MS in Biology

MS in Biology, specializing in the Ecology and Evolution of Medicine


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.

Course Requirements

Students must be enrolled full time and complete a minimum of 36 units (nine courses) of graduate (200 or 500 series) and/or upper division (100 series) course work for the master’s degree. Within this overall requirement, students must complete 20 units (five courses) 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 one advanced quantitative course (100 or 200 series) in statistics, biomathematics, or bioinformatics. Students must also complete one advanced course (100 or 200 series) in ecology, evolution, or behavior. The guidance committee establishes other specific course recommendations individually for each student.

Students pursuing the ecology and evolution of medicine track must take 185 and 186 (which can be used to meet the advanced quantitative course requirement).

Capstone Plan

All students must complete a capstone project at the end of the first year in residence. The capstone project consists of a first-year literature review and research proposal that, combined, is four to five pages in length. The first version of the proposal must be submitted to the student’s advisory committee for comment by the first week of spring quarter. A final version of the proposal, which should incorporate the advisory committee’s comments, 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 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.

Doctoral students may pursue the thesis plan only if they have not passed their doctoral qualifying exams and have been approved to transfer to the M.S. program. Before beginning work on the thesis, students must obtain approval of the subject and general plan from the master’s thesis committee, which consists of three faculty. The thesis must be prepared in accordance with University formatting requirements in UCLA Policies and Procedures for Thesis Dissertation and Filing, available on the Graduate Division website. The completed thesis is presented to the thesis committee for approval.


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

M.S. 6 6 12