Classification Status

Graduate Students are admitted to the University in either of the following two Classifications:

1. Classified Status: An applicant that meets all of the admission requirements for the University and the Department may be admitted in Classified Graduate status.  The University requires student to be in Classified Graduate status before graduation.  Classified students are eligible for university, college, and department awards and scholarships and have priority in assignment of Teaching Associate and Graduate Assistant positions in the department.

2. Conditionally Classified Status: An applicant that does not meet all of the admission requirements may be admitted in Conditionally Classified Graduate status.  The conditions for Classified status will be described in the admission letter from the Graduate Coordinator.  These conditions must be met prior to completing 12 units of coursework.  No more than 12 units of coursework taken prior to becoming Classified will be applied to the graduate program.  It is the responsibility of the student to notify the graduate coordinator when these conditions have been met and to complete the necessary “Request for Classification” form available in the Department of Biology office.  

Students admitted into the Biology Graduate Program must attain Classified Status before completing 12 units of coursework towards their program.

Requirements for admission to Classified Status are:

  1. 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. This is required of all students entering the biology graduate program. 
  2. Demonstrate Writing Proficiency by either 1. Achieving a score of 3.0 or better on the Analytical section of the GRE; or 2. Achieving a score of 8 or better in the CSUN Upper Division Writing Proficiency Examination or another CSU UDWPE.  Students who have taken this exam during their undergraduate program at a CSU are not required to retake this exam.  Information and scheduling of this exam are available at  This exam is usually offered 2 to 3 times per semester. 
  3. On rare occassion, students may be admitted into the Biology Graduate Program with a GPA less than 3.0 but will still need to demonstrate proficiency in biology by taking the biology subject GRE and achieving a score in the top 50th percentile.  This exam is offered infrequently so plan ahead accordingly.  Students must aim to take this exam during their first semester. 
  4. Completion of any prerequisite coursework specified by the Biology Graduate Committee upon admission (often these are BIOL322, 360, 380, CHEM 235 etc).
  5. Submission of a Request for Classification from approved by the Biology Graduate Coordinator.  This form is available in the Biology Department office.