MS in Chemistry

Chemistry student in a lab

The Master of Science in Chemistry degree prepares students for careers at research universities, government and intelligence agencies and companies all over the world. The degree can also be a valuable stepping stone to a PhD in chemistry or medical school.

Possible research areas include proteomics and bioanalytical methods development, synthetic medicinal chemistry and drug design, combustion, battery chemistry and renewable energy sources, laser and molecular spectroscopies, nanomaterials and biomaterials, modeling, coordination chemistry and novel inorganic framework structures.


Professor Christopher Cahill

"I want my students... to go an additional step and think about the importance and the impact of their work on the world at large."

Christopher Cahill
Professor of Chemistry and International Affairs

Course Requirements

Incoming graduate students are expected to pass four placement exams in Analytical, Inorganic, Physical and Organic chemistries. If a student does not pass all placements exams in a second attempt by May 31 (Fall admits) or August 31 (Spring admits), they will be subject to a Graduate Affairs Committee review and may be asked to leave the program.

Courses Required

All students develop a plan of study in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The plan must include the following:

At least five graduate courses (6000-level and above) Three of theses courses would be core courses, (6000-level or above), at least one from each of the following core categories (A/B/C):

Course #



Chem 6221

Spectrochemical Analysis


Chem 6277

Chemical Bonding


Chem 6278

Molecular Spectroscopy


Chem 6233

Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis


Chem 6235

Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I


Chem 6251 Advanced Organic Chemistry I B

Chem 6259

Polymer Chemistry


Chem 6222

Biomedical Mass Spectrometry


Chem 6238

Chemistry of Inorganic Materials


Chem 6257

Physical Organic Chemistry


Chem 6273

Chemical Thermodynamics


Thesis and Exam

All MS degree candidates must sit and pass four comprehensive examinations in the fields of analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. Candidates may choose between thesis (30 credit hours) and non-thesis (36 credit hours) tracks.

Thesis Option Requirements:
  • 30 credit hours including CHEM 6999 (thesis research)
  • A seminar based on the student's thesis research, about one hour in duration, given several months before the thesis defense.
  • An abstract (about 50 words) to accompany the announcement of each student seminar.
  • Thesis submitted to a departmental MS thesis review committee prior to the typing of the final draft of the thesis. This committee will evaluate the draft to assure its adherence to program standards.
Non-Thesis Option Requirements:
  • 36 credit hours of approved courses including CHEM 6395 (research)
  • Up to nine credit hours in other departments related to student’s area of interest (optional)
  • Students should contact their graduate adviser at the beginning of the semester for further information on scheduling the final report.