Available Degrees

Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in the BEST emphasis is granted to students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a broad field of learning and have given evidence of distinguished accomplishment in that field. The degree also signifies that the recipient has critical ability and powers of imaginative synthesis as demonstrated by a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in his or her chosen field of study.


  • Complete at least four semesters of full-time academic residence (12 units minimum) at UC Merced
  • Earn a passing grade in at least four graduate courses of at least three units (exclusive of research) (see section IV.D); BEST 200 and BEST 201 are both required
  • Complete all graduate courses with a letter grade of at least “B”
  • Serve as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) for at least one semester
  • Pass a qualifying oral exam
  • Present an open technical seminar at least twice while in residence
  • Publish at least one scientific paper in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Present and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in the field


The heart of the BEST emphasis is the completion of a piece of original scientific research leading to the preparation and defense of a dissertation. To this end, each student should discuss research interests and possible Ph.D. projects with faculty in the group as early as possible, and select a graduate research advisor early during the first year of study. Selection of a graduate research advisor must be approved by the graduate group and must occur before the student’s faculty committee can be constituted. The student and the graduate research advisor together will develop a research topic, and research will normally occupy a majority of the student’s time after the first year of residence.  Interdisciplinary projects are highly encouraged, as are research collaborations with faculty or senior scientists outside UC Merced. However, the graduate research advisor must be a member of the Biological Engineering and Small-scale Technologies group.  Students will be assigned an initial advisor when they first enroll, unless the student has already chosen an advisor.

Master's Degree


The Biological Engineering and Small-scale Technologies emphasis has established the following requirements for the M.S. degree. Each M.S. student has a committee with at least three members (see description for doctoral committees above), and a graduate research advisor.

  • Complete at least two semesters of full-time academic residence (12 units minimum) at UC Merced;
  • Complete at least two of the group’s graduate core courses, plus one additional 200-299 level course with a letter grade of at least “B”;
  • Complete at least 20 semester hours of upper-division and graduate course work with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0. At least 12 semester hours must be from regular, letter-graded lecture courses (including the core courses), while the remaining 8 hours may be research or similar courses;
  • Prepare and defend an acceptable thesis describing original research in the field.

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Graduate Funding:
Phone: (209) 228-4622
Mailing Address:
University of California, Merced
ATTN: Graduate Division
5200 N. Lake Road, Ste KL 227
Merced, CA 95343


University of California, Merced
The first new American research
university in the 21st century, with a
mission of research, teaching and service.
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
T: (209) 228-4400
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