Biology Department photograph montage

Applying to SFSU Biology Graduate Programs

Biology Department
Graduate Program Application

Application For Fall 2018 will open October 1, 2017

Deadline is February 1, 2018

Please note: The minimum GPA requirement for applying to the M.S. in Biology
program at SFSU is 3.0 in your last 60 semester (90 quarter) units.

Here are the steps you need to take to apply to the biology department graduate program at San Francisco State…



Apply to SF State, through Cal State Apply.  However, at this time the Fall 2018 application is not available, please check our website again in October.



Start preparing the following documents and eventually upload them to application portal.

Letters of Recommendation
You need a minimum (2) Letters of Recommendation. You will need to ask your recommenders to email the letters to

Instructions for recommenders can be found at:


Personal Statement of Purpose
You will need to write a Statement of Purpose explaining why you want to attend this program.  You can upload this file as a (.doc, .docx, .pdf, or .rtf format). Prepare a two-page essay that discusses your interests and goals relating to your pursuing a M.S. in Biology. In this essay, please address the following:

Let us know a little about who you are. This can include where you are from, your upbringing, your educational experiences, or relevant stories that help us get to know you. Tell us about how your motivation to pursue graduate studies in Biology developed. Describe previous research or laboratory experience. Describe how participation in our program will benefit your educational or career goals. Identify which faculty members whose research matches your interests.

All Science Transcripts

You will need to list of all the science courses you have taken on our All-Science Transcript form, found here:

We required that all applicants take the general GRE exam (Institution Code: 4683) or the TOFEL (for international students) and submit your scores to your application portal

This is a good time to start working on these requirements, so that when the application is open in October you will be able to submit them in a timely manner.


Begin to identify potential biology faculty mentors you would like to work with.

We admit only those applicants who have been invited to join the lab of a graduate faculty member (except for Cell and Molecular Biology - Emphasis in Stem Cell Research and Professional Science Master's (PSM) students, see below).

1.    Browse the Biology Faculty Profiles to find research that interests you. You can find their profiles (listed by emphasis) at our website:

2.    Contact via email each faculty member whose research fits with your interests and arrange an individual appointment to discuss opportunities in their laboratories. We encourage you to be proactive.
3.    For students applying to the PSM program, please contact Dr. Linda Chen at

4.    For students applying to the Cell and Molecular Biology - CIRM Program with an Emphasis in Stem Cell Research, you do NOT need to identify potential SFSU faculty mentors for this graduate program. In place of a faculty members name write: "CIRM".

5.    For students applying to the  RTC Marine Science Program contact:
Jonathon Stillman:
Ellen Hines:

You will need to list the potential faculty mentors on your application portal. 


SFSUGradStatementInfoRevised.pdf920.03 KB
SFSURecletterInfoTJK.pdf364.13 KB
AllSci.pdf1.29 MB