MS Degree Requirements
For the MS in Chemistry, 33 credits are required from courses, seminars, and thesis research credit, distributed as follows:
Core Courses (8 credits)
Master’s students must choose two courses from a list of core courses based on their research and programmatic interests.
Electives (16 credits)
All elective courses are subject to the approval of the student’s research advisor. To fulfill elective requirements graduate students select four courses from any of the Chemistry Department’s graduate courses. Extra-departmental courses may be included in a student’s program of study with approval from the research advisor and the graduate program director (GPD).
Graduate Seminar (1 credit per semester)
Full-time graduate students must enroll in the one-credit graduate seminar in every semester of attendance.
Master's Thesis Credit (8+ credits)
The master’s degree requires a minimum 8 credits.
Students are required to choose a research advisor within their first semester of enrollment in the chemistry graduate program. In order to make an informed choice, students are required to speak with at least three chemistry faculty members currently conducting research within the department.
During the second semester of enrollment, students are expected to fulfill their literature seminar requirement. The literature seminar requires students to deliver a talk presenting current research on a topic of interest.
Students work closely with their advisor and the seminar instructor to obtain approval for their topic and to prepare for the presentation.
MS students must choose three faculty members—including their research advisor as the committee chair—to serve on their thesis committee. The responsibilities of a thesis committee member consist of participating in the review of a student’s literature seminar presentation, public thesis defense, and the review of a student’s thesis.
After successfully completing the literature seminar, MS students are expected to focus on completing and writing up their research. Many drafts of the MS thesis should be exchanged between the student and research advisor before handing a completed copy of the thesis to committee members. Once the committee members agree that the thesis is in acceptable form, the student will schedule a date for the defense with the dissertation committee, GPD, and GPD assistant.
The defense will be open to the public in addition to the thesis committee. A private oral exam between the student and thesis committee will be held following the defense, in order to establish the student’s understanding of the research. Passing of the defense in conjunction with publishing the thesis through the Office of Graduate Studies will result in the awarding of the MS degree in chemistry.
To maintain satisfactory progress in the master’s program, students must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA.
Teaching or Work Experience
All students must acquire at least one semester of teaching or work experience in chemistry, subject to the approval of the Graduate Program director.
The Chemistry Department offers a combined BS/MS degree, designed to offer talented and motivated students the opportunity to attain a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. Students who plan to enter this program should have a solid high school record, particularly in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and English.
Students who are in the program or planning to apply to the program should begin undergraduate research in their freshman or sophomore year to maintain progress toward timely completion. Under this program, your senior thesis, part of your capstone requirement for the BS degree, becomes a progress report toward completion of your master’s thesis.
Once students in the BS/MS program attain a total of 120 undergraduate credits, they become eligible to apply for a teaching assistantship that comes with a stipend and tuition waiver.
As you approach completion of your BS requirements, your performance will be evaluated by the chemistry graduate committee. Several possible recommendations may be made at this point, namely to
- Allow the student to proceed according to the five-year BS/MS schedule
- Allow the student to continue in the BS/MS dual degree program, but at a slower pace
- Not allow the student to continue in the BS/MS track
Those students not allowed to continue in the BS/MS program will, of course, still have the possibility to seek a BA or a BS degree in chemistry.
Requirements for this degree include all the chemistry courses mandated for the BS degree and the requirements for the MS degree in chemistry.
The student completing these requirements will receive both the BS in chemistry and the MS in chemistry. No degree is awarded until the requirements are complete. To be retained in the program, students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 in undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry courses and a 3.0 or better in graduate chemistry courses. Admission to this program is by application only. Complete information is available at the department office.