Graduate Program

V. Degree Requirements for the MS in Chemistry

Two types of Master’s degrees can be earned in Chemistry. Plan I (thesis MS) requires more intensive research leading to the composition and defense of a MS thesis. Plan II (coursework) has a stronger emphasis on classroom work.

A. Requirements for all M.S. Candidates

    1. Whether Plan I or Plan II, all M.S. candidates select a faculty advisor by the end of their first semester and are required to do so by the end of the first month of their second semester. In addition, a three-person Examining Committee composed of the Research Supervisor and at least two other Graduate Faculty members should be formed by the end of the student’s 2nd semester. Plan I thesis MS students are required to have one member from outside of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry; Plan II committees can be entirely from the Department. The procedures for appointing committees is described on page 20.
    2. M.S. candidates must register for Seminar (CH 585) and conform to the attendance policy each semester they are in residence, unless they are registered for Literature and Communication in Graduate Chemistry (CH 584) or Research Seminar (CH 586).
    3. All M.S. candidates must complete a Second-Year meeting with their committees. Students should register for CH 680 (Initial Research Review, IRR). The purpose of this meeting is for the student to demonstrate knowledge of his/her research project and document initial research progress for the committee. The committee will question the student and provide input about the initial research effort. There are two aspects of this examination that will be considered by the committee:
      • A brief written summary (≤10 pages) by the student of the project and initial research findings to date is to be provided to the committee in advance of the meeting.
      • An oral presentation with a period for discussion and questioning to follow such that the entire meeting is completed within 2 hours. The oral presentation should include:

a. A summary of progress (grades, cumulative exams, etc.)
b. A discussion of the background and significance of the research project
c. A description of the work completed to date
d. A description of plans for the thesis (if applicable)  

Comments from the committee about the student’s IRR will become part of the student’s academic record, and the committee will assign the student a grade for the CH 680 course based on progress, familiarity with the project, and the quality of the summary, presentation, and subsequent discussion. The grades will be:

PASS: the student has made satisfactory progress to continue in the Master’s degree program.

FAIL: the student has not made satisfactory progress and should be dismissed from the graduate program.

INCOMPLETE: the presentation was unsatisfactory, but the committee feels that with additional work, a passing grade can be earned. This remediation must be completed by the following semester.

This meeting will serve as the comprehensive exam for Plan II MS students.

4. A degree application form must be submitted to the Graduate School to be awarded a degree. Note that doctoral students do not have an M.S. degree option. Request that this be added by sending an email to the Graduate Director.

5. All M.S. candidates must complete an exit exam for program assessment purposes. This will typically constitute a standardized exam in the student’s major area similar to the placement exams given at the beginning of the program.

B.  Specific Requirements for Plan I (thesis) M.S. Candidates

  1. The lecture coursework requirement for the Plan I M.S. degree consists of a minimum of four courses — at least two within the student’s major and at least one outside the major — for a total of 12 semester hours of credit.
  2. Another 12 credit hours will normally consist of 4 hours of seminar (CH 585 3 hr total + CH 586 1 hr), 1 hour for the Initial Research Review (CH 680), and 7 hours of research techniques courses. The candidate will present a research seminar on the thesis research before holding the oral defense of the thesis. As in the case for Ph.D. students, a maximum of six hours of graded (500-level) research techniques courses will be counted in the departmental computation of the GPA.
  3. Plan I M.S. candidates will normally register for at least 6 hours of thesis research, i.e., CH 599, in addition to the 24 course credit hours described above.
  4. The student’s Research Supervisor and the other members of the student’s Examining Committee will read the student’s thesis and render a decision on the results of its oral defense. This oral defense will count as the MS comprehensive exam for the student (note: form must be filed with Graduate School).
  5. The period of financial support for students following the Plan I M.S. program is limited to 2.5 years. In special cases, a Plan I student may petition the graduate committee for an additional semester of support to be granted as deemed warranted by the Graduate Committee and dependent upon the availability of funds.

C. Specific Requirements for Plan II (coursework) M.S. Candidates

  1. The lecture coursework requirement for the Plan II M.S. degree will consist of a minimum of six lecture courses — four in the major and two outside the major — for a total of 18 semester hours of credit.
  2. The remaining 12 hours required for this 30-hour program will consist of:
    • 3 credit hours for Literature & Communication in Graduate Chemistry (CH 584)
    • 3 total credit hours of seminar (CH 585)).
    • 5 total credit hours of research techniques (CH 570 or 660)
    • 1 hour for the Initial Research Review (CH 680 )
  3. The period of financial support for those students following the Plan II M.S. degree program is normally limited to 2.0 years.

D.  Accelerated Master’s Program in Chemistry

The Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) is intended for highly motivated Chemistry majors whose objectives include degrees at the master’s level. Up to 15 credits hours of coursework can be applied simultaneously toward both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. The remainder of the credit hours for each degree are completed independently, though both undergraduate and graduate courses may be taken in the same semesters.

The process to enter the AMP is:

  1. ACS Chemistry and ACS Biochemistry majors with a 3.5 gpa and 90 credit hours of coursework are eligible for admission.
  2. Interested students contact the Director of Graduate Recruiting to begin the application process. It is suggested that students begin the application late in the sophomore year or early in the junior year.
  3. A regular application (including GRE score) is submitted to the Graduate School. The application fee will be waived and the UA transcript will be attached automatically.
  4. Approved students will be admitted to Graduate School as M.S. students.

Once admitted the students may pursue either a Plan I or Plan II M.S. by completion of the requirements described in the sections above except that AMP students are required to pass only one credit hour of Chemistry Seminars (CH585). Lecture/lab courses that are co-listed as undergraduate and graduate courses can then potentially count towards both degree programs. Students must register for the graduate level courses and notify the Director of Graduate Studies that they intend to count these courses in both the B.S. and M.S. programs. The rest of the requirements for each degree are met separately.