Prospective Graduate Students

Fall 2021 Application Deadline: April 1, 2021
Fall 2021 Documents Deadline: April 20, 2021


Spring 2022 Application Deadline: October 1, 2021

Spring 2022 Documents Deadline: October 20, 2021

Link to Cal State Apply


Descriptions of Masters Programs (click here)


Course Descriptions (click here)


Application Procedure

Minimum requirements for admission into graduate level programs at San Jose State University are described at the Graduate Admission and Program Evaluation (GAPE) website, as well as in the individual descriptions of our Masters Programs in the catalog (see link above). Applicants must apply to the university through Cal State Apply. In addition, applicants must submit to the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Biological Sciences, a short personal statement, 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. The faculty member accepting the student must submit to the Graduate Coordinator a signed Faculty Acceptance form (see below). Forms submitted by the applicant will not be accepted. Applicants are responsible for contacting tenured or tenure-track faculty members to ensure acceptance.

Personal Statement

  • In no more than 500 words, address the following prompts:
    1. Why do you want a Master’s degree from the SJSU Department of Biological Sciences?
    2. What is your career goal, and how will a Master’s degree from SJSU help you to achieve that goal?
    3. Please indicate 1-3 tenured or tenure-track faculty that you would be interested in working with for your Master’s degree, if accepted.
  • This statement must be submitted by e-mail to the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Coordinator (

Letters of Recommendation

  • Two are required. More than two can be submitted if you have more than two referees.
  • These letters should be written by people who can evaluate your potential to succeed in a graduate program.
  • Electronic submission of letters of recommendation is required: Signed recommendations should be included as PDF file attachments in an email sent by the recommender to the Department of Biological Science Graduate Coordinator ( Letters sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

Acceptance by Tenured or Tenure-track Faculty Member

  • In order to be admitted into any Biological Sciences graduate degree program, an applicant must be accepted by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member of the department and that faculty member will become the major advisor of the candidate (see Faculty Acceptance form).
  • Applicants have the responsibility to approach potential advisors to discuss their acceptance to the program. Students who are not accepted by a major advisor will not be accepted into the program.

Acceptance Classifications

  • Students may be accepted conditionally or as classified.
  • 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. Students with conditional status are not eligible for teaching assistant positions.
  • Classified acceptance means that the student has been accepted without additional requirements.   


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find more information about SJSU's application process and deadlines?

Application process for domestic applicants.

Application process for international applicants.

Where do I send my transcripts and any 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 e-mail my Statement of Purpose, and who should my letters of recommendation be e-mailed to?

Department Graduate Coordinator.

What are the test score requirements?

A link to detailed test score requirements for all programs.

GRE scores are no longer required for any Master's level graduate program in Biological Sciences at SJSU.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) 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 (International English Language Testing System) Requirements
University Minimum - 7.0
Biotechnology - 8.0

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

How do I find a major advisor?

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.

What do I need to do once I am accepted by a major advisor?

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

The faculty member accepting the student should submit the completed Faculty Acceptance Form (electronically) to the Graduate Coordinator. Forms will not be accepted from applicants.

Where can I find information about university fees, financial aid, and other potential funding opportunities for graduate students?

Visit GAPE to find information about student fees, SJSU financial aid, and some possible funding sources. More information about Biological Sciences Department funding resources.