Mar 20, 2023  
2022-2023 General Catalog 
2022-2023 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, M.S.

The Master of Science degree in the Department of Biology is a thesis based program. Students complete 30 units of course work, which may include classroom courses in addition to mentor-supervised research units, to master the concepts and techniques in their chosen area. They also conduct original research under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty and write up their findings as a Master’s Thesis.

Graduate students in the Department of Biology are supported through a variety of sources. The Department has a limited number of paid teaching associate positions available each semester. The University offers a limited number of tuition fee waivers for qualified teaching associates. In addition, students may receive research associate positions through their faculty mentor’s research grants. Students can also obtain academic scholarships and financial aid.

Faculty in the Biology Graduate Program are actively involved in research in a wide range of disciplines, including ecology and restoration ecology, evolutionary biology, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, functional morphology, marine biology, and primatology.

Graduates find themselves with an enhanced understanding of biology and first-hand experience in the practice of science. Many M.S. students go on to doctoral programs; others pursue careers in teaching, research, environmental consulting, resource management, industry and health care professions.

Admission to the Program

Complete application instructions are available on the Biology Department website.

Admission to the program requires:

I.   Meeting California State University admission requirements.

II.  Acceptance by a biology graduate faculty member to serve as a faculty advisor. Students should contact their potential faculty advisor prior to completing an application and refer to this communication in the Statement of Purpose.

III. Approval of the Graduate Committee. Applications will be reviewed for evidence that the prospective student is capable of initiating and performing original research. Applicants deficient in undergraduate course preparation will be expected to demonstrate competency before being advanced to candidacy. As a general guideline, the Department of Biology uses the following criteria to determine this potential:

IV. An undergraduate degree in biology or related field. The following course guidelines will also be used to determine admission, including:

A. One course in calculus or statistics;

B. One year of general chemistry and one semester of organic chemistry;

C. At least one other course in physical sciences;

D. Upper-division coursework demonstrating competence in three of four core areas (organismal biology; physiology; molecular or cellular biology; ecology or evolutionary biology);

E. GPA of 3.00 or higher in the last 60 units;

F. Evidence in letters of recommendation of potential for conducting independent and original research in biology.

Admission requirements, policies, and other information related to the Master’s degree program in Biology

Program Learning Outcomes

Students that graduate with a MS in Biology from Sonoma State University will:

  • Demonstrate a strong knowledge base in their sub-discipline of biology
  • Display critical thinking
  • Demonstrate a mastery of research approaches
  • Have effective written and oral communication skills