Biology Logo  

    Evolutionary Biology
   at San Diego State University

   SDSU Logo  

   Master's Program


   Master's Grad. Courses


Evolutionary Biology Master's Program

The Master's program is central to the Evolutionary Biology program area's mission of actively advancing the field of evolutionary biology through excellence in teaching, research, and mentoring. Because evolutionary biology is the central organizing principle of biology, students in the program work on a variety of research questions, involving many different kinds of organisms. Students in the M.S. program have a variety of options open to them upon graduation. Many graduates of the M.S. program choose to continue their education by pursuing a Ph.D. at other institutions. Other graduates choose employment as biologists with government agencies, the private sector, or non-profit organizations.

Degree Requirements / Admission Requirements / Application Procedures  /
    Cost of Study /   Financial Support / The Community and Environment / The University

       [ Revised 6 September 2013 ]

All students must complete a graduate program of 30 units selected from courses approved for the M.S. in Biology. In addition, students are expected to engage in an original research project. A written thesis proposal must be approved by the student’s committee and an oral proposal presented to the faculty. At the completion of thesis research, a thesis defense must take place before the student’s thesis committee gives final approval to the thesis . Students are expected to choose a project that will ultimately be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Typically, students eligible for admission have:
    1. An overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.85 or better for the last 60 semester units, and a 3.0 or better in upper division biology courses.
    2. A bachelor's degree in Biology or related field from any accredited college or university, with coursework comparable to the undergraduate program in Biology at San Diego State University. Students may be asked to take additional coursework to fill curriculum deficits. Typical applicants for admission have taken physics, chemistry, calculus, organic chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry, biostatistics, genetics, and evolution.
    3. For international students, the paper-based TOEFL (PBT) score should be at least 550. The Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) should be 80.

There are two critical steps in the admission process:
1. Students are not admitted into the E.B. Master's program unless a faculty member is willing to sponsor them in their lab. Thus, prospective students should make contact with faculty members whose research matches the student's interests. This should be done early in the admissions process. Potential faculty mentors can advise students as to whether they will be accepting students into their lab for the coming semester and whether their research interests are compatible.
2. Students must submit application materials for admission, including supporting transcripts and three letters of recommendation (plus TOEFL, if applicable). The deadline for completion of files is February 1.

Please consult the Department of Biology for complete instructions on applying.

Cost of Study
Cost of study varies between California residents versus non-resident or foreign students. In addition, foreign students are required to have health insurance coverage every year. U.S. citizens may achieve California residency status at the end of one year. Once California residency is established students will pay the resident tuition fees. All fees are subject to change by the Trustees of the California State University.

For more detailed and current information, please see Office of Financial Aid and Student Account Services.

Financial Support
Graduate teaching assistantships (TAs) are available on a competitive basis (based on GPA) for up to 15 hours work per week for the academic year (9 mos.). Graduate assistantships (GAs) are also available for research and non-teaching duties. In addition to TAs and GAs funded by the university, graduate research assistantships may also be available from the prospective faculty mentor. Fellowships, scholarships, and other forms of financial assistance from university, state, federal, and private sources are also available. For more information about fellowships, scholarships, and loans, consult the SDSU Financial Aid office.

and Environment
San Diego State University is located 12 miles east of downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean. San Diego is a diverse metropolitan center with a population over one million people. San Diego provides its inhabitants with one of the greatest varieties of living conditions and recreational opportunities. The Laguna Mountains are 45 minutes to the east and rise to over 6000 ft. and offer pine forests and hiking, camping and snow. Beyond the Lagunas lies the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in the United States. Twelve miles to the west of campus lies the beautiful Pacific Ocean with over 72 miles of recreational beaches providing outstanding facilities for marine and water sports and ocean fishing. The city contains many fine cultural and recreational attractions, many of which are centered around Balboa Park. Balboa Park contains the world-famous San Diego Zoo as well as museums, art galleries, and the Old Globe Theatre, with its summer Shakespearean festivals. Football, basketball, baseball, and hockey fans can take advantage of San Diego's many sports facilities to watch their favorite teams in action. Just 15 minutes south of San Diego is Mexico with its cultural attractions, unusual shopping opportunities, and limitless possibilities for outdoor adventure in the rugged Baja peninsula.

The University

San Diego State University, founded in 1897, is the oldest university in the San Diego region and the largest of the 22 institutions in the CSU system. These universities are governed by the Board of Trustees and administered by the Chancellor of the CSU and Presidents of each institution. San Diego State University occupies a mesa on the eastern end of Mission Valley, home of San Diego Mission, the oldest of the California missions. The university offers over 200 degrees, and the annual amount of research and contract grant funds brought in by SDSU faculty exceeds $150 million. The San Diego State campus itself is cosmopolitan with over 35,000 students, including more than 6,000 graduate students. Drama, concerts, speakers, film series, and sports provide a varied on-campus life to complement the opportunities off-campus.