Overview

The graduate program in Biological Sciences leads to either a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA) degree.  The program provides an opportunity for students to receive advanced training in biology and prepares them for a variety of professional career paths such as research, education, environmental consulting, science policy, biotechnology, science writing, and the health professions.  Combining rigorous coursework with hands-on mentored training, our degree programs are designed to serve a diverse student body and act as a springboard for further career and professional advancement.  By virtue of the University's location in the state capital, the program also provides unparalleled access to a broad array of career opportunities with local, federal, and state agencies. For information about admission proceedures and requirements for the MS or MA programs, refer to the online university catalog (scroll up one page).

Master of Science Degree

The Master of Science (MS) degree program emphasizes advanced training and research in biology and prepares students for careers in which an advanced research experience is required.  The MS degree combines advanced coursework (30 units) in biology with a written thesis, which is based on original research and makes a new contribution to the field of biology. The program offers concentrations in Biological Conservation and Molecular and Cellular Biology. Students may also pursue general training in biology by electing the "No Concentration" option. 

Students pursuing an MS degree in the Department of Biological Sciences design and conduct their own research under the direction of a graduate advisor and a supervisory committee, which consists of two or three additional faculty members.  Although students work most closely with their graduate advisor as they conduct their research, they are encouraged to take advantage of the expertise of their committee as well as other faculty members in the department.  A student’s thesis research may be conducted on or off campus. If it is conducted off campus, a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences must be identified as the student’s graduate advisor. 

Once admitted to the program, students are advised by a temporary graduate advisor or by the faculty member who agreed to serve as their graduate advisor. Students are encouraged to plan their academic programs in consultation with their advisor as early as possible – preferably prior to enrollment in the program.


Master of Arts Degree 

The Master of Arts (MA) degree is a non-thesis degree program that emphasizes advanced training in biology and the ability to apply the scientific process to biological problems. Combining advanced coursework (30 units) with a written project based on a current research problem in biology, the MA degree has two tracks: a Grant Proposal track and a Stem Cell Concentration track. 

The Grant Proposal track is designed for students who wish to pursue a coursework-based degree program that will prepare them for a variety of careers, including education, science writing, science illustration, science law, science policy, and health professions.  In addition to advanced coursework, this degree track requires students to prepare a research proposal in the format required by a state or federal granting agency (e.g., National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health) based on a novel hypothesis that addresses a biological problem. 

The Stem Cell Concentration track is designed for students who wish to gain advanced coursework, hands-on research experience, and lab training in the latest stem cell techniques for careers in stem cell research or biotechnology.  The program is designed to be completed in 20 months, including 3 semesters of graduate coursework at Sacramento State University, an intensive Stem Cell Techniques training course at the Buck Institute for Age Research, and a 6-month paid research internship at a participating laboratory in the UC Davis Stem Cell Program.  Students will also take courses at UC Davis to augment their applied training.  Upon completion of the internship, the student must complete a written project report (i.e., not a thesis). For additional details about the Stem Cell Concentration, contact Dr. Rosalee Carter (carterrc@csus.edu).

Once admitted to the program, students will be assigned a graduate advisor.  In the case of the Applied Stem Cell Internship track, Dr. Rosalee Carter will serve as the student’s graduate advisor.  Students are encouraged to plan their academic programs in consultation with their graduate advisor as early as possible – preferably prior to enrollment in the program.

Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Jamie Kneitel, kneitel@csus.edu

Graduate Student Learning Outcomes