Biology Department photograph montage

Requirements and Steps to Graduation

 30 units

  • 15 units from exclusively graduate courses (700-899 level)
  • A minimum of 4 units must be seminars (45 min oral presentation; Biology 860-866)
  • A maximum of 4 units may come from colloquium (Biology 871 or 872)
  • A maximum of 6 units may be Independent research (Biology 897)
  • 6 units may be from graduate courses or paired courses (grad students must always register for the graduate member of the paired course)
  • A maximum of 9 units may come from upper division courses
  • You must enroll in Biology 898 (4 units, formal) or Biology 895 (4 units, unstructured) the semester you want to graduate (except summer)


Your First Semester

Complete the
Biology Student Policy Form (day of biology orientation)

Complete your English Proficiency Requirement (day of biology orientation)

Meet with your program advisor.

Complete the First Year Checklist


Your Second Semester

Form Your Graduate Committee
You should form your graduate committee by the 2nd semester. The graduate committee consists of at least 3-faculty members

Complete Your Thesis Prospectus
The Thesis Prospectus has two important roles. 1) It serves as the second-level English Proficiency assessment required of all CSU graduate students. 2) It articulates the graduate student's research plan and progress to their graduate committee members.
Thesis Prospectus Form

Your Third Semester

Submit an Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form.
The ATC is a permanent record of your completed and planned course work as well as other requirements necessary for you to complete your degree.
Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form

Submit a Culminating Experience Proposal
Graduate students must complete a culminating experience which may include thesis, special project and/or comprehensive examination prior to graduation. Submit a Culminating Experience Proposal The Culminating must be approved by Graduate Studies before enrolling in the culminating experience course.
Culminating Experience Proposal Form

The Culminating Experience Continuous Enrollment Policy
applies to all students admitted or re-admitted for Fall 2008 or later. Once you enroll in your Culminating Experience course, you are required to maintain continuous enrollment through the College of Extended Learning (CEL) if you do not complete your project and earn your degree within two semesters (the semester of enrollment and one "grace semester"). If you do not maintain continuous enrollment, and wish to return to complete the degree, you will need to retroactively enroll in the CEL course for each semester following the grace semester, and pay all applicable fees.

Your Final Semester

Review Thesis / Dissertation / Written Creative Work Guidelines
To graduate in the semester you finish your Culminating Experience you must come in to the Division of Graduate Studies for a format check to obtain a Thesis/Dissertation/Written Creative Work receipt.
Guidelines for Review

Applying For Graduation
You must apply online; the evaluator will verify degree completion. Your application allows you to participate in annual commencement ceremony.
Instructions for Sumitting an Application for Award of Degree


BioGradPolicy.pdf299.94 KB
FirstYearCheck.pdf182.93 KB
IDP.pdf203.25 KB