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M.S. in Biological Sciences California State University San Marcos



Course info


The graduate program in biological sciences leads to a research-based Master of Science (M.S.) degree. The program provides the opportunity for participants to receive advanced training in biological sciences and to pursue independent research investigations in specialized areas of interest. Laboratory and/or field research is an integral component of the program, which emphasizes a hands-on approach with close faculty mentoring. Research experience also enables students to hone investigative skills including experimental design, implementation, data analysis, and interpretation. Another important feature of the program is the Teaching Assistantship requirement, which is designed to give students the opportunity to discuss and implement pedagogical strategies employed in science education.

Graduates with an M.S. in Biological Sciences will be prepared to continue study at the Ph.D. level, to successfully pursue careers in private industry or government affiliated labs and agencies, and to teach at the college level.

Our program fosters the integration of many disciplines. A wide range of faculty expertise and research interests enables the department to offer a curriculum that spans the fields of molecular genetics, aquatic biology, evolution, ecology, physiology, biotechnology, microbiology, immunology, and molecular cell biology. Students may develop a program of courses and research tailored to their individual needs within the areas of faculty expertise. In addition, students may choose a research supervisor outside of the Biological Sciences Department, allowing them to pursue interdisciplinary studies, special field research, or industrial projects. Seminar courses focus on the primary literature and are presented as a forum for open interchange and dissemination of scientific knowledge.

The department has sophisticated research laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Facilities include a vivarium, greenhouses, tissue culture laboratory, elemental analysis equipment, environmental growth chambers, numerous aquaria, flow cytometer, and equipment for radioisotope and modern molecular biology work. Excellent computer facilities and GIS software are also available. The close proximity of the campus to marine, chaparral, and desert environments provides many opportunities for field studies.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Master of Science in Biological Sciences will be able to:

  • Actively participate in and lead discussions about current topics and selected research topics to become highly knowledgeable about specific areas in biology.
  • Locate, acquire and critically evaluate primary literature in the biological sciences.
  • Develop specific hypotheses/aims pertaining to a research problem and design and conduct a study or experiment to accomplish this goal.
  • Quantitatively analyze and interpret biological data (e.g., class project, original thesis research).
  • Critically evaluate, synthesize and report on biological data (e.g., class project, original thesis research) in oral and/or written formats based on their knowledge of biology.

Course options

Here are the different ways in which you can study M.S. in Biological Sciences.

Full Time (Minimum of 30 semester units)

Tuition fees

$16,264.00 (11,52,244) per year




College of Science and Mathematics (CSM)

Craven Hall 6211,

333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road,



92096, United States

Entry requirement for international students

Student must have: Equivalent of a Bachelor's Degree from an institution that meets our accreditation standards; Overall 2.5 GPA or higher in the overall degree or last 60 units attempted.

Satisfy English Language Proficiency Requirement for admission purposes with one of the following: TOEFL score of 80 iBT; IELTS overall band score of 6.0, writing score no lower than 6.0 and no section score below 5.5; Bachelor's or master's degree from a U.S. university; Bachelor’s degree from a post-secondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction (confirm with International Admission Office to see if your school is eligible). A minimum score of 550 on the paper TOEFL and a minimum of 4.5 on the TWE are required.

California State University San Marcos*

Find your nearest IELTS test centre and test dates

* Please check with your chosen school for the exact entry requirements for your programme.

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