Admission Process and Requirements
for the Graduate Program in Biology

To be considered for admission to the Biology MS program you must complete two applications. 1: to University Admissions and Records and 2: to the Biology Department.

Fall Semester application deadline: Feb. 15th

Spring Semester application deadline: Oct. 15 for Spring 2014, Sept. 15 for 2015

Steps in the application process

1. Apply to the University

i. Read the University Admission Requirements below

ii. Take the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and have the scores sent to CSUN Admissions and Records at CSUN GRE Institutional Code 4707.

iii. Take the Biology Subject GRE (if required - see Department Admission Requirements below) and have the scores sent to CSUN Admissions and Records at CSUN GRE Institutional Code 4707.

iv. Apply to the University through CSU Mentor by the appropriate deadlines (see above)

v. Request official transcripts to be sent to CSUN Admissions and Records. Ideally, you should arrange to send transcripts 6-8 weeks before the application deadline. Transcripts are frequently a reason for delays and may prevent us from admitting you into the program. After you apply to the University, you will be able to check the status of your University Application through the myNorthridge Portal on CSUN's main web page. CSUN alumni applying to the graduate program do not need to arrange official transcripts from CSUN.

2. Apply to the Department

i. Read the Department Admission Requirements below

ii. Contact Biology faculty whose research interests are of interest to you. Do this well in advance of the application deadline.

iii. Submit the Department Application Form, unofficial copies of GRE scores and transcripts to:

   Graduate Coordinator
   Department of Biology,
   California State University Northridge
   18111 Nordhoff St.
   Northridge, CA 91330-8303

iv. Arrange to have 3 letters from academic references sent to the same address.

University Admission Requirements

Students interested in the MS program in Biology must complete an application to the University through the University Office of Admissions and Records. University Applications are submitted through CSU Mentor. This application is reviewed by the Office of Admissions and Records and forwarded to the Department of Biology if the applicant meets the minimum requirements for the university.

University Requirements (from the University Catalogue):

  1. Have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college.
  2. Have been in good standing at the last institution attended.
  3. Have at least a 2.5 grade point average in the last 60 Semester/ 90 Quarter units attempted, independent of when the baccalaureate was granted. The entire semester or quarter in which the 60/90 units began will be used in this calculation. Lower-Division courses or courses taken in extension (except in concurrent enrollment at CSUN in the Upper-Division), after obtaining the bachelor's degree, will be excluded from the calculation.
  4. International students whose native language is not English must score 79 or better in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants taking the Computer Based Test of English must score 213 or above.

Biology Department Admission Requirements

A separate and more detailed application must be submitted to the Department of Biology by the application deadline (see below). The department's Graduate Committee reviews applications and presents qualified applications to the department faculty to identify academic advisors. When reviews are complete, the Graduate Coordinator will recommend to the University Office of Admissions and Records, admission of an applicant as Classified status or Conditionally Classified status, or decline admission. Applicants who are recommended admission will be notified by email to the address specified in the department application. The letter will describe the status the applicant is recommended to be admitted as (Classified or Conditionally classified), a list of conditions required for Classified Status if necessary, and identify an academic advisor. The student's advisor will also receive a copy of this letter.

The Department of Biology requires:

1. Submission of a Biology Department Graduate Program Application by the appropriate deadline.

Fall Semester application deadline: March 15th

Spring Semester application deadline: October 15th

This is a separate application to the application to the University Office of Admission and Records. Both applicaitons must be received by the above deadlines.

2. Consent of a faculty member to serve as a research advisor. The application form requires applicants to indicate which faculty they would be interested in serving as their thesis research advisor. Faculty research interests are available on the Department of Biology Website. Faculty have various procedures for screening applicants for their research labs so it is advisable that applicants contact potential thesis advisors before applying to the department. A faculty member in the Department of Biology must be willing to accept a student into their research lab before the Department can accept a student into the program even if the applicant meets all of the other admission requirements.

3. Demonstrated proficiency in basic biology. This can be met by demonstrating one of the following:

    1. An undergraduate degree in Biology with a cumulative GPA at or above 3.0
    2. A Biology Subject GRE score at or above the 50th percentile. This exam is offered infrequently so check exam schedules at


4. Achieving a General Record Examination (GRE) score at or above the 50th percentile in any one of the three sections (Analytical, Quantitative, or Verbal) of the exam. Registration and scheduling of exams can be done through

5. International Students whose native language is not English must meet the University's minimum language requirements (see above).