Current Students

Advisor Contacts

BS/MS Program Faculty Advisor

Dr. Ella Tour
(858) 534-0913

Office: York Hall, 3080E

Office Hours: Wednesdays- 2:30-3:30

BS/MS Program Coordinator

Brandon Keith
(858) 534-8983
Pacific Hall, 1228

Walk-ins welcome

Download the MS Student Checklist (PDF)

MS Degree Requirements

  • 6 consecutive quarters of research. 1 to 3 of these quarters can be taken as an undergraduate senior.
  • Students who have been officially admitted by the UCSD Office of Graduate Admissions for the program must enroll in BGGN 271 (Advanced Experimental Methods in Biology) during each quarter of the MS program.
  • Research work will be credited toward the BS/MS program requirements only if it is completed while a student is officially enrolled at UCSD and has paid tuition for that quarter.
  • Completion of at least 36 units during the MS portion of the program. This includes research units (BGGN 271) and at least 12 units of relevant course work. BGGN 297 and BGGN 299 may not be used to satisfy any of these requirements. The course of study must be approved by the thesis advisor.
  • Course work: Eligible coursework must be graduate level (200-level or higher, including BGGN 500) or a maximum of 4 approved upper division units. Graduate level and upper division courses offered by related departments (BIOM, CHEM, MED, NEU SIO, etc.) can be used to satisfy this requirement.  4 units should come from graduate-level courses within the student's area of research.  4 additional units may come from any graduate-level course. 
  • During the MS portion, maintenance of a grade-point average (both overall and in the major) of at least 3.0 for all course work, both cumulatively and for each quarter of enrollment. If the student's GPA falls below 3.0, (for either the overall or major) he/she may be dropped from the program.
  • At least 3 complete, separate, and consecutive quarters of residency as a graduate student which will commence immediately following the quarter in which the BS degree is awarded. (Note: Summer Session is not considered an official quarter of the master's year.)
  • Establish and schedule the initial meeting with the MS Thesis Committee. The committee is selected by the student in consultation with the thesis advisor, who also serves as Chair. The committee must include at least three faculty members, including the Chair. The committee must include at least 2 tenure-track faculty from the Division of Biological Sciences and no more than 1 adjunct faculty member. If the BS/MS thesis advisor is not a member of the Division of Biological Sciences, or is an adjunct faculty member with the Division of Biological Sciences, another member of the committee who is a tenure-track faculty member with the Division of Biological Sciences must serve as Co-Chair. Students are encouraged to form and begin meeting with their Thesis Committee by the end of their first graduate quarter. Students are encouraged to communicate regularly with their committee throughout the master's program to discuss the research project.
  • Submit the completed Application for Candidacy to the BS/MS Coordinator by the end of the second quarter of the master's program. The Application for Candidacy lists the courses applied toward the MS degree and formally nominates the MS Thesis Committee members.
  • Completion of a written thesis with an oral defense subject to the approval of the Thesis Committee. MS students must contact the BS/MS Coordinator at least 3 weeks prior to the defense in order to obtain the required paperwork.
  • MS students must contact the BS/MS Coordinator prior to each quarter of the graduate year to ensure satisfactory progress in the program. Students must pay fees and be officially enrolled at UCSD during the year that the master's degree is awarded and during any quarter in which the student is using university resources (ex. working in lab).
  • Any deviation from this plan, such as a break in enrollment for 1 or more quarters, may cause the student to be dropped from the program.

NOTE: Students receiving financial support or employment at UCSD (such as a paid TA) must be enrolled in at least 12 units of graduate or upper division course work.

Final Administrative Steps

  • Schedule the “preliminary appointment” with the UCSD Graduate Division review the MS thesis formatting requirements. If possible, the preliminary appointment should be at least a week prior to the thesis defense. Students are ready for their preliminary appointment with the Graduate Division after they have fully formatted a complete draft of their thesis according to the requirements in the Dissertation and Thesis Manual. Students will bring a full copy of their thesis to the preliminary appointment with the Graduate Division, printed out on only one side of the paper, with nothing already printed on the backs of the pages. Calendar for scheduling preliminary appointment
  • At least six weeks prior to your thesis defense, email your committee a brief (no more than two pages) summary of the most important findings of your research, including key 1-2 figures or tables. The last part of the summary will be completed by your Chair, who will verify that you have obtained sufficient data to make s significant contribution to a research paper that will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Schedule a date, time, and location for the thesis defense, and make sure all of the thesis committee members will be able to attend. Please inform the BS/MS Coordinator of the defense date and time in advance so that the defense paperwork can be prepared. The research lab or the BS/MS Coordinator can reserve a conference room or class room for the defense. Remember to send the thesis paper to the thesis committee members with sufficient time to review the document prior to the defense. ***If you will be using a Mac for your PowerPoint presentation, please note that many classrooms and conference rooms will require an adapter to connect to the VGA cable at the lecterns.  Most PCs can connect directly to the VGA cable without an adapter, except for some tablets and netbooks.***
  • Schedule the “final appointment” with the Graduate Division to submit the final paperwork. If possible, the final appointment should be scheduled for at least two days after the defense so there is sufficient time to obtain the required signatures on the defense paperwork. The official quarter of MS graduation is the quarter in which the final appointment is completed. Please inform the BS/MS Coordinator of the final appointment date in advance. Calendar for scheduling final appointment
  • After your thesis has been approved by your thesis committee and is ready to be submitted to the Graduate Division, it will be officially submitted electronically. In digital form, your thesis is made available not only to the UC community but also to scholars worldwide. When submitting your thesis to the Graduate Division, you will be required to submit a release form stating your preference for releasing your thesis. It can be released immediately or it can be embargoed for a specified amount of time. In many cases, students and their advisors request the thesis be embargoed in order to have data published in another publication before the thesis is made public. If an extension of an embargo is required, it is the responsibility of the faculty advisor to contact the Graduate Division to request the extension.