Source: Nicole Yamase

Graduation Requirements




MS Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 total credits* is required, maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA, with grades of B or better in each course.

  • At least 18 credits of graduate-level formal coursework (non-MBIO 699/700, of which up to 4 credits can come from 1-unit seminar courses)
  • At least 6 credits of MBIO 700/700F Thesis Research
  • up to 6 credits of MBIO 699 Directed Research

  • Completion of both core courses within the first year of enrollment: MBIO 603 (Fall) and MBIO 604 (Spring). (In 2021, a new course MBIO 600, was introduced as the required core course, replacing MBO 603 and MBIO 604)
  • TWO courses from the approved MBGP Content/Subject Courses list
  • ONE Statistics or Biometry course
  • A minimum of ONE Graduate Seminar in the graduate program or in a related program.
  • Students entering Fall 2020 and later: Minimum of one 1-credit seminar (or other classroom course) per academic year
  • 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


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 (18 credits of formal/classroom courses, of which up to 4 credits can come from 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). (In 2021, a new course MBIO 600, was introduced as the required core course, replacing MBO 603 and MBIO 604)
  • TWO courses among the approved MBGP Content/Subject Courses list (See the Handbook)
  • ONE Statistics or Biometry course
  • Students entering Fall 2020 and later: Minimum of one 1-credit seminar (or other classroom course) per academic year
  • Teaching experience equivalent to (or exceeding) one semester as a Teaching Assistant for a 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


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). (In 2021, a new course MBIO 600, was introduced as the required core course, replacing MBO 603 and MBIO 604)
  • Students entering Fall 2020 and later: Minimum of one 1-credit seminar (or other classroom course) per academic year
  • Teaching experience equivalent to (or exceeding) one semester as a Teaching Assistant for a course
  • Successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Exam
  • At least 1 credit of MBIO 800 in the final semester
  • Dissertation & Final Defense**


Minimum Required Courses for Graduation

Core courses are required of ALL students.
Curriculum courses are required for MS students and PhD students who did not enter with 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
  • In Fall 2021, MBIO 600 started to be the core course

Content/subject Courses: TWO of the following required for MS and PhD without an MS:

  • see the Handbook for the latest list of content/Subject courses

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

  • MBIO 612
  • 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)

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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