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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

Accelerated Bachelor's/Graduate Study in Biological Sciences (M.S.)

Continue your University education and research experience one more year, and earn a Masters Degree (M.S.) in Biological Science.

This program is specifically for USC Undergraduates who have completed 90 hours of course credit and have at least a 3.4 cumulative GPA.  It is best suited for students already actively involved doing undergraduate research in a Biology professor's laboratory, and who would like to extend their research experience an additional year past their Bachelor's degree and earn a Master of Science Degree (M.S.).  If interested, you should discuss this option with your research professor.

How it works:

1. You identify 12 upper level credits (500+) you wish to double count towards both a Bachelor's and Master's degree.  To do this, you submit two forms to the USC Graduate School:

   Form 1: Course Work Authorization. (
   Form 2: Plan Authorization. (

 2. You fill out a normal application for the Biology Graduate program, specifying the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Graduate Study in Biological Sciences as your program, and identifying your proposed professor/mentor.  Your professor/mentor must also submit a letter supporting your application.  It is advisable that you and your professor/mentor discuss your plans with the Biology Graduate Director.  Application information is available at:

 3. If accepted, you participate in the Biological Sciences Graduate program along with other graduate students, and under the supervision of your major professor/mentor you conduct a research project and write and defend a Master's Thesis.  You must register for classes, and complete a total of 30 credits, including those you identified to the Graduate School.  These course credits can include Research (Biol 758, 798) and Thesis Preparation (Biol 799).  Specifics of the Biology M.S. program are detailed in the "Biology Graduate Handbook". 

Financial Support.  
There is no guaranteed support for students in this program.  Nevertheless, students in this program are eligible for teaching assistant and research assistant support on a term-by-term basis if such support is available.  You should discuss these possibilities with your prospective professor/mentor and with the Graduate Director.  

In the absence of financial support, the Accelerated Bachelor's/Graduate Studies program should be viewed as an opportunity for you to gain quality research experience at the graduate level, and  earn a M.S. degree.  A successful graduate research experience greatly enhances your prospects for admission into a competitive graduate program or strengthens your prospects for admission to medical school.  The program also serves as a valuable transition year, allowing you to refocus your interests and goals to your post graduate life.