Advising for Graduate Students


Prospective Students


Where do I send my transcripts and test score requirements?

IMPORTANT: Please send your transcripts to the attention of Graduate Admissions.

Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations
Student Services Center
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0017

Please put your SJSU student ID on any documentation you send to Graduate Admissions whenever possible.

Where should I mail my letters of recommendation or Statement of Purpose?

Shannon Bros, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0100

Test Score Requirements: GRE, TOEFL, and more

A link to a detailed requirements for all programs.

Required if undergraduate degree is not from an accredited U.S./Canadian university. All applicants in the Molecular Biology and Microbiology concentration must submit general test scores and Advanced Subject Test scores in Biology or Molecular Biology.

TOEFL requirement

The English language proficiency exam requirement is waived only if the student has recieved a Bachelor's or Master's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or has completed 3 years full-time school in a U.S. institution.

University Minimum - 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based), 80 (internet based)
Biotechnology - 250 (computer based), 100 (internet based)

IELTS Requirements
University Minimum - 7.0
Biotechnology - 8.0

The Pearson Test of English may also be taken to satisfy the English requirement.

How to find a major adviser?

In regards to contacting appropriate graduate coordinators- you should make a decision about which faculty to contact based on their research interests as listed on the Department of Biological Science's web page. Once you see areas of research that interest you you can click on the link to that particular faculty member's web site, then read more about them and their research. Any professors with the acronym FERP under their name indicates that they are in the process of retiring and will not be accepting graduate students.

It is up to YOU to contact any faculty members that seem an appropriate match for your research interests. Faculty members each make their own decisions about when they will accept grad students and this decision is most often based on personal interactions/conversations/interviews with applicants who have contacted them.


Students are accepted as Classified or Conditionally Classified graduate students as specified by the major professor and listed on the Faculty Acceptance form.

You can find the link to the Faculty Acceptance form here.

The student should take this completed form and any attachments to the department office where copies will be made and forwarded to the student, the major adviser and the graduate coordinator.

Financial Resources for Graduate Students in Biological Sciences

University Office of Financial Aid

  • Student grants, loans and scholarships

  • (408)924-6100

Office of Graduate Studies and Research

  • SJSU and CSU research awards

  • (408) 924-2480

Department of Biological Sciences

  • Research awards, scholarships and graduate teaching associateships

  • (408) 924-4900

Graduate Teaching Associateships
    • Animal Biology (2-4 per semester)

    • Plant Biology (2-4 per semester)

    • Computer Literacy in Biology (2-4 per semester)

    • Human Biology (5-10 per semester)

    • Cell Biology (2-4 per semester)

    • Microbiology (5-10 per semester)

    • Human Anatomy (4-8 per semester)

    • Human Physiology (8-10 per semester)


Current Students


Classified to a Classified Graduate Student

Must fill out the Graduate Admissions and Evaluations form Change in Classification in Master's Program form You must be a Classified Graduate Student in order to advance to Candidacy.

When filling out the Change in Classification form you must:

  • Meet the “conditions” set by the graduate student's Major Adviser at the time of admission.

  • For example, MS Physiology and MS Molecular and Microbiology must take the GRE and the subject GRE in order to be classified, since this is a requirement for admissions. You cannot be a “classified” graduate student in one of these major unless the GRE is completed (even though you are already admitted).

  • Have your Major Adviser sign your classification form.

  • Bring the signed form to the Graduate Coordinator, who will also sign-off and forward the form to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations office.

When should I submit a candidacy form?

Must submit a candidacy form the semester before you are planning to graduate. Candidacy and Graduation Deadlines

When filling out the Candidacy form:

  • You must be a “Classified” graduate student (see above), with a GPA or at least 3.0, and have a minimum of 9 graded units of 100-level or 200-level courses completed.

  • After completion of Written Competency by taking Biology 202. In order to submit and receive an approved candidacy form, you must be done with Biology 202 and have a grade for the class. Otherwise, GAPE will NOT approve your candidacy form and you will have to re-submit the form once you have a grade for the class.

  • A total of 30 units only should be listed and of those:

    • ≥15 units should be graduate level (course numbers 200 and above)

    • ≥18 units should be graded courses

    • Biol 201 (1 unit required, list 2 semesters at 0.5 unit/each semester)

    • Biol 202 is required. Also list Biol 202 in the upper right hand corner box where the form asks for Competency in Written English (Course and Semester Completed). So you would fill that box in with Biol 202 and the semester you took the class.

    • Electives, should include at least one Biol 255 class.

    • Only 6 units can be from special session (e.g., Open University, 2nd Bachelors, or transfer).

    • Biol 298 and 299, M.S. Students only, can have a total of Biol 298 & 299 ≤ 6 units, required to have at least 1 unit of 299.

    • Biol 284, M.A. Students only, can have a total of Biol 284 & 280 units ≤ 6 units, required to have 1 unit of Biol 284.

    • After filling out the candidacy form, have your Major Adviser sign and date.

    • Bring the signed form to the Graduate Coordinator or leave it in their mailbox for a final check-off and forwarding to Graduate Programs and Evaluations office.

After submitting a completed Candidacy form, you will receive further instructions from Graduate Programs and Evaluations on the next steps towards graduation.

When should I submit an Application for Award of Master's Degree?