Graduate Program

Graduate students in the Master of Science program in Biology at Humboldt State can choose to pursue investigations or projects with an emphasis in the laboratory, forests, marine habitats, or a variety of other settings.

This northernmost campus of the California State University is surrounded by ancient redwood forests, fir and pine forests, nearby marine and freshwater habitats, and is within easy driving distance of many national, state, and regional parks. Students can study living processes at all levels, from cellular-molecular to ecosystems. Those interested in an education focus may pursue projects in the form of a book, film or digital media, or curricular resources for educators.

Our graduate program is part of the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), allowing students from the Western US states and territories to pay in-state tuition. 

Apply

To apply to our program, follow the step-by-step application instructions

For further information contact:

Dr. Paul Bourdeau
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences
paul.bourdeau@humboldt.edu

An all-encompassing laboratory

The University is surrounded by relatively untouched biological habitats that provide a wealth of challenging opportunities for study at the Master’s level by the aspiring Biologist, Botanist or Zoologist. These habitats are home to hundreds of different animals, plants, and fungi, many of which are unique to northwestern California.

The department has facilities and faculty expertise that allow Master's students to complete their programs in almost any area of biology. Laboratories on the main campus are equipped for biotechnology, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, mammalogy, genetic analysis (including DNA sequencing), and computer modeling. Field opportunities include the marine laboratory 14 miles from the main campus, a university forest, and a 90-ft ocean going research vessel, RV Coral Sea.

With a strong emphasis now being placed on the training of secondary school teachers in California, an M. S. Degree in Biological Sciences can be combined with a California Teaching Credential for increased depth of learning and job preparation that will allow graduates to compete for jobs on both the national and international level.

Program highlights

Currently, the Biological Sciences Graduate Program has approximately 58 actively enrolled students. Students begin their program by taking both required courses and courses specifically in their area of thesis research. A total of 30 units at the upper-division and graduate level are required to complete the program. Most students complete their Master’s program in two years, but completion in one year is possible under exceptional circumstances. Some areas of study may require a longer period of enrollment depending on the complexity of study and data availability. A written thesis and oral thesis defense is also required to complete the degree.

Each Graduate Student accepted into the program automatically becomes a member of the Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA). The Association actively participates with the Department is sponsoring a lecture series featuring widely respected university teachers and researchers from throughout the country. Another highlight of the year is the annual mini-symposium where students, faculty, and staff alike share their research interests with informative presentations. A spirit of both social and intellectual interaction is fostered each fall semester by a traditional potluck BBQ where students, staff, and faculty join together for an evening of relaxation and conversation.

There are a number of Teaching Associate positions available to Graduate Students through the Department of Biological Sciences. Assignments typically average teaching 1 lab (3-6 hours) each semester. There is also a fee-waiver program for 1 or 2 qualified out-of-state students per semester (depending on available University funding).

Other financial aid opportunities should be explored through the Office of Financial Aid at 707-826-4321.

Graduate Faculty

Paul Bourdeau kneeling on a large rock with bright blue background

Paul Bourdeau

Graduate Program Coordinator and Associate Professor - Marine Biology and Ecology

Sean Craig

Professor - Zoology and Marine Biology

Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler

Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler

Assistant Professor - Microbiology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Ecology

Website

Dawn Goley

Professor - Zoology and Marine Biology

Terry Henkel

Terry Henkel

Professor - Botany

Erik Jules

Erik S. Jules

Professor - Botany and Ecology

Karen Kiemnec-Tyburczy

Karen Kiemnec-Tyburczy

Assistant Professor - Cellular and Molecular Biology and Zoology

Sharyn B. Marks with a white bird on her hand

Sharyn B. Marks

Professor - Zoology

John Reiss

John O. Reiss

Professor - Zoology

Frank J. Shaughnessy

Frank J. Shaughnessy

Professor - Botany and Marine Biology

Amy Sprowles bio photo

Amy Sprowles

Department Chair and Associate Professor - Cellular and Molecular Biology

Joe Szewczak

Joe Szewczak

Professor - Zoology

Mihai Tomescu

Mihai Tomescu

Professor - Botany

Joe Tybruczy

Joe Tyburczy

Adjunct Professor-Marine Biology

Oscar Vargas

Oscar Vargas

Assistant Professor Botany

Jeffrey White

Jeffrey White

Professor - Botany | Biogeography | Science Education

Mark Wilson

Professor - Microbiology and Cellular and Molecular Biology

I am broadly interested in the use of molecular genetics to address environmental questions, particularly questions concerning microbial ecology and diversity. This includes gene biogeography, gene expression, enzyme activity, microscale localization, physiological analyses, and genetic characterization of individual cells and populations in field sites. I am interested in interdisciplinary studies, for example with ecologists, civil / environmental engineers and analytical chemists who are applying biological technologies to environmental problems. I am also interested in the characterization of interesting microbial isolates.

Jianmin Zhong

Jianmin Zhong

Professor - Microbiology and Cellular and Molecular Biology