M.S. Degree Requirements

The Department of Chemistry offers a research-based Master of Science (M.S.) degree. This degree requires successful completion of two advanced graduate courses (see below), regular participation in departmental seminar programs, and a thesis based on original research carried out under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty. Students choose a research advisor during their first semester in the program and are encouraged to begin hands-on laboratory work as early as possible. Students select a thesis committee for additional guidance, and are given multiple opportunities to present their research progress and accomplishments to department faculty and to their peers.

Because this is a research-intensive Master’s program, required formal coursework is kept to a minimum: just two 6000-level electives. In lieu of a “core” curriculum, the department uses placement exams to ensure that our master’s students are broadly competent chemists. Incoming students take nationally normed ACS standardized exams in five traditional areas of chemistry. Students are required to demonstrate “proficiency” in organic and physical chemistry and in two out of three of analytical, inorganic, and biochemistry. Refresher courses are available if needed.

A grade point average of 3.0 is required for the degree. In addition, the thesis must be accepted within six calendar years after admission into the M.S. program as a degree student. This includes a successful defense of the written thesis before a special thesis committee of no fewer than four persons, at least one of whom must be from outside of the Chemistry Department.

Approval of the Master's program of each student and monitoring his/her progress toward the degree is the responsibility of the student's research adviser. Prior to the selection of a research adviser, graduate student progress is monitored by the departmental Graduate Committee.

A student in the Chemistry M.S. program is required to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree. Continued enrollment is at all times subject to review on the basis of academic record. This review is performed by the departmental Graduate Committee.