Graduate Student Timeline

Sample Requirements Timeline

This is based on a two-year model. Some students may take longer to complete their research.

Semester 1

  1. First-level English Proficiency Exam (given at New Grad Student Orientation)
  2. Read and sign the Biology Graduate Policy Signature Page
    (given at New Grad Student Orientation) Email it to the Biology graduate secretary.
  3. Move from Conditionally Classified to Classified
  4. Assemble a thesis/project committee
  5. Review your Individual Development Plans (IDPs) with your PI/advisor.

Semester 2

  1. Meet with your thesis/project committee.
  2. File your Thesis/Project Prospectus (Second-Level English Proficiency Exam).

Semester 3

  1. Meet with your thesis/project committee.
  2. File your Advancement to Candidacy Form.
  3. File your Culminating Experience Form.
  4. File your Animal/Human Subjects Protocol Form (if required).
    Note that filing this form requires that you file your Culminating Experience Form at the same time. Discuss this with your advisor immediately if you work with vertebrate animals.

Semester 4

  1. Meet with your thesis/project committee.
  2. Enroll in Biology 895 or 898. You must have your ATC and Culminating Experience forms on file at Graduate Studies prior to being permitted to enroll in Biology 895/898.
  3. Write, Defend and File your master's thesis/project. This is the final stage of completing your M.S. degree.
  4. Apply to graduate.


Grace Semester

  1. You are allowed a “grace” semester in which to complete your Culminating Experience and earn your degree.  For example, if you enroll in your Culminating Experience course in Spring 2022 you are permitted to continue your work through the Fall 2022 semester without enrolling. However, if you do not complete your Culminating Experience by the end of the grace semester, you must enroll Spring in SCI 499 (through College of Extended Leaning) and each semester thereafter until you earn your degree.
  2. Your grace semester will always be the semester after you have enrolled in your culminating experience course (BIOL 895 or 898).


Maintaining Graduate Student Status

Continuous Enrollment through College of Extended Leaning with SCI 499 Requirement

  1. All graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment through completion of degree requirements or lose graduate student standing at SF State.  A student who does not enroll for two consecutive semesters loses graduate student standing and must reapply for admission to the University and to the major department. 
  2. If you do not complete your Culminating Experience  after the “grace” semester following enrollment in your Culminating Experience course, you are required to maintain continuous enrollment through the College of Extended Learning (CEL).  You must enroll in a Culminating Experience Continuous Enrollment course under your college name: SCI 499.