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Department of Biological Sciences
Science Building, Room 338
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7537
(509) 963-2731

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Biological Sciences Combined BS/MS Pathway

Join the CWU Biological Sciences Research Community

The Biological Sciences Combined BS/MS Pathway is an accelerated Master of Science degree track in which you conduct research and take graduate courses in the last year of your undergraduate biology degree, followed by one year of graduate courses and research to complete your thesis. See Biology Graduate Program for more information on the master's program.

Apply to the BS/MS Pathway  


Graduate Student Aaron Valdez smiles for the camera as he works in the lab 

"Undergraduate research has given me a great opportunity to grow as a scientist, and has deepened my knowledge about the scientific process.
Undergraduate research has expanded upon my laboratory skills, by allowing me to do techniques I have not been exposed to previously. Research has also taught me that progress is not always linear!" 
-- Aaron Valdez, Biology Master's Student


Program Requirements and Expectations

You should consider this program if you are interested in pursuing an MS degree and you have research experience or are beginning a research project as an undergraduate. Your CWU undergraduate degree must be in biology or a closely related field (see specific specific requirements of the Master of Science in Biology degree). You must have the GPA (3.0 or higher) and the drive to take on an accelerated MS program. 

You will need to take graduate level courses and begin your thesis research while you are an undergraduate. During your final undergraduate year, you will need to have a mentor willing to serve as the chair of your thesis committee.  You will need to begin your thesis research and you must take both BIOL501 (fall) and BIOL502 (winter). Additionally, you will need to apply and get admitted to the Biology MS program.


Pathway Benefits

  • Begin working towards your MS during the final year of your bachelor's degree.
  • Save time and money:
    • Pay undergraduate tuition and use financial aid while taking graduate courses during your senior year.
    • Obtain a MS with one additional year beyond your bachelor's degree.
  • Strengthen your application for professional schools (medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, and/or Ph.D. programs).
  • Develop in-depth knowledge and research skills to advance in your field.
  • Expand your job opportunities and increase your earning potential.
  • Enhance your professional network.
  • Present scientific research.


BS/MS Pathway Timeline

Junior Year:

Senior Year:

  • Enroll in BIOL 501 (2 cr., Fall Qtr).
  • Enroll in BIOL 502 (2 cr., Winter Qtr).
  • Enroll in up to 11 other credits of 400/500-level biology courses.
  • Take up to 15 credits as an undergraduate that can be applied to your master's degree.  Discuss with the Graduate Program Coordinator, how many (if any) of these credits may also count toward your undergraduate degree.
  • Apply to the master's program before the Feb.1 deadline.
  • Apply for a graduate assistantship to provide funding and stipend for master’s year (Feb. 1). Eligibility for CWU Graduate Assistantship requires a GPA of at least 3.0 during the last 90 credits of your BS degree.
  • Apply for a Graduate Student Summer Fellowship (due in April) to help fund your graduate research.

​​Summer After Graduating With Your BS

  • Spend summer working on your graduate research project.

Graduate Year

  • Complete remaining graduate coursework and complete MS research/thesis (45 credits total).



Please Contact:

Dr. Gabe Stryker, Coordinator
CWU Biology Graduate Program 
Department of Biological Sciences
Central Washington University
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7537

(509) 963-2721

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