Course Options for MS Students

MS students must complete at least 36 units of course work as a graduate student. Many students choose to complete more than the minimum required 36 units to help them achieve their goals.

Of the 36 units, at least 12 units must be in courses other than research (BGGN 271). Note:  BGGN 299 and 297 cannot be used to satisfy any of the 36 MS unit requirements.

2016-2017 Division of Biological Sciences Graduate Courses


Below is a list of graduate courses that we expect to offer during the academic year. Please refer to the UCSD Schedule of Classes for official course offerings and schedules.

Note: The Division of Biological Sciences has created a course designed specifically for Biology MS students. The course, BGGN 211 (Recent Advances and Experimental Approaches in Modern Biology), may be offered various quarters. The intent of the course is to introduce MS students to advanced concepts of modern biology (e.g. molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, genomics, and epigenomics, etc.). Current experimental approaches (including high-throughput sequencing, microarray technology, RNAi, proteomic technologies, ChIP-seq) will be discussed using primary research papers. The course also will provide training in critical analysis of scientific papers, data interpretation, scientific writing, and experimental design.

6-unit courses

  • BGGN 222 (Graduate Cell Biology): Winter Quarter (avaialble if space allows)
  • BGGN 223 (Graduate Genetics): Spring Quarter (avaialble if space allows)

4-unit courses

  • BGGN 211 - For Biology MS Students Only - (Recent Advances and Experimental Approaches in Modern Biology): Fall quarter
  • BGGN 203 (Topics in Ecology, Behavior & Evolution): quarter offered varies
  • BGGN 214 (Introduction to Quantitative Biology):  Fall Quarter
  • BGGN 225 (Graduate Immunology): Winter Quarter
  • BGGN 226 (Graduate Virology): Spring Quarter
  • BGGN 227 (Graduate Plant Systems Biology): Winter Quarter
  • BGGN 228 (Graduate Developmental Biology): Winter Quarter
  • BGGN 231 (Current Concepts in Stem Cell Biology): Fall Quarter
  • BGGN 238A (Integrative Microbiology I): Winter Quarter
  • BGGN 238B (Integrative Microbiology II): Spring Quarter
  • BGGN 245 (Advanced Topics in Cancer Research): Fall Quarter
  • BGGN 246A (Computational Neurobiology: Winter Quarter
  • BGGN 260 (Neurodynamics): Fall Quarter
  • BGGN 264 (Structural Biology of Viruses): Spring Quarter

2-unit courses

  • BGGN 202 (Professional Development for Biologists): Fall 
  • BGGN 293 (Scientific Writing in Biology): Winter
  • BGGN 295 (Scientific Presentation in Biology): Spring

Courses in other Departments that Satisfy the 12 Unit Requirement


  • Other academic departments in which MS students have completed courses include (but are not limited to).  Students are encouraged to review the UCSD Schedule of Classes and the General Catalog for more information on these courses.
    • Biomed Sciences (BIOM)
    • Chemistry/Biochemistry (CHEM)
    • Neurosciences (NEU)
    • School of Medicine (CMM, FPM, MED, SOM, etc.)
    • SIO (SIO)
  • Note: Students must contact the course instructor to obtain permission to enroll in non-Biological Sciences courses.

Other Course Options in Biological Sciences

  • One-unit seminars and journal clubs in Biological Sciences. (Students should apply no more than 4 units of these courses toward their MS degree.)
    • BGSE 200
    • BGJC
    • BGRD (if a section is offered by the student's thesis advisor)
    • BISP 194 (Advanced Topics in Modern Biology) if topic not taken as undergraduate
    • Other upper division undergraduate courses in Biological Sciences not taken as undergraduate

Students in the MS program may take upper division (undergraduate) courses to fulfill some course requirements for the MS degree. These units must be completed during your graduate year and the course cannot have been taken as an undergraduate.