Master of Science in Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry offers the Master of Science degree in Chemistry with graduate work in the fields of biochemistry, inorganic, organic, physical, and analytical chemistry. The program is designed for the student who intends, upon completion, to work as a professional chemist, to study for the Ph.D., or to seek further training (e.g., in business or engineering). The program also prepares students for teaching at the high school or community college level.


The preliminary academic background required for the degree of Master of Science in Chemistry is substantially the equivalent of that represented by the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the University of San Francisco (see the undergraduate section of the Catalog). Any applicant whose undergraduate preparation does not include a complete foundation for graduate work in the field of chemistry will be required to devote some time to specified undergraduate courses.

Applicants should have a minimum "B-" (2.7) overall average in their upper-division courses and a "B" (3.0) average in upper-division courses taken in the field of chemistry.


After a student has been accepted into the graduate program, the departmental Graduate Director will, with the student's research advisor as chair, supervise the student's program. Upon arrival, the student will take two evaluative examinations in selected subject areas of chemistry. The areas available for selection by the student are biochemistry, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. If the entering student should fail to pass one or both of these examinations, he/she will meet with the Graduate Director and the student's research advisor to determine a means of remediation. This will usually involve taking an undergraduate course in the appropriate subject(s) (grade of B or better required) or possibly undertaking independent study followed by another evaluative examination in the area(s) in which deficiency was found. In either case, any deficiencies must be removed by the start of the second semester of residence. Otherwise the student will be subject to disqualification from the graduate program.

During the first semester of a student's residence in good academic standing, the student, the research advisor and Graduate Director will decide on the program of study. The normal length of study is two and one-half years.

A total of 24 credits, including a thesis, is required. The courses taken must be graduate courses or upper-division courses approved by the Department of Chemistry. At least 12 of the required credits must be CHEM 698 and 699. The typical length of time required for a student to complete the degree is two and one half years.

Learning Goals/Outcomes for the Master of Science in Chemistry

    • Students will demonstrate broad knowledge in areas of chemistry relevant to their research interests.
    • Students will become safe and proficient in laboratory practice and instrumental techniques necessary for their research area.
    • Students will be able to communicate the subject of chemistry, especially their own research project, in written and oral forms including: correspondence, reports and short presentations that may utilize multi-media tools that support effective communication.
    • Students will become critical thinkers who are able to judge scientific arguments and make their own arguments based on experiments conducted during their research project.
    • Students who graduate with a Master of Science degree in chemistry from the University of San Francisco will be well prepared to pursue further graduate studies or employment in chemistry or related scientific fields.