.
Fall 2016 Application deadline is 1 February 2016.
This deadline is a departmental policy and differs from the university deadline listed in the current catalog. Admission is for Fall quarter only.
In addition to Cal Poly university-wide admission requirements, 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.) Candidates with lower GRE scores are considered only with extenuating circumstances.
- Prerequisite courses: one year of majors' introductory course work in biology and one course in each of the following areas: general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, calculus, genetics, evolution. NOTE: If you have not taken one or more prerequisite courses, you may still be admitted with conditional status, and will be required to take the course at Cal Poly.
- At least two letters of reference from persons familiar with recent academic or work performance of the applicant. Note that the Graduate Education website indicates that 3 letters are required; however, we only require 2 letters in Biological Sciences. Letters should be submitted via Interfolio (see below).
- 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. The statement should be submitted via Interfolio (see below).
- Curriculum vita (optional but encouraged). The CV should be submitted via Interfolio (see below).
- 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. Faculty research interests can be found by browsing faculty profiles.
Application to Cal Poly’s graduate program in Biological Sciences requires completion of the following steps at two different websites:
- Apply to Cal Poly via CSUMentor. This is the mechanism by which you officially apply to Cal Poly. The site closes after February 1, 2016, and extensions are not possible. When applying, please arrange to send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended and an official GRE General Exam score report to Cal Poly Admissions (code 4038).
- Submit materials below via Interfolio (Click here, then scroll down to the Biological Sciences Interfolio link.) Note that Interfolio is provided by Cal Poly to applicants free of charge. If you have any trouble with Interfolio, please contact Graduate Education at email@example.com. Materials must be submitted by March 1, 2016, but you should submit materials as early as possible (before February 1 if possible). Please submit:
- Unofficial transcripts (be sure to submit official transcripts to Admissions as described above)
- Unofficial GRE General Exam score report (be sure to submit official score report to Admissions as described above)
- Statement of Purpose
- At least two letters of reference
- Curriculum vita (optional but encouraged)
Admission Steps and Timeline
- Application completed via CSUMentor by 1 February 2016;
- Eligibility determined by Admissions Office by March;
- Supporting materials uploaded via Interfolio by 1 March 2016;
- Recommendation of acceptance communicated by Graduate Coordinator of Biological Sciences Department by April via email;
- Departmental financial aid (if applicable) offered by mid-May.
Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Emily Taylor, Biological Sciences, Cal Poly, 1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0401; firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 805-756-2616; fax: 805-756-1419.