Biological Sciences

Navigating the Program

MS Program Overview

Progress through the program:

First semester:

Second semester:

Upon successful completion of the above, students may be advanced to candidacy for the degree.  Students must be advanced to candidacy before applications for graduation can be accepted by Graduate Studies.

Next to last semester:

  • File for graduation in the Graduate School Office
  • Submit near final draft of thesis to advisory committee (allow ample time for multiple revisions)
  • Oral thesis defense - attended by advisory committee and other interested faculty
  • Public Seminar - Presentation of thesis project
  • Graduate Studies approval of final thesis draft
  • Final Progress Form (obtain from Office of Graduate Studies) - Represents final committee approval
  • Submit the following forms to the Graduate Coordinator, Biological Sciences
    • Thesis Assessment Form
    • Defense Assessment Form
    • Student Exit Survey Form

All these must meet university deadlines for the semester.

Specific Requirements for the MS in Biological Sciences

Continuous enrollment is required. A maximum of 9 semester units of transfer and/or CSU Chico Open University course work may be applied toward the degree.

Completion of all requirements as established by the department graduate committee, the Graduate Advisory Committee, and the Office of Graduate Studies, to include:

1. Completion of an approved program consisting of at least 30 units of 400/600-level courses as follows:

a) At least 18 units in the discipline of biological sciences, including at least one course of 3 or more units outside the sub-discipline (i.e., botany, zoology, microbiology).

b) BIOL 600, Research in the Biological Sciences, to be completed during the first fall semester.

c) At least one unit of graduate seminar (BIOL 605), completed during the first year.

e) At least 18 of the 30 units required for the degree must be 600-level courses. For programs consisting of more than 30 units, 60% of the total units of the approved Master’s Degree Program Plan must be 600-level.  No courses lower than 400-level can be credited toward a M.S.

f) Not more than 9 semester units of transfer and/or extension credit (correspondence courses and U.C. extension course work are not acceptable).

g) Not more than 15 units taken before admission to classified status.

h) Not more than 4 units of Independent Study (697) and 6 units of Master's Thesis (699).

2.  Pass a comprehensive exam within a sub-discipline related to the area of research by the end of the second semester of the program.

3. Completion and final approval of an independent research project resulting in an acceptable thesis as specified by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee (thesis defense).

4. Presentation of a seminar based on the student's master's thesis research. This seminar will usually be given during the semester in which the student plans to complete the degree requirements.

Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency:

Writing proficiency is a graduation requirement. Biological sciences majors will demonstrate their writing competence through satisfactory completion of BIOL 600.

Graduate Grading Requirements:

All courses in the major (with the exceptions of Independent Study - 697, Master's Project - 699P, and Master's Thesis - 699T) must be taken for a letter grade, except those courses specified by the department as ABC/No Credit (400/500-level courses), AB/No Credit (600-level courses), or Credit/No Credit grading only. A maximum of 10 units combined of ABC/No Credit, AB/No Credit, and Credit/No Credit grades may be used on the approved program (including 697, 699P, 699T and courses outside the major). While grading standards are determined by individual programs and instructors, it is also the policy of the University that unsatisfactory grades may be given when work fails to reflect achievement of the high standards, including high writing standards, expected of students pursuing graduate study.

Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average in each of the following three categories: all course work taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program; all course work taken at CSU, Chico subsequent to admission to the program; and all courses on the approved master's degree program.

All requirements for the degree are to be completed within five years of the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course applied toward the degree. See "Graduate Education" in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements.

Graduate Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory each semester for biological sciences majors. Consult the Graduate Coordinator for specifics.