Graduate Coordinator

Sean Lema, PhD, Professor
805-756-1419 FAX

Graduate Degrees

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

Click here to see how to apply for the graduate program.

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 Regenerative Medicine

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 research in regenerative medicine and stem cells, or to pursue a further advanced degree such as a doctorate.

Read more at about the Regenerative Medicine Program

Application and Admission

Application deadline is the 1st of February annually. Admission is for Fall quarter only. The application cycle for admission to the program in Fall 2021 begins on October 1, 2020. The application deadline is February 1, 2021.

Admission Requirements 

In addition to Cal Poly university-wide admission requirements, admission into the graduate program in the Biological Sciences Department requires the following:

* NOTE: For the Fall 2021 application cycle, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required.

  • A Personal Statement describing your research experience and future research goals. The Personal Statement is a very important part of your application. The Personal Statement should provide information about how your research background, educational and professional activity, and personal experience informed your decision to pursue graduate-level training in a specific research area. Applicants are strongly encouraged in their Personal Statement to identify one or more faculty in the Biological Sciences Department that might serve as research advisors (not applicable if applying for the Specialization in Regenerative Medicine). If you are applying to multiple CSU campuses, you can upload a 'general' Personal Statement to Cal State Apply, and also upload a separate statement as an specifically describing your reasons for applying to Cal Poly and identifying the name of the faculty advisor for which you would like to be considered. There is no word limit for the Cal Poly statement.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from courses taken for completion of the applicant’s undergraduate BS/BA degree. Applicants with lower GPAs are considered only with extenuating circumstances.
  • Prerequisite courses: one year of majors' introductory coursework 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.
  • Three (3) letters of reference from persons familiar with recent academic or work performance of the applicant. Carefully select your recommenders and request letters from individuals who know you well and can address how your academic, research, and/or professional experiences support your choice to pursue graduate-level training. You may submit additional letters if you would like.
  • Curriculum vita (CV) with an email address, phone number, previous education, experience, and employment, and contact information for references
  • Applicants to the regular MS program are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to contact prospective faculty advisors in the Biological Sciences Department. Admission to the regular MS program requires that an advisor agree to supervise an applicant (not applicable if applying for the Specialization in Regenerative Medicine). Faculty research interests can be found by browsing faculty profiles.

Application Checklist:

Application to Cal Poly’s graduate program in Biological Sciences requires completion of the following steps at two different websites:

  1. Apply to Cal Poly via Cal State Apply by Feb 1. ALL materials listed below MUST be submitted prior to the Feb 1 deadline for consideration of the application. Extensions beyond Feb 1 are not possible. 
  2. Arrange to send official transcripts from your BS/BA degree granting institution. Official Transcripts should be sent directly to the Cal Poly Admissions Office from the university or college where the coursework was completed. The address of the Cal Poly Admissions Office is provided here:
  3. On Cal State Apply, the following materials MUST be uploaded by the Feb 1 application deadline
  • Statement of Purpose (see note above) (typically 1-3 pages in length)
  • Three (3) letters of reference
  • Curriculum Vita (CV) of the applicant

Graduate Coordinator: Professor Sean Lema, Biological Sciences, Cal Poly, 1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA; phone: 805-756-2802; fax: 805-756-1419.



Related Content