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Prospective Graduate Students

Fall 2018 admission has passed.

The application priority deadline for students interested in Spring 2019 matriculation to our MS Biology program is OCTOBER 31, 2018.

Please see application requirements below. You will need to begin the process through the centralized application system, CalStateApply

Apply Now!

In addition, we have a new NIH-funded program for minority and under-represented students, Bridges to Doctorate with UC Merced. For more information click here

Program GoalsAcademics | Funding | Admissions

Mission Statement

The graduate program of the Department of Biology will provide state-of-the-art educational experiences that will prepare students to make valuable contributions to society where a knowledge and understanding of biological organisms and processes are required (e.g., biodiversity, conservation and the environment, health sciences, and biotechnology). Students will learn laboratory and/or field techniques and will conduct independent research within the biological sciences. They will also acquire the skills necessary for communicating biological information to professional scientific peers as well as to the lay public.

Program Goals

  • to enhance the student’s depth of understanding of selected topics in the biological sciences.
  • to cultivate skills for acquiring knowledge in the life sciences, both for matriculation and life-long learning.
  • to increase the student’s understanding of experimentation, observation and data analysis, and their application to defined questions in biology.
  • to develop an awareness of available tools and fiscal limitations of conducting specific scientific endeavors.
  • to enhance communication skills, both written and oral, for purposes of conveying biological information to both professional scientists and the lay public.

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The Master of Science in Biology curriculum reflects the diversity represented by the interests of faculty in the Department of Biology. This diversity enables Masters students to customize their program of study while ensuring that they receive exposure to a range of topics. Graduate courses communicate discipline-specific knowledge and also hone universal scientific skills, such as knowledge of modern techniques in the disciplines, critical thinking skills, and scientific literacy, writing, and presentation.

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Our graduate students typically receive financial support for their studies in a number of ways, including:

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Admissions/Application Requirements

To be admitted into the Biology Department Master of Science program, students must first be admitted as a post-baccalaureate student at California State University, Fresno. Key requirements include:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  2. GPA from the final sixty undergraduate units greater than 2.5 (Official transcipts should be sent to the following address or email)
    Attn: Graduate Admissions
    5150 N. Maple Ave M/S JA57
    Fresno, CA 93740
    Electronic transcripts:
  3. Scores from the General GRE
  4. A commitment from a prospective faculty research mentor in the Biology Department. This is very important. You need to establish whether there is an advisor who you would like to work with and who is willing to take you on. When you identify potential advisors, you should list them in your application.
  5. TWO letters of support (ideally from academic references)
  6. Personal statement (250+ words) of why you want to pursue the MS Biology @ Fresno State.

Visit the California State University, Fresno Division of Research & Graduate Studies website for more admissions information.

Prospective Masters students must also demonstrate specific competencies to be admitted into the Master of Science program*:

  • Writing competency
  1. B grade or better in an upper-division writing course, or
  2. GRE Writing score greater than or equal to four, or
  3. GRE Verbal score greater than the sixtieth percentile
  • Quantitative competency
  1. B grade or better in a calculus course, or
  2. GRE Quantitative score greater than or equal to the sixtieth percentile
  • Subject matter competency
  1. Completed coursework in genetics, evolution, and either cell biology or ecology, or
  2. GRE Biology subject test score greater than or equal to the sixtieth percentile
  • Academic Excellence
  1. Cumulative undergraduate GPA greater than or equal to 3.0, or
  2. Undergraduate GPA greater than or equal to 3.0 for the most recent twenty-five units of natural science courses

Prospective students must also arrange for TWO letters of recommendation to be submitted directly  to the Graduate Coordinator either by mail at:

c/o Biology Department
California State University, Fresno
2555 E. San Ramon Ave., M/S SB73
Fresno, CA 93740-8034


by email to:

* Applicants meeting all the Departmental admissions criteria may be admitted as classified students. Should an applicant fail to meet some of these admission requirements, that applicant may still be admitted as a conditionally classified student. Visit the Division of Research & Graduate Studies website for more information on "Conditional" or "Classified" standing.

Visit the California State University, Fresno Catalog website for more admissions information.

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Starting your Graduate Degree

In order to complete your degree in a timely manner, the Department of Biology strongly encourages you to identify and contact faculty you consider to be prospective graduate advisors prior to admission.