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 to complete application 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 using the Cal State Apply website.

The Fall 2018 application will be available October 1.



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

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.

Instruction can be found here:

All Science Transcripts

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

All Science Transcript Form



Letters of Recommendation

You need a minimum (2) Letters of Recommendation. Letters of recommendation can be subitted throught the evaluation tab in your application.

Alternatively, letters of recommendation may be emailed to:
Subject: Letter of Recommendation for applicant {Your Name}

Instructions for recommenders can be found at:


The Department of Biology does not require the GRE General or Subject Test. If you would like to submit your scores, you may do so; however, GRE scores are not used as criteria for admission.

International Students
We do require that International applicants take the TOFEL and submit your scores to your application portal.


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
lorInstructions.pdf70.39 KB
AllSci.pdf1.33 MB