Graduate Curriculum

A total of 30 units of course work is required for completion of the Master's degree.  A minimum of 15 units must be at the 500 (graduate) level.  Students, in consultation with their Research Advisor and Advisory Committtee, choose courses that will prepare them to pass their qualifying exam and successfully conduct their thesis research.  Graduate courses in Biology are comprised of two unit graduate seminars (Biology 500S). Graduate seminars are offered every semester with a rotation of topics that serve the variety of graduate research interests in the graduate program.

Graduate Seminar course topics include:

  • Research Skills
  • Macroevolution
  • Speciation
  • Bioenergetics
  • Extremophiles
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Metabolites
  • Phenotypic Plasticity
  • Adaptation
  • Advanced Statistical Analysis
  • Current Topics in Biology
  • Developmental Toxicology

All graduated students are encouraged to take at least one Research Skills Seminar.

Thesis research is supervised through enrollment in BIOL 595 and BIOL 599 - up to 3 units may be applied to research in these courses each semester. Up to a total of 6 units of BIOL 595 and 6 units of BIOL 599 may be applied toward the 30 unit requirement for the Master's degree.

A number of upper-division undergradute courses may be important in rounding out a student's curriculum.  BIOL 390 is the Departmental Colloquium and presents a broad range of topics from invited seminar speakers.  This course allows students to become acquainted with faculty members at Ph.D. granting institutions. Biometry (BIOL 345) is taken by many graduate students.

A Sample Graduate Course Program:

In the first year, it is recommended that at least one, 4 unit, 500 level course be combined with research units (BIOL 595) for a total of 7 units in one semester.  The other semester would combine research (BIOL 595), a graduate seminar course of 2 units, and an additional course of 3 to 4 units for a maximum of 9 units.  The first year's goal is to complete 15 to 16 units.  In the second year, research units (BIOL 599) should be combined with a graduate seminar course of 2 units, Biology Colloquium (BIOL 390), plus one additional course of 2-4 units.  The goal for the second year is to obtain 16 to 18 units for a total of 31 to 34 units.  The table summarizes a sample program of course work.

Year 1 of Sample 2-Year Program
Term Course Units
Fall BIOL 595 3
Option 1: Additional 500 level 4
Option 2: Additional 500 level, plus 300 or 400 level 2+ 3-4
Spring BIOL 595 3
Option 1: Additional 500 level 4
Option2: Additional 500 level, plus 300 or 400 level 2+ 3-4
Year 1 total goal   15-16
Year 2 of Sample 2-Year Program
Term Course Units
Fall BIOL 599 3
Additional 500 level 2
BIOL 390 1
1 additional course 2-4
Spring BIOL 599 3
Additional 500 level 2
BIOL 390 1
1 additional course 2-4
Year 2 total goal   16-18