Jul 19, 2024  
2021-2022 University Catalog 
2021-2022 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, Biochemistry Concentration, M.S.

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(30 UNITS)

Master of Science in Chemistry

The Master of Science in Chemistry is a thesis-based degree that requires students to complete courses in their area of study and work on an original, independent research objective in one of the following concentrations: Analytical, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic, Physical.

The skills learned in the program prepare students for a career in teaching, industry or graduate school. Because of its broad scope, contemporary chemistry offers employment opportunities in rapidly growing fields, such as materials science, polymers, biochemistry, biotechnology, pharmaceutical/medicinal chemistry, chemical education research and environmental science. Graduates are prepared to enter any of these fields or others, since chemistry is the central science with connections to physics and mathematics, biology and medicine, and environmental science.


Students must meet the CSU requirements for admission to a master’s degree program. Please consult the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for complete information. In addition, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in chemistry or biochemistry or a selection of science courses deemed adequate preparation for further study in chemistry or biochemistry by the Department Graduate Committee
  • At least a 2.75 GPA in science courses
  • GRE general examination is required for applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA below 3.0 or have received their bachelor’s degree from a university or college outside the United States.​​​​​​​

Placement Examinations

All students are required to take and pass placement examinations or take and pass the appropriate courses with a “B” (3.0). Graduate students in one of the chemistry concentrations must demonstrate competency by passing two placement examinations in the following five areas of chemistry: analytical, inorganic, organic, physical and biochemistry. Graduate students in the biochemistry concentration must demonstrate competency in biochemistry and one other area: analytical, organic, physical, inorganic or biology.

A student may take each placement examination two times within the first year of enrolling in the graduate program.  Students are required to pass both placement exam by the end of their first year in the graduate program.   A student that does not pass a placement exam after two attempts must take the appropriate course and earn a “B” (3.0) or higher to demonstrate competency.

The appropriate courses are: CHEM 301B  for organic; CHEM 315  for analytical; CHEM 325  for inorganic; CHEM 361A or  CHEM 361B  for physical (biochemistry concentration); CHEM 371A or  CHEM 371B  for physical ( all chemistry concentrations); CHEM 423A or  CHEM 423B  for biochemistry; and BIOL 151  for biology.

Classified Standing

In order to proceed from conditionally classified to classified standing, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • Pass two placement exams
  • Approved selection of a research director
  • An approved study plan
  • Satisfy the university graduate-level writing requirement

Study Plan

Students will complete a laboratory research thesis.

The degree program consists of graduate committee-approved coursework completed with a minimum 3.0 GPA in all coursework exclusive of CHEM 598  and CHEM 599 . In consultation with their research director, each student prepares a study plan, which must be approved by the graduate program adviser and the Office of Graduate Studies. All chemistry courses on the study plan must be 400-level or above.

Study plans will contain 2 units of CHEM 500 , 3 units of CHEM 505A , 1 unit of CHEM 505B  and 6 units each of CHEM 599  and CHEM 598 . In addition, 9 units of concentration coursework and 3 units of elective coursework is required.

A minimum of 27 units of 500-level coursework is required.

Elective (3 units)

Must be adviser-approved.

Culminating Experience (6 units)

Biochemistry Concentration (9 units)

May include courses other than those listed, and must be adviser-approved.

Total (30 units)

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