Graduate Assistantship

The Biology Graduate Assistantship will provide graduate students a stipend and a tuition waiver for six credit hours in each of the two academic terms (fall and spring). It is awarded for a period not to exceed two consecutive academic years.

  1. Applicant must be a CSU student who has been fully admitted to the Biology M. S. program
  2. Applicant must have a GPA above 3.0 for his/her undergraduate biology coursework, or have been enrolled full time (defined as a minimum of six hours of biology graduate level classes per semester) with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  3. Applicants who are continuing students must have a M.S. thesis advisor. New students must identify two potential thesis advisors who have agreed to supervise the applicant’s lab activities during his/her initial semester.
  4. In addition to the Graduate School minimum requirements, applicants need to submit the following documents
    1. Application letter for Biology Graduate Assistantship
    2. Supporting letter from applicant’s thesis advisor or from the potential thesis advisors.
    3. Two recommendation letters sent directly to the Biology Department (new students only).
  5. Applicants are required to participate in an interview with the Graduate Awards Committee.
  6. The graduate students supported by this assistantship can apply for renewal once. A Personal statement and a supporting letter from applicant’s thesis advisor are required for renewal applications.

Students awarded with this assistantship need to be evaluated by the Graduate Awards Committee every semester on their academic and research progresses. New students once awarded will be required to rotate in his/her potential thesis advisors’ labs and choose a thesis advisor at the end of the initial semester. To keep the assistantship, awardees must:

  1. Provide a minimum of 20 hours of lab/field work each week as assigned by their M.S. thesis advisor or potential advisors.
  2. Complete 12 hours of graduate course work during the award period (6 credit hours per semester) with a minimum GPA of 3.00 and no grade of “C”, or the equivalent in research effort if program course load was completed.
  3. Attend at least 80% of the departmental seminars (each Monday from 4-5pm during the semesters).
  4. Join either Biology Society or Tri-Beta.
  5. Demonstrate satisfactory progress on an M.S. thesis project under the supervision of a departmental thesis advisor.
  6. Present their research work at the departmental seminar series once during each academic year of the award.

Applications are solicited in May. The announcement will be e-mailed to all admitted Biology graduate students (except those who have another form of financial support), and also published on the Department website. The hard copy of the announcement will be posted in the department office as well. There will be a deadline for receiving the completed application.

The Graduate Awards Committee will review the renewal applications first to determine which, if any, of the renewal applications will be approved for a second year of assistantship. The same committee will review new applications to fill any remaining award slots, and forward the recommendations to the Department Chairperson and the Chairperson will send out award letters by July 31.

The Graduate Awards Committee will rank all of the applications, from strongest to weakest, during the summer review session. In the event that an awardee, over the course of the award period (August 16 to May 15) declines/resigns the assistantship, or fails to fulfill the requirements of the assistantship (e.g., withdraws from classes, fails to maintain the minimum GPA, or does not work the required minimum hours in the lab or field), the assistantship will be offered to the next strongest applicant from the summer applicant pool, provided that this applicant has been/is enrolled full time, and has sustained a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the time since the initial evaluation.

Academic progress of graduate assistants is monitored by the Biology Graduate Advisors. Grades are checked at the end of every semester via Banner. The Graduate Advisor reports any problems to the Graduate Awards Committee which oversees the assistantship program in the department. The Graduate Awards Committee reports any findings to the Department Chairperson.

Research progress of graduate assistants is monitored by each student’s M.S. thesis advisor and his/her M.S. thesis committee (if it is formed). The thesis advisor and potential thesis advisors must document the hours worked by the student each week. The thesis advisor or the thesis committee reports any concerns to the Graduate Awards Committee. The Graduate Awards Committee reports any findings to the Department Chairperson.

For more information on the Graduate Assistantship please contact Dr. Lucy He at