Master of Science in Chemistry
(catalog code CHEMMS01)

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Program Overview & Resources

The MS program in Chemistry combines advanced course work and research in areas that range from theoretical to applied studies at the forefront of chemical knowledge. We welcome those interested in reinforcing their chemical background to support their current careers, those making a career shift to a position that requires additional background in a chemical field, and those seeking advanced study to support entry into Ph. D. programs in the chemical sciences or entry into professional programs in the medical sciences:

Current Chemistry-related research in the department includes inorganic, organic, and materials chemistry including nano-materials synthesis and synthetic methods development; drug design and delivery studies, which overlap with the work of Department biochemists; and both computational and spectroscopic approaches to current environmental, mechanistic, and biochemical questions and issues. Our research facilities include modern laboratory workspaces, the majority of which were constructed since 2005. These research grade facilities include:

Information about the research interests of individual faculty can be found on our Research page. Faculty members with research interests especially relevant to the MS in Chemistry include Drs. Brazier, Bu, Buonora, Derakhshan, Li, Lopez, Marinez, Mezyk, Nakayama, Schramm, Shon, Slowinska, Slowinski, and Sorin. More information about the program can be obtained from the Graduate Adviser in Chemistry, Dr. Lijuan Li (, 562-985-5068). The Graduate Programs main page contains information on how to apply to the program.

Prerequisites for the Program

1. Acceptance as a graduate student by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

2. A bachelor's degree with a major in chemistry; a bachelor's degree with undergraduate preparation in chemistry, physics and mathematics equivalent to that required for the bachelor of science degree with a major in chemistry at this University. A student deficient in any of these courses must complete the course(s) as a graduate student. The courses that must be taken to make up those deficiencies will be determined by the Graduate Adviser in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee. Students with majors in other areas may be considered for admission at the discretion of the Graduate Adviser.

3. Entering graduate students are required to take placement examinations as follows:
4. The placement examinations will be given on Monday of the week preceding the first day of instruction. The Graduate Studies Committee evaluates the examinations and recommends appropriate courses to correct for any deficiencies in chemistry. The Chemistry Graduate Adviser meets with the student at this time to prepare a tentative degree program.

5. Entering students are required to select a research adviser within eight weeks following the first day of instruction. At this time the student and the adviser will select two additional faculty members to serve on the Thesis Committee. The Thesis Committee will meet before the end of the eleventh week of the semester and will plan a course of study for the student consistent with the area of thesis research, in consultation with the Graduate Adviser. The research adviser and/or the Thesis Committee will determine which additional placement examination the student will take at the beginning of the second semester.

6. Each student shall prepare a thesis proposal in collaboration with the research adviser, stating the specific topic of the research and its significance, the specific objectives of the research, and the methods to be used.

Advancement to Candidacy

The regulations governing each student's master's degree are those in effect at the time of the student's advancement to candidacy. The Department recommends advancement to candidacy after the graduate student has:

The criteria above should be met by the beginning of the third semester of graduate study. Deficient students may continue at the discretion of the Department Graduate Studies Committee.

Requirements for The Master of Science in Chemistry

1. Advancement to candidacy;

2. The completion of a minimum of 30 units including:

a) Minimum of nine units in chemistry lecture courses in the 500 series (excluding CHEM 595).;
b) Two to three units of CHEM 595;
c) Two units of CHEM 660, a maximum of one unit of CHEM 695, four to six units of CHEM 697, and 4 to 6 units of CHEM 698;
d) Additional CHEM 400 and 500 level series courses (excluding Chemistry 595 and courses taken to remove deficiencies) as recommended by the Theses Committee and approved by the Graduate Adviser.

Changes in the above pattern of course requirements may be made only at the discretion of the Thesis Committee and the Graduate Adviser.

3. Completion of a written thesis, of publication quality, acceptable to the members of the thesis committee and a public presentation of the research. The public presentation must be completed before the thesis is signed by the committee members.

4. A record of regular attendance at departmental seminars, poster sessions, thesis proposal presentations, and thesis defenses.

5. While not a requirement for the degree, students in the MS program normally gain experience teaching laboratory sections of Chemistry courses, as preparation for professionally related teaching activities in their future careers.