Master's Degree

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The EEB Graduate Handbook is available here


All academic affairs for graduate students in the department are directed by the departmental graduate adviser who is assisted by the administrative staff of the Graduate Division. The graduate adviser establishes, at the time of admission to graduate study, a guidance committee for each student that consists of three faculty members for each student.

The chair of the guidance committee acts as the provisional adviser until a permanent adviser is selected. Service as a provisional adviser is designed to be provisional for both professor and student. It does not commit the professor to supervise the thesis, nor does it commit the student to a provisional adviser. The provisional adviser serves in an advisory capacity until a permanent adviser is found and the master's examination or thesis committee is established.

Areas of Study

Study consists of course work and research within the department and within related programs in biochemistry, geology, microbiology, and molecular biology on campus. Opportunities are also available off-campus for intensive study of marine biology at a marine science center in fall quarter, of field biology in spring quarter, and of tropical biology through courses offered by the Organization for Tropical Studies.

In addition, students have the opportunity to specialize in the ecology and evolution of medicine.

Course Requirements

Students must be enrolled full time and complete a minimum of 36 units of graduate (200 or 500 series) or upper division (100 series) course work for the master's degree. Within this overall requirement, students must complete 20 units at the graduate level for a letter grade. Of these 20 required graduate units, 16 must be in the 200 series and 4 may be in the 200 or 500 series. Students must complete an advance quantitative course (100 or 200 series) in statistics, biomathematics, or bioinformatics. The guidance committee establishes other specific course requirements individually for each student.

Students pursuing the ecology and evolution of medicine track must take 185 and 186 (which can replace the quantitative requirement). It is recommended that students complete at least two courses selected from M200A, 200B, and 200C.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Capstone Plan

Students are expected to pass a two-part Departmental Written Qualifying Examination during their first year in residence. For Part I, students must demonstrate breadth of understanding (conceptual and synthetic) of the diversity of specialized subjects within integrative biology through a written assignment or exam as part of a passing grade for one of the three courses: M200A, 200B, and 200C. For Part II, students must submit a first-year literature review and research proposal that is four to five pages in length. The first draft of the proposal must be submitted to the student's advisory committee for comment by the end of winter quarter. A final draft of the proposal must be submitted to the advisory committee in the eighth week of spring quarter. The advisory committee evaluates and grades the proposal as pass or not pass. The results from Parts I and II are forwarded to the graduate adviser.

Thesis Plan

Every master's degree thesis plan requires the completion of an approved thesis that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research.


The normative time-to-degree for the master's degree is six quarters.

M.S. 6 6 12