Jul 25, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, Organic 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.
  • Professional letters of recommendation.

Placement Examinations

A student’s foundational knowledge of chemistry or biochemistry aquired during their undergraduate study is essential for successfully completing the MS program. A new graduate student can demonstrate their mastery of chemistry or biochemistry at the undergraduate level by either completing all upper division undergraduate chemistry or biochemistry major courses with an average GPA of 3.0 or higher, in addition to earning a “B” or better in courses related to their graduate field of study.

Students who have not earned an average GPA of 3.0 or higher in all upper division undergraduate chemistry or biochemistry major courses and/or have not earned a “B” or better in courses related to their graduate field of study will establish their mastery by passing one placement exam in their intended area of graduate study. Graduate students who do not pass the placement exam will take the corresponding undergraduate course during their first semester in the program and must earn a “B” or better.

Graduate students cannot take their core graduate courses until they have completed the placement examination requirement.

There are five placement exams in the following areas: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry. All exams are the American Chemical Society standardized exams. Scoring at the 40th percentile (as determined by national norms) or higher on the exam is considered passing. If the student does not pass the exam, they will take the corresponding undergraduate course and earn a “B” or better to satisfy this requirement. 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. Students who do not meet the placement exam requirement by the end of their first semester in the program will be removed from the graduate program.

Classified Standing

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

  • Approved selection of a research director
  • Satisfy the university graduate-level writing requirement

Degree Requirements

The degree program consists of advier-approved coursework completed with a minimum 3.0 GPA in all coursework exclusive of CHEM 598  and CHEM 599 

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


* Must be taken for a total of 3 units.

Elective (3 units)

400- or 500-level CHEM course approved for graduate credit. Other courses may be chosen with department graduate adviser approval.

Culminating Experience (6 units)

Organic Concentration (9 units)

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

Total (30 units)

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