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.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

Thesis option—30 credits, including 15 credits in required courses, 9 credits in elective courses, and 6 credits in thesis research; non-thesis option—30 credits, including 15 credits in required courses and 15 credits of electives, including up to 6 credits of research. All students must successfully complete a  comprehensive examination covering foundational topics in the fields of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.

Note: All entering students in graduate chemistry programs are required to take the American Chemical Society graduate level placement examinations, given by the Department of Chemistry, prior to course registration. The four placement examinations (in the disciplines of analytical, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry) are designed to evaluate student understanding of subject matter in the disciplines generally taught in undergraduate programs preparatory for graduate work in chemistry, and the results are used by the department to advise the individual student in planning a program of courses appropriate to the student’s background. All graduate students are required to participate in the seminar and colloquium programs. Upon consultation with course instructors, specific course prerequisites may be waived.

15 credits, which must include at least three courses from the following core course list, and six additional credits in non-research CHEM courses taken at the 6000 level.:
CHEM 6222Biomedical Mass Spectrometry
CHEM 6233Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis
CHEM 6235Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I
CHEM 6238Chemistry of Inorganic Materials
CHEM 6251Advanced Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 6257Physical-Organic Chemistry
CHEM 6259Polymer Chemistry
CHEM 6273Chemical Thermodynamics
CHEM 6277Chemical Bonding
CHEM 6278Molecular Spectroscopy
Additional Requirements
Thesis option: Students are required to take 9 additional credits through a combination of coursework and Research (CHEM 6395), and 6 credits of Thesis Research (CHEM 6999). In addition, a 30 minute seminar based on the student's research must be given during their last semester in the program. Students must submit their MS thesis to a departmental committee (consisting of the student’s advisor and at least on other departmental faculty member) for review and adherence to program standards, along with a satisfactory oral defense of its contents.
Non-thesis option: Students are required to take 15 credits through a combination of coursework and up to 6 credits of Research (CHEM 6395). Up to 9 credits may be taken in other departments related to the student’s area of interest (e.g., Forensic Sciences), subject to the approval of the Department of Chemistry. Students who are or will be employed in organizations dealing with science and technology policy programs may select from specified courses offered by Information Systems and Technology Management, Political Science, Public Policy and Public Administration, and the Elliott School of International Affairs.
Comprehensive examination
All students must successfully complete a comprehensive examination covering foundational topics in the fields of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.