Admission to Program

Graduate Application Package

To apply, you must:

  1. Complete a University application (obtained from Admissions and Records Office, Salazar Hall, Room 1018 Tel: (707) 664-4238). NOTE: If you submit online, be sure to print a hardcopy to send to the Department of Biology.
  2. Request official copies of all undergraduate transcripts.
  3. Submit a 1-2 page Statement of Purpose essay detailing your background in biology, objectives for graduate school and career goals.
  4. Request two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the student's background in biology and able to comment on their potential for conducting original work.
  5. Submit the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the General test. Biology Subject scores are strongly recommended, but not required.

Items 1-3: submit to SSU's Admissions and Records Office.

Copies of items 1-3 and originals of items 4 and 5: submit to the Department of Biology, Derek Girman, Graduate Coordinator; (707) 664-3055.

IMPORTANT: A completed application package must be received in the Admissions and Records Office, and by the Graduate Coordinator in Biology, before an applicant will be considered for admission.

Admission to the program requires:

  1. Meeting California State University admission requirements.
  2. Acceptance by a Biology faculty member (tenure-track or approved SSU adjunct) to serve as a faculty advisor. Students are strongly encouraged to review the information on faculty members and contact them prior to completing an application.
  3. Approval of the Graduate Committee.

Applications will be reviewed for evidence that the prospective student is capable of initiating and performing original research. As a general guideline, the Department uses the following criteria to determine this potential:

  1. An undergraduate degree in biology or equivalent, including
    1. One course in calculus or statistics;
    2. One year of general chemistry and one semester of organic chemistry;
    3. At least one other course in physical sciences;
    4. Upper division coursework demonstrating competence in three of four core areas (organismal biology; physiology; molecular or cellular biology; ecology or evolutionary biology).
  2. A 3.0 GPA or higher in the last 60 units.
  3. A score at or above the 50th percentile on each section of the General Examination of the GRE.
  4. Evidence in letters of recommendation of potential for conducting independent and original research in biology.

The application deadline in the department is January 31 for the Fall semester and October 31 for the Spring semester. The SSU Admissions and Records Office will notify students about the status of their applications.

Students will be admitted into Classified Standing. Applicants deficient in undergraduate course preparation will be expected to demonstrate competency before being advanced to candidacy.

Graduate Student Support

Graduate students in the Department of Biology are supported through a variety of sources. The Department has approximately 20 teaching assistantships available each semester and these positions are filled one semester in advance (contact the Graduate Coordinator for details). In addition, students may receive research assistantships through individual faculty members and their research grants. The University offers a limited number of tuition fee waivers for qualified teaching assistants. Students can also obtain academic scholarships as well as financial aid (usually in the form of low-interest loans).

Important SSU Offices For Applicants

Admissions and Records Office
Salazar Hall, Salz 2030 Tel: (707) 664-2778
Department of Biology
Department Office (Darwin Hall, Room 200): (707) 664-2189 (Jen Aaseth)
Department Chair (Darwin Hall, Room 219): (707) 664-3053 (Nathan Rank)
Graduate Coordinator (Darwin Hall, Room 243): (707) 664-3055 (Derek Girman)
Financial Aid Office
Salazar Hall, Salz 2050A Tel: (707) 664-2389
Graduate Studies Office
Stevenson Hall, Room 2010 Tel: (707) 664-2237
Open University/Extended Education
Stevenson Hall, Room 1012 Tel: (707) 664-2394
Scholarship Office
Salazar Hall, Salz 1072 Tel: (707) 664-2261
University Bookstore
Purchase of SSU catalogs Tel: (707) 664-2329