BS / MS Contiguous Program

Contiguous Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Program

The program leading to a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Master of Science (MS) is offered to undergraduate students who are enrolled in majors within the Scripps Institution of Oceanography department or related fields.  It is open only to UC San Diego undergraduates, and entails participation in research in an area to be determined jointly by the student and a committee of faculty members from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Available program areas:

Earth Sciences 

  • Open to current UC San Diego undergraduates in the Earth Sciences major and to qualified students who are completing a specialization or minor in earth sciences.

Marine Biology

  • Open to current UC San Diego undergraduate in any of the following biology–related majors or minors (1) Marine Biology major, (2) any one of the eight Biology majors in the Division of Biological Sciences, (3) Environmental Systems major in the Ecology/Behavior/Evolution track, or (4) Biology minor. 

Applications will only be accepted during the final quarter of the applicant’s junior year, or the first or second quarter of the senior year. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.3 in upper-division major coursework is required for admission. Applications must include a written statement of purpose, a summary of the research proposal, and a letter of support from the potential MS thesis adviser. Students must complete requirements for the BS before they are enrolled in the MS program and are expected to meet the requirements for the MS within three consecutive academic quarters after obtaining the BS. Students are expected to begin their MS portion of the program in the academic term immediately following the completion of their undergraduate degree.

Requirements for completing the MS degree:

  • At least 24 units of course work
    1. 12 units graduate level course work in the major field (for letter grade only).
    2. 6 units of SIO 228 for letter grade only (2 units per quarter - SIO 228 is a special research seminar for MS students).
    3. At least 6 units of additional coursework (graduate or upper-division courses)
  • 12 units of research units (SIO 299) leading to a Master’s thesis.
  • Completion of a thesis, with an oral presentation to, and approval of, a three-member thesis committee.  A student may have any regular faculty at UC San Diego or any adjunct faculty as their advisor and chair of their thesis committee.  The thesis committee must contain at least two regular faculty from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography from within the student's disciplinary home.  No more than one adjunct faculty can serve on the committee.

Note: The BS/MS program is an option for UCSD undergraduates that both want to pursue a thesis-based Master's at Scripps and meet the specific application qualifications.  UCSD students are also eligible to apply to a stand-alone MS degree at Scripps through the standard application process.  In the stand-alone MS program, students can choose the Plan I-Thesis or the Plan II – Comprehensive Examination option.  

Students may be dropped from the program if breaks in enrollment occur. The Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography does not have financial aid available for students enrolled in the contiguous BS/MS program. Please contact the undergraduate education program office for information.