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Information for Current Undergraduate Students

Effective Immediately: All in-person advising services have been suspended until further notice. Students who need assistance can contact the Program Coordinator through the Virtual Advising Center or refer to Advising Services below. Please indicate that the question is for the BS/MS Program, and requests will be directed accordingly. Paper forms may be emailed to the Program Coordinator. Processing times may be delayed. Students are expected to plan accordingly.

Important Note:

The Contiguous BS/MS Program is open only to current UC San Diego Biology undergraduate majors and Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution (EBE) majors in the Environmental Systems Program (ESYS).

Students interested in this program should begin looking for a lab during the junior year in order to be ready to begin the research early in the senior year by applying for biology special studies courses (BISP 199 or 196). Students interested in completing the Specialization in Biology Education Research complete their undergraduate research through BISP 193 with a Biology faculty member holding the title of Teaching Professor.

The Division of Biological Sciences does not provide financial support for students enrolled in this program. See the Financial Costs and Support page.

Financial Costs and Support

Information on the costs of the BS/MS program and sources of financial support.

Please visit the Info Sessions & Workshops webpage to see when the next BS/MS information session will be held.

Download the Checklist for Prospective Students [PDF]

Eligibility Requirements for the MS in Biology

Eligible applicants must be current UC San Diego undergraduates, with a declared major in one of the undergraduate degree programs offered by the Division of Biological Sciences or declared Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution majors in the Environmental Systems Program. Eligible applicants will be considered for admissions if they meet the following requirements:

  • 3.0 Cumulative UC San Diego GPA
  • 3.3 Upper Division Major GPA
  • 1 - 3 eligible quarters of independent research via BISP 199 or BISP 196 with the proposed faculty advisor

Applicants whose upper division GPA is below 3.300 and/or overall GPA is between 2.500-3.000 may be considered for admission as an exception to policy with the following:

  • A minimum of two "regular" (Fall, Winter, Spring) quarters of BISP 199 research in the faculty advisor's lab. Alternatively, the following will be counted as one "quarter" of research experience:
    • Ten weeks of summer 199 research (completed by enrolling in SS1+SS2 or SS3) in the faculty advisor's lab
    • Ten weeks of volunteer or paid work in the faculty advisor's lab
  • No more than two C grades (C+/C/C-) in upper-division major requirement courses.

Applicants whose upper division GPA is below 3.300 and/or overall GPA is between 2.500-3.000 who do not meet the above criteria will not be considered for admission. Applicants with an overall GPA below 2.500 will not be considered. There are no exceptions.

All prospective students must submit a complete application to the MS portion of the BS/MS program by the stated deadline. Application instructions and deadlines are detailed below.

Admission to the Contiguous BS/MS program is not guaranteed for any applicant. Admissions decisions are final.

Eligibility Requirements for the MS in Biology with a Specialization in Biology Education Research

The Education Research Specialization provides an opportunity for students who wish to pursue projects on discipline-based education research. This research is guided by the teaching professors in the Division of Biological Sciences and encompasses topics such as: how students learn concepts in biology, what misconceptions impede their learning, how instructor's teaching methods influence students' learning. Students who will enroll in this specialization will receive a Master's degree in Biology with a Specialization in Biology Education Research.

The requirements for admissions to the Biology Education Specialization are similar to those in the general BS/MS program with two main exceptions:

  1. Undergraduate research is measured through enrollment in BISP 193, rather than BISP 196/199.
  2. The committee chair must be a teaching professor in Biological Sciences. The second committee member or co-chair may also be a teaching professor.

The GPA requirement for admissions to the Biology Education Specialization within the Biology BS/MS program matches the GPA requirement for the general BS/MS program (3.0 cumulative GPA and 3.3 upper division major GPA). Applicants below the GPA requirement for admissions must meet the exception criteria detailed above to be considered for admissions.

Undergraduate Research Requirement

Prospective BS/MS students are responsible for selecting an eligible faculty member to serve as their faculty advisor and in whose laboratory they will complete at least 24 units of research over 6 consecutive quarters. Students must confirm that the selected faculty advisor will maintain their faculty title at UC San Diego throughout their scheduled BS/MS program.

Students receive credit toward the BS/MS research requirement by completing BISP 199, BISP 196, or BISP 193 as an undergraduate student and BGGN 271 as graduate student. Prospective BS/MS students must enroll in 199/196/193 with their faculty advisor in their final 1-3 undergraduate terms. Undergraduate students may complete BISP 199 and BISP 193 for 2 or 4 units for the BS/MS program.

Please review the Research for Academic Credit website for additional information and current deadlines. Questions regarding BISP 199/196/193 may be addressed to the Biology Undergraduate Advising team through the VAC.

Students may apply 1-3 quarters of 199/196/193 toward the BS/MS Program if:

  • All quarters are consecutive
  • All quarters are with the same faculty advisor
  • The student is enrolled in 199/196/193 in their final undergraduate term
  • BISP 199/196/193 is not being used to satisfy a student's major requirements
    • Note: 199/196/193 units will be included in the total units required for BS graduation

Although the BS/MS program does not require students to enroll for the summer, 1 or 2 terms of 199/196/193 can be completed during the summer prior to official BS graduation provided that the faculty advisor approves. Graduate level courses, including BGGN 271, are not offered during the summer.

Faculty Advisor Eligibility

A student's faculty advisor serves as their primary research and thesis advisor throughout the BS/MS program.

Faculty advisor eligibility for students pursuing the MS in Biology

The faculty advisor must be involved with biological research at UC San Diego.

Students pursuing the BS/MS program through BISP 199 or BISP 196 must find a faculty advisor with one of the following titles:

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Distinguished Professor
  • Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Adjunct (any rank)
  • Research Scientist with Lecturer appointment

Interested students may confirm their faculty advisor's title through the UC San Diego Profiles website.

Faculty advisor eligibility for students pursuing the MS in Biology with a Specialization in Biology Education Research

Students interested in pursuing the Contiguous BS/MS Program with a Specialization in Biology Education Research must enroll in BISP 193 with a Biology faculty member holding the title of Teaching Professor. Biology faculty and their faculty title can be found in the Biology Faculty Directory.

Questions about faculty advisor eligibility may be directed to the BS/MS Coordinator through the Virtual Advising Center.

Sample Plan

Shaded cells indicate undergraduate enrollment. BGGN 271 cannot be taken during the summer.

Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Quarter 5 Quarter 6
Plan #1 BISP 199/196/193 BISP 199/196/193 BISP 199/196/193 BGGN 271 BGGN 271 BGGN 271
Plan #2 BISP 199/196/193 BISP 199/196/193 BGGN 271 BGGN 271 BGGN 271 BGGN 271
Plan #3 BISP 199/196/193 BGGN 271 BGGN 271 BGGN 271 BGGN 271 BGGN 271

Application Instructions

A complete application for the BS/MS program must include the following (review the detailed instructions for additional information):

  • A Master's Thesis Research Plan
  • Confirmation of an eligible second thesis committee member
  • A Statement of Purpose
  • A Letter of Recommendation from the student's thesis advisor
  • Accurate and complete answers to all required sections of the graduate studies application

Prospective BS/MS students must review and follow the detailed application instructions when submitting the graduate studies application. Applications must be submitted by the stated deadline of the student's final undergraduate term. Application deadlines for the upcoming Academic Year can be found in the "Application Deadlines" section of this webpage.

Review detailed application instructions

Application Deadlines

Undergraduate
Graduation Term
MS Start Term Application Opens
Application Closes/Deadlines Estimated Decision Release Start Application Link
Winter 2022 Spring 2022 November 3, 2021 January 19, 2022
@ 11:59PM
Mid February 2022 Apply Now
Spring 2022 Fall 2022 February 16, 2022 April 20, 2022
@ 11:59PM
Mid May 2022 Not Open
Summer 2022 Fall 2022 May 18, 2022 July 6, 2022
@ 11:59PM
Late July Not Open

MS Degree Requirements

Program requirements for the MS Degree are described in the General Catalog and on the Division's web pages.

Questions?
Current UCSD students: Please submit your questions via the VAC. An advisor will respond in 1-3 business days.
Drop-in Advising times are posted on the Advising Calendar.