Application Information


You must apply to the University and the MS in Biology Program via Cal State Apply.  The separate application form for the Program can be downloaded here - MS Biology Application; once you complete it, you must upload it as a Document in Quadrant 4 of your Cal State Apply application.  All application materials must be received by the deadline for your application to be evaluated. 

Applications for Spring 2018 are closed. Applications for Fall 2018 admission are due on 15 March 2018.


Admission Requirements

• Acceptance into the research lab of a full-time faculty member in Biology who will serve as the student's thesis adviser. You are strongly advised to contact prospective advisers well in advance of submitting your application to ensure that professors working in your desired research area are planning to take on new students.

• Baccalaureate degree in biology or a related field from an accredited institution of higher learning.

• Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.5 on a 4-point scale (if the cumulative GPA is less than 2.5, the GPA during the last 60 semester units of coursework must be 2.5 or higher).

• GPA of 3.0 or better in all biology or biology-related courses (e.g., biochemistry) and a GPA of at least 2.5 in all supporting coursework in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

• Submission of scores on one of the following: the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Dental Admission Test (DAT). There is no minimum score required for admission, but scores are used in the evaluation process.

• Submission of 2 letters of recommendation from academic or professional references.

• For applicants who do not possess a Bachelor's degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction, competence in English must be demonstrated by a minimum score (550 written; 213 computer; 80 internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.

• International students should refer to the University Admissions and Records website for additional information.

Conditional Admission

A student may be admitted conditionally if he/she has one or more deficiencies in the required admission, e.g., a degree outside of biology, a GPA between 2.5 and 3.0, weak scores on the GRE, MCAT, or DAT, etc. Conditional admission usually requires that the student demonstrate his/her ability to do graduate level work in biology, often by satisfactorily completing one or more advanced undergraduate or graduate-level courses with grades of B or better during his/her first semester. Conditional admission is made on a case-by-case basis as judged by the Graduate Admissions Committee and cannot be requested as part of the application process.


Application Process

1. Review the research programs of full-time faculty members in Biology and contact those (at least 3) whose research activities and interests best match your own to inquire about openings in their labs. Spaces in labs can be quite competitive and can fill quickly. Most advisers will not consider students who have not contacted them in advance. This is a critical first step because a faculty member must agree to advise you or you will not be admitted into the program.

If time allows, visit Cal State Fullerton to meet with prospective faculty advisers and their graduate students and learn more about the University. 

2. Arrange for the submission of 2 letters of recommendation from persons who can address your qualifications for graduate work. Ordinarily, these letters would be written by professors at your undergraduate institution or by professionals who can speak to your promise as a researcher and scientist. Letters must be written on institutional letterhead, in pdf format, and submitted directly by the recommender via email to  Letters of recommendation should be confidential and address the following (provide this information to your letter writers):

     a) Based on your interactions with the applicant, what are your personal impressions of his/her intellectual capacity, character, professional skills, and ability to do research and productive scholarship at the graduate level?

     b) Based on your interactions with the applicant as an employer or supervisor, how effective do you believe he/she would be as a teaching associate? What particular traits, skills, or experiences make him/her qualified for these positions? (If your interactions with the applicant have been solely in the classroom, please indicate this in your comments).

3. Arrange for submission of separate copies of your official transcripts to the Department. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded as Documents within Quadrant 4 of your Cal State Apply application.

4. Arrange for submission of your official GRE, MCAT, or DAT scores to the Department. We do not accept other tests. The Department code is 0203 (the University code is 4589). Unofficial copies should be uploaded as Documents within Quadrant 4 of your Cal State Apply application.

5. Complete and submit the University and Program applications, including paying required fees, by the deadline above. The University application is submitted electronically via Cal State Apply. The MS in Biology Program application (The application can be downloaded here) must be typed, and then uploaded as a Document within Quadrant 4 of your Cal State Apply application.

IMPORTANT: Your file will not be circulated for evaluation unless all of the required components are received by the application deadline. You should submit your application materials in advance of the deadline and check with the Department staff about the status of your materials to be sure that your application is complete. Once submitted, all application materials become property of the Department and cannot be returned to you or forwarded elsewhere.

Application materials such as letters of recommendation should be submitted via email attachment to All attached documents must be in pdf format. 

Postal correspondence should be mailed to:   Biology Graduate Program Adviser, Department of Biological Science (MH-282), California State University Fullerton, 800 N. State College Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92834 USA. 


Departmental Evaluation Process

1. When an application is complete, it is sent to 3 faculty members for evaluation (these would normally be the faculty members identified as prospective advisers on the application, but the Biology Graduate Adviser may also circulate it to other faculty members with similar interests).

2. When all 3 evaluations are received, the Graduate Adviser reviews the evaluations and the application and makes a decision whether to admit the applicant or not. Applications may be rejected because they are incomplete, because the applicant fails to meet departmental or University admission criteria, or because no faculty member agreed to accept the applicant into his/her lab.

3. Applicants are notified of the final decision by email and follow-up letter as soon as possible. We aim to make all decisions by early December (spring entry) and early May (fall entry).