Contiguous BS/MA Path

The Contiguous Bachelor’s/Master’s Path in EEB provides highly motivated undergraduate majors the opportunity to earn separate Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in as little as five years. This path provides the additional level of preparation and experience that students need to pursue careers in industry, government, or to increase their competitiveness for top PhD programs.


Are you a UCSC undergraduate doing undergraduate thesis research with an EEB advisor or co-advisor?

Ask your thesis advisor if they would recommend you to this program, and if they agree to continue serving as your Master’s advisor or co-advisor.

Students applying to this program will either be completing an EEB degree (i.e. Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Marine Biology or Plant Science) or completing an undergraduate degree in a related field and have completed and done well in the EEB coursework relevant to their proposed research.


Applications to this degree program are completed in a two-step process.

In spring of the undergraduates’ junior year, they will complete the EEB department application form as described in the checklist below. If approved for the Fifth-Year Contiguous Bachelor’s/Master’s Path, students will go through the regular EEB Master’s Program application process in fall of their senior year. The criteria for admission to the EEB Master’s Program will be the same as for all EEB Master’s Program applicants. Significant progress on the thesis research project combined with an excellent academic track record will indicate the preparedness of the student to undertake this accelerated Masters program.

 Please contact Judy Straub; if you have questions about this path or process. 

 Checklist for Bachelor’s/Masters students

1. Read the program information on the Five-Year Contiguous Bachelor’s/Master’s Path website, including requirements and deadline

2. To be able to take advantage of this program, by the middle of your junior year you will need to have found an EEB ladder rank faculty advisor or co-advisor with whom you will design and complete your research project. At this point the research project may develop either into an undergraduate senior thesis project or a Master’s research project

3. By spring of the junior year, complete your EEB department application for consideration to apply to the contiguous BS/MA program. This must include:

  1. a letter from a ladder rank faculty in EEB who agrees to be your Master’s advisor or co-advisor
  2. a brief description of your planned research
  3. a curricular plan that has been reviewed by your proposed EEB faculty advisor and any other proposed faculty co-advisors, Biology Advising (or the appropriate advising for your undergraduate major at UCSC) and the EEB Graduate Program Coordinator to ensure you can complete all coursework required for both degrees in five years

4. In Fall quarter of your senior year, apply for admission through the UCSC Graduate Division portal to the Five-Year Contiguous Master’s Path only if you and your advisor consider that the research project has the potential to develop into a Master’s research thesis (due date Dec. 10).

  1. The statement of purpose must include proposed research plan for your Master’s thesis
  2. Additional materials will include a letter of recommendation from a ladder rank EEB faculty advisor or co-advisor stating that they approve this plan and agree to serve as your advisor or co-advisor for your Master’s research and thesis.

5. By end of senior year, complete all requirements for your Bachelor’s degree from UCSC and submit an undergraduate thesis, which includes a section on your proposed research extension (for the Master’s thesis), following the same guidelines as the existing Two-Year Master’s Program. This must be read and approved by your EEB ladder rank faculty advisor or co-advisor as well as any other co-advisors and Master’s committee members. Recommendation: enroll in a graduate level class during Winter or Spring quarter of your fourth year and also attend EEB graduate seminars (BIOE 294).


6. During the fifth (Masters) year, complete the graduate course and seminar requirements AND your Master’s thesis.

  1. Courses: You will be enrolled in BIOE200A, BIOE200B, BIOE279 and the research seminars BIOE203 and 215 to complete 20 credits as required by the Masters degree.

  2. Establish a Masters thesis committee consisting of your research advisor (chair) plus two other ladder rank faculty

  3. Spring: By the beginning of April of your fifth year (at the latest), provide your advisor with a complete draft of your thesis. This allows time for you and your advisor to revise the thesis prior to giving it to the other thesis committee members. 

  4. Masters Thesis/ Masters Thesis Defense
    1. By the beginning of April of your fifth year (at the latest), provide your advisor with a complete draft of your thesis. This allows time for you and your advisor to revise the thesis prior to giving it to the other thesis committee members.
    2. Schedule your defense and public seminar with your Master’s thesis committee members through the departmental Graduate Coordinator.
    3. By the beginning of May (at the latest), email the thesis to your other thesis committee members.
    4. Submit the final version of your Master’s thesis and complete your final appointment with the Graduate Division.
If a student completes their UCSC Bachelor’s degree and is admitted to the Five-Year Contiguous Bachelor’s/Master’s Path, but does not successfully complete all requirements expected for this program, then they would revert to the existing Two-Year Master’s Program requirements. They must remain in good standing in the program and follow all existing guidelines of the Two-Year Master’s Program. The baseline assumption is that students admitted to the Five-Year Contiguous Bachelor’s/Master’s Path will be self-funded throughout their enrollment in the Master’s Program.