Current Students

Advisor Contacts

BS/MS Program Coordinator

Jeannette Fox

General BS/MS information, program requirements, degree progress, application to candidacy, degree completion, and student status inquiries.

Office Hours:

  • Monday/Wednesday: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Tuesday/Thursday: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Sign in for advising at the Biology Advising Office front desk in Pacific Hall 1128

Academic advising is also available through the Virtual Advising Center

BS/MS Program Faculty Advisor

Dr. Ella Tour

BS/MS research and MS thesis requirements.

Office Hours:

  • Mondays 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Meetings are available by appointment when a holiday falls on a Monday

 Office: York Hall, 3080E

(858) 53 4-0913
(858) 53 4-0913
Download the MS Student Checklist [PDF]

MS Degree Requirements

  • Complete 6 consecutive quarters of research between the undergraduate and graduate programs. At least 3 quarters must be completed as a graduate student. All research must be completed within the same lab, with the same thesis advisor. Undergraduate research is measured through enrollment in BISP 199, BISP 196, or BISP 193. Research work will be credited toward the BS/MS program requirements only if it is completed while a student is officially enrolled at UC San Diego and has paid tuition for that quarter. Note, graduate students may not receive credit for research during the summer term. Students must be enrolled full time while in the graduate program, unless approved for half time enrollment. To be eligible for half time, students must either be entering their 7th quarter of research or be requesting half time for health, family responsibilities, or occupation reasons. Students must meet with the BS/MS Coordinator prior to requesting half time status to confirm eligibility.
  • Enroll in BGGN 271 (Advanced Experimental Methods in Biology) during each quarter of the MS program.
  • Complete at least 36 units during the MS portion of the program. At least 12 units must come from 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 student's thesis advisor. The remaining units may be completed through enrollment in BGGN 271 and BGRD 200.
  • Complete at least 12 units of eligible course work : Eligible course work must be graduate level (200-level or higher), but students may apply a maximum of 4 approved upper division units toward this requirement. Graduate level and upper division courses offered by related departments (BIOM, CHEM, MED, NEU SIO, etc.) may be used to satisfy this requirement.  4 units must come from graduate-level courses within the student's area of research.  4 additional units may come from any graduate-level course. All course work must be taken for a letter grade, unless the course is only offered S/U or P/NP. Courses taken while an undergraduate student may not be repeated for credit during the graduate program. For an overview of graduate courses offered in the current academic year, visit Biological Sciences Course Offerings.
  • Maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.0, both cumulatively and for each quarter of enrollment in the graduate program. If the student's GPA falls below 3.0, they may be dropped from the program.
  • 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 in the first two weeks of the student's final quarter of the master's program. Information about the candidacy process will be communicated by the BS/MS Coordinator to relevant students. If a student's intended quarter of graduation changes, they must contact the BS/MS Coordinator to make sure they receive the candidacy information in their final quarter.
  • Complete 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.
  • Enroll and pay relevant fees during any quarter in which the student is using university resources (ex. working in lab or taking courses)

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 UC San Diego (such as a paid Instructional Assistant) must be enrolled in at least 12 units of graduate or upper division course work.

Final Administrative Steps

  • Schedule a date, time, and location for the thesis defense. The date and time must work for all members of the thesis committee. 
  • Inform the BS/MS Coordinator of the defense date and time through the VAC so 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.
  • Schedule the “preliminary appointment” with the UC San Diego  Graduate Division to review the MS thesis formatting requirements. The preliminary appointment should be at least a week prior to the thesis defense. Students must not schedule the preliminary meeting until they have fully formatted a complete draft of their thesis according to the requirements in the Dissertation and Thesis Manual [PDF] . Use the Graduate Division's calendar for scheduling preliminary appointment
  • Email the MS committee a brief ( no more than two pages) summary of the most important findings of the student's research, including key 1-2 figures or tables at least 6 weeks prior to the scheduled defense. 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.
  • Email the final thesis draft to the MS committee before the thesis defense. Students must send this draft as soon as possible to ensure the committee has time to review the thesis before the defense.
  • Schedule the “final appointment” with the Graduate Division to submit the final thesis draft and all required paperwork. The final appointment should be scheduled for at least two days after the defense. If students are not able to provide 2 days between the defense and final appointment, they must notify the BS/MS Coordinator. Schedule the final appointment through the Graduate Division's  calendar.
  • Defend the thesis and receive approval signatures from the MS committee. After the MS Committee approves the thesis and defense, all paperwork must be returned to the BS/MS Coordinator in order to be approved by the Division's Graduate Chair. This must be completed before the final appointment with the Graduate Division.
  • Attend the final appointment and complete the Graduate Division's checklist for graduating MS students. This checklist will be provided by the Graduate Division at the preliminary meeting.
The MS thesis, once approved by the MS committee and Graduate Division, will be submitted electronically to eScholarship. In digital form, the MS thesis is made available not only to the UC community but also to scholars worldwide. The Division of Biological Science requests all students receive a 2 year embargo, to provide students and labs an opportunity to continue the research or submit the research for publication. If an embargo extension is required, it is the responsibility of the faculty advisor to contact the Graduate Division to request the extension.