Dec 03, 2020  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Academic Catalog

Biological Sciences, Physiology Concentration, MS


The master’s program in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Physiology, offered by the Department of Biological Sciences , offers students training in the pursuit of rigorous scientific investigation with an emphasis on the integrative nature of physiology across levels of organization from molecule to organism. During their research experience, students acquire the skills necessary to successfully address a variety of research questions under the guidance of faculty.

In addition, students with our degree will have gained experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, research methodology (e.g., experimental design, sampling techniques, and analysis), and both written and oral communication. Our alumni are successful applicants for doctoral degree programs and generally attain high level academic and non-academic positions in both the private and public sectors.

For more information visit: www.sjsu.edu/biology.

Admissions Requirements

Candidates must meet all the university admission requirements .

In addition, applicants must submit to the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Biological Sciences a 1-2 page personal statement that includes the following sections: an explanation of why the student wants to earn an MS or MA, their long-term goals and how the degree will help facilitate those goals, the names of up to three tenured or tenure-track faculty members whose research interests them, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants must also be accepted by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences prior to acceptance by the program. It is the student’s responsibility to contact any potential faculty advisors. For complete details on the student approval process, please visit www.sjsu.edu/biology/graduate-programs/prospective-ms-students.

Students can be admitted in either classified or conditionally classified standing. Conditional acceptance means that the candidate must fulfill specific requirements in order to be eligible to apply for advancement to candidacy. These conditions will be stipulated as part of the acceptance agreement between the faculty adviser and the applicant. Failure to fulfill these requirements will result in disqualification from the program.

Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE.

Requirements for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy

Each semester, students should consult with their graduate advisor to develop a schedule of courses. Students admitted as conditionally classified must satisfy the requirements listed in their acceptance agreement before advancing to candidacy. Students who have achieved classified standing in the master’s degree curriculum must next advance to candidacy for the degree. A student may advance to candidacy after completing a minimum of 9 units of letter-graded work as a graduate student in 100- or 200-level courses acceptable to the department as well as fulfilling the other university requirements for advancement to candidacy , as detailed in the Graduate Policies and Procedures  section. Candidacy includes successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) , which is satisfied in this degree by the completion of BIOL 202  with a grade of “B” or better.

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements  section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures .

MS - Biological Sciences, Concentration in Physiology, Graduation Requirements

As shown below, the program consists of 30 semester units of approved work. The student consults with his or her advisor to select a thesis or project topic.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) .

A grade of ‘B’ or better in BIOL 202  will satisfy the graduate competency in writing requirement.

Culminating Experience Requirements

Plan A (Thesis)

Thesis: The thesis must meet university requirements as stipulated in this catalog and in the SJSU Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines. It will be written under the guidance of the candidate’s thesis committee chair with the assistance of the thesis committee. The MS thesis document must be approved by the student’s thesis research committee before submission. Typically, the thesis committee will provide the candidate feedback during the Thesis Defense and may request changes to the thesis before final approval.

Oral Thesis Defense: All MS candidates are required to present a public seminar based on their research project.

Plan B (Project)

Written Project: The written project must be a manuscript describing the student’s research project, written following a professional journal’s format for submission. It will be written under the guidance of the candidate’s graduate committee chair with the assistance of their graduate committee. The manuscript must be approved by the student’s graduate committee. Typically, the committee will provide the candidate feedback during the Project Defense and may request changes to the manuscript before final approval.

Oral Project Defense: All MS candidates are required to present a public seminar based on their research project.

Master’s Requirements (30 units)


Core Courses (15 units)


Concentration Courses (9 units)


Electives (5 units)


Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

Culminating Experience (1 unit)


Complete One Option (Plan A or Plan B):

Plan A (Thesis)


Plan B (Project)


Total Units Required (30 units)


Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master’s degree is 15.

A public seminar on the thesis or project must be given.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.