Admission to Program

Graduate Application Package

To apply, you must submit items 1-5 (listed below) to the SSU Admissions and Records Office via CalStateApply. The application deadline in the Biology Department is January 31st for Fall Semester admission and October 31st for Spring semester admission.

  1. Complete an online University application via CalStateApply. NOTE: After you submit online, be sure to print a hardcopy to send to the Department of Biology Graduate Coordinator.
  2. Official copies of all undergraduate transcripts (send to Admissions and Records Office, Salazar Hall, Room 2030 Tel: 707-664-2778).
  3. One-to-two page Statement of Purpose detailing your background in biology, objectives for graduate school and career goals.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar your background in biology and able to comment on your potential for conducting primary research.
  5. Graduate Record Examination or GRE scores for the General Test are required. However, Biology Subject scores are recommended, but not required.

Any inquiries or questions can be directed to Dr. Derek Girman, Graduate Coordinator, Department of Biology, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Email:, Tel: 707-664-3055.

IMPORTANT: A completed application package must be received in the Admissions and Records Office, and by the Graduate Coordinator in Biology, before an applicant will be considered for admission.

Admission to the program requires:

  1. Meeting California State University admission requirements.
  2. Acceptance by a Biology faculty member (tenure-track or approved SSU adjunct faculty member) to serve as a faculty research advisor. Students should review the information on faculty members and contact them prior to completing an application.
  3. Approval of the Graduate Committee.

To be admitted to the Graduate Program in Biology an applicant must be accepted into a research program led by one of the Biology Faculty Research Advisors. For a list of Faculty Research Advisors, please visit:

All applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee. The Committee will look for evidence that the prospective studentis capable of initiating, performing and completing original research in their field of study. As a general guideline, the Committee will use following criteria to assist in determining this potential:

  1. An undergraduate degree in biology or equivalent, from an accredited institution with adequate preparation in mathematics (statistics or calculus), chemistry (general and organic), physics and
    1. Core areas in Biology required to be successful in the program such as physiology, molecular and cellular biology, ecology, and/or evolutionary biology.
  2. A 3.0 GPA or higher in the last 60 units.
  3. A score at or above the 50th percentile on each section of the General Examination of the GRE.
  4. Evidence in letters of recommendation of potential for conducting independent and original research in biology.

The application deadline in the department is January 31 for the Fall semester and October 31 for the Spring semester. The SSU Admissions and Records Office will notify students about the status of their applications.

Students will be admitted into Classified Standing. Applicants deficient in undergraduate subject preparation as outlined above will be expected to demonstrate competency in it before being advanced to candidacy.

Graduate Student Support

Graduate students in the Department of Biology are supported through a variety of sources. The Department has approximately 20 teaching assistantships available each semester and these positions are filled one semester in advance (contact the Graduate Coordinator for details). In addition, students may receive research assistantships through individual faculty members and their research grants. The University offers a limited number of tuition fee waivers for qualified teaching assistants. Students can also obtain academic scholarships as well as financial aid (usually in the form of low-interest loans).

Important SSU Offices For Applicants

Admissions and Records Office
Salazar Hall, Salz 2030 Tel: (707) 664-2778
Department of Biology
Department Office (Darwin Hall, Room 200): (707) 664-2189 (Jen Aaseth)
Department Chair (Darwin Hall, Room 219): (707) 664-3053 (Nathan Rank)
Graduate Coordinator (Darwin Hall, Room 243): (707) 664-3055 (Derek Girman)
Financial Aid Office
Salazar Hall, Salz 2050A Tel: (707) 664-2389
Graduate Studies Office
Stevenson Hall, Room 2010 Tel: (707) 664-2237
Open University/Extended Education
Stevenson Hall, Room 1012 Tel: (707) 664-2394
Scholarship Office
Salazar Hall, Salz 1072 Tel: (707) 664-2261
University Bookstore
Purchase of SSU catalogs Tel: (707) 664-2329