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School of Biological Sciences, BSMS Program Application Instructions

Prospective BS/MS students must submit the official UC San Diego Graduate Studies application online and pay the application fee by the stated deadline for their graduation term. There are no exceptions or extensions to application deadlines

Applicants are responsible for ensuring the application is completed by the deadline. The instructions below will ensure applicants submit a complete application for the BS/MS program. Applicants are responsible for reviewing this document thoroughly. The BS/MS Office will not contact applicants if information is missing or an applicant has not completed a step required for an admissions decision to be processed. Applications with missing documents or unfinished required sections will be considered incomplete, and the applicant will forfeit eligibility for the BS/MS program.

Application Steps and Requirements

  1. Applicants may begin the BS/MS in Biology application by doing the following:
    1. Create a new account in the Application Management System
    2. Select "Start New Application", "Create Application", and "Open Application"
    3. Read through the Application Instructions
    4. In the Program Selector Page:
      1. Answer Yes, you are a current UCSD student
      2. Answer No, you have not previously registered as a graduate student (if this is not true, contact the Program Coordinator)
      3. Enter PID
      4. Select "B.S./M.S." for Degree Type
      5. Select the appropriate Program Interest
        1. BISP 199 and BISP 196 students: select "Biology (BS/MS)"
        2. BISP 193 students: select "Biology with a Specialization in Biology Education Research (MS)"
      6. Select the correct academic term
        1. The start term indicates when an applicant expects to start the MS program
  2. In the "Academic History" section, the applicant will be prompted to upload transcripts.
    1. Unofficial transcripts, or a PDF copy of an applicant's TritonLink Academic History, are acceptable for the application
    2. Applicants must upload transcripts from any other university or college attended after high school (or high school equivalent), even if this transcript has already been submitted to UC San Diego. These transcripts may be unofficial
    3. When listing the current UC San Diego undergraduate degree, select "Bachelor's Degree or Equivalent"
      1. Applicants do not need to enter their "last 2 year GPA"
  3. Applicants must scan and upload a signed Masters' Thesis Research Plan form into the application as a .PDF file.
    1. All sections must be complete and include signatures from the applicant, thesis advisor, and one additional thesis committee member
      1. The thesis advisor and second committee member must answer the questions and sign the form in the appropriate section.
      2. The second committee member must be a Biology faculty member with an eligible UC San Diego faculty title. Eligible titles include Professor Emeritus, Distinguished Professor, Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Research Scientist with a Lecturer appointment
      3. If the proposed thesis advisor is not in the School of Biological Sciences, or if the proposed thesis advisor is an adjunct professor in the School of Biological Sciences, the second committee member will serve as the committee co-chair.
    2. Only complete Research Plans will be accepted. Applications with missing information or unfinished required sections will be considered incomplete and the applicant will forfeit their eligibility for the BS/MS program.
  4. All applicants must request a letter of recommendation from their thesis advisor. Additional letters will not be considered. The letter must come directly from the faculty thesis advisor, not a different lab supervisor. Emailed letters will not be accepted. The letter is due by the application deadline.
    1. Applicants must enter their advisor's contact information in the "Recommendations" section of the application. Applicants must not upload the letter of recommendation themselves.
      1. Faculty will receive a request to submit a letter of recommendation after the applicant confirm their faculty advisor's contact information. This step may be completed before the application is fully submitted.
    2. The letter of recommendation must address the following for all applicants:
      1. How long a student has conducted independent research with their current lab (either as a volunteer, or through BISP 199/196/193)
      2. Outline a plan that demonstrates the applicant will be supported academically and in their research while in the MS program
      3. Any details the advisor feels address the applicant's potential to succeed in the MS program
    3. For students who do not meet the GPA requirement for admissions (3.0 cumulative GPA and 3.3. upper division Biology GPA), the letter must also :
      1. Acknowledge that the applicant has discussed their GPA with their faculty advisor
      2. Explain why the faculty advisor believes the student will succeed as a Master's student
      3. Outline a clear plan detailing how the student will balance coursework with research demands if admitted. This can include, but is not limited to:
        1. Quarterly plans to discuss course enrolment
        2. Discussions to determine time spent on research (in and out of lab) v. time dedicated to coursework
  5. Applicants must upload the Statement of Purpose into the application. The Statement of Purpose:
    1. No more than 2 pages, single spaced
    2. Must describe the student's motivation to join the BS/MS program
    3. May describe previous research experience
    4. May explain personal circumstances that have impacted the student's educational trajectory (and if applicable, low GPA)

Additional Information

  • Applicants are not required to submit GRE scores.
  • CRVs and/or Resumes are not required.
  • Applicants must file a Degree and Diploma Application with their college before the Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA) can make an official offer of admission.
  • Admitted students register for MS program classes only after they receive and accept the offer of admission.

Decisions will be communicated as soon as they are available, typically no later than the posting of grades for the final undergraduate term. Inquiries regarding decision timeline will not receive a response.

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.