Source: Nicole Yamase

Graduation Requirements



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MS Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 total credits* is required, maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.

At least 18 credits of graduate-level course work (14 credits of formal courses and up to 4 credits of 1-unit seminar courses) and between 6 to 12 credits of Research (699) or Thesis (700) work (at least 6 credits must be from 700/700F)


  • Completion of both core courses within the first year of enrollment: MBIO 603 (Fall) and MBIO 604 (Spring)
  • TWO courses from the approved MBGP Courses list
  • ONE Statistics or Biometry course
  • A minimum of ONE Graduate Seminar in the graduate program or in a related program.
  • Credits for 699 and 700: A minimum of 6 credits of MBIO 700/700F (but also a maximum of 6 credits from 699 and 6 credits from 700, for a total maximum of 12 credits applied toward degree requirements).**
  • Thesis Defense & Approval

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PhD Degree Requirements - Students entering with a BA/BS

A minimum of 30 total credits* is required, maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.

At least 18 credits of graduate-level course work (14 credits of formal courses and up to 4 credits of 1-unit seminar courses) and between 6 to 12 credits of Research (699) or Dissertation (800) work.

  • Completion of both core courses within the first year of enrollment: MBIO 603 (Fall) and MBIO 604 (Spring).
  • TWO courses among the approved MBGP Courses
  • ONE Statistics or Biometry course
  • Successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Exam
  • Credits for 699 and 800: A maximum of 6 credits from 699 and 6 credits from 800, for a total maximum of 12 credits applied toward degree requirements.**
  • Dissertation and Final Defense

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PhD Degree Requirements - Students Entering with a MS degree (or equivalent) in Life Sciences

Students entering the program with a MS degree are required to take course work as prescribed by their Interim and/or Dissertation Committee.

  • Completion of both core courses within the first year of enrollment: MBIO 603 (Fall) and MBIO 604 (Spring).
  • Successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Exam
  • Dissertation & Final Defense**

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Minimum Required Courses for Graduation

Core courses are required of ALL students.
Curriculum courses are required for MS Students and PhD without a prior MS.

Core Courses: Required for ALL Students

  • MBIO 603 Professional Development for Marine Biologists (1 unit) - Fall Semester
  • MBIO 604 Introduction to MBGP Faculty (1 unit) - Spring Semester

Curriculum Courses: TWO of the following required for MS and PhD without an MS:

  • OCN 626 Marine Microplankton Ecology (4)
  • OCN 627 Ecology of Pelagic Marine Animals (4)
  • OCN 628 Benthic Biological Oceanography (4)
  • MBIO 715 Marine Conservation Biology (1-3)
  • BOT 682 & 682L Physiological Ecology of Marine Plants (4)

Statistics Course: ONE of the following required for MS and PhD without a prior MS:

  • ZOOL 631 Biometry (4) or ZOOL 632 Advanced Biometry (4)
  • OCN 682 Intro to Programming and Statistics in R (3), or OCN 683 Advanced Statistics in R (3)
  • BOT 660 Ecological Statistics with R

Annual Requirements

ALL students must complete the following annual requirements.

Thesis/Dissertation Committee Meeting

All students are required to meet with their committee members at least once per year academic year. Students who have not yet formed their committee will meet with their assigned Interim committee members. After the meeting, submit a complete and signed Committee Meeting Report form to the Program Coordinator in person or via email.

Progress Report

All students, with the exception of those just admitted in August, are required to submit a yearly progress report to their advisor and committee members by September 1.

Research Presentation

After the 4th semester, all students must make an annual public presentation on their thesis or dissertation research.

A grade of B or better MUST be earned in all courses that you plan on counting towards graduation requirements.

*Note: Only credits earned with required letter grades may be applied toward a graduate degree, with the following exceptions:

  • Credits earned for courses offering ONLY the CR/NC option in the course catalog (i.e., not whether the instructor chooses to offer their section of the course CR/NC)
  • 699 credits earned with the CR designation
  • MBIO 700 and MBIO 800 are only offered on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis

For additional details, see the Graduate Division's policies regarding course applicability.

**Students MUST be enrolled in 700/700F (Thesis) or 800 (Dissertation) during the semester of graduation.

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