Chemistry MS

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Keith Davis

Department Contact

Michael G. Coleman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry

Admission Deadlines & Requirements

Program Available Online? No
Application Deadline February 15, rolling thereafter
Admit Term Fall/Spring
Entrance Exam GRE
English Language Exams:
TOEFL (Internet) 79
PTE Academic 58


Priority deadline - COMPLETE applications that are received by this date are given priority consideration for admission and financial aid (if applicable). Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Rolling - There is no specific deadline for applications; applications will be accepted and reviewed throughout the year until the program reaches capacity.

Program overview

The master of science degree in chemistry is offered on a full- or part-time basis. The program is designed to fill the needs of the traditional student or the practicing chemist who is employed full time and wishes to pursue a graduate degree on a part-time basis.

The School of Chemistry and Materials Science has research- and teaching-oriented faculty, as well as excellent equipment and facilities that enable full-time graduate students to carry on a program of independent study and develop the ability to attack scientific problems at the fundamental level. The research can result in either a thesis or a project report.

Through course work and research activities, the program strives to increase the breadth and depth of the student’s background in chemistry. Students develop the ability to attack scientific problems with minimal supervision.

Plan of study

The program offers two options: a thesis or a project. Concentrations are available in organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, polymer chemistry, materials science, and biochemistry. Customized concentrations are available to accommodate specific student interests and needs relating to graduate study in chemistry.

Each student, together with an adviser, chooses courses to create a customized curriculum that best meets their interests, needs, and career aspirations. Each student's curriculum is subject to the approval of the director of the graduate program.

A deliberate effort is made to strengthen any areas of weakness indicated by the student’s undergraduate records and the placement examinations. The MS degree consists of the following requirements:

1. A minimum of 30 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree.

Courses in chemistry consist of core and focus area courses. Core courses are designed to increase a student’s breadth of chemical knowledge, while focus area courses increase depth. Core courses include four semester credit hours in Graduate Chemistry Seminar (CHEM-771, 772, 773, 774) and one credit hour in Chemistry Writing (CHEM-670). Focus area courses are chosen to address the student’s career goals and any undergraduate deficiencies in chemistry.  Focus area courses must be at the graduate level and are chosen in consultation between the student and graduate adviser. Focus area courses outside of chemistry are acceptable provided they are approved by the student’s graduate adviser.

2. Research

Ten semester credit hours of research are required with the thesis option. For students who opt for the project option, four semester hours of project research are required.

3. Capstone

Students enrolled in the thesis option are expected to complete an independent research thesis and pass an oral defense. Typically, all requirements are met within two years. Students enrolled in the project option have numerous ways of satisfying the capstone requirement for their project. These include but are not limited to conference presentations, papers, journal articles, patents, and seminars.


Chemistry (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHEM-771, 772 Graduate Chemistry Seminars 2
  Graduate Chemistry Focus Courses 12
CHEM-670 Graduate Chemistry Writing 1
CHEM-790 Research and Thesis Guidance 5
Second Year
CHEM-773, 774 Graduate Chemistry Seminars 2
  Graduate Chemistry Focus Course 3
CHEM-790 Research and Thesis Guidance 5
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

Chemistry (project option), MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHEM-771, 772 Graduate Chemistry Seminars 2
  Graduate Chemistry Focus Courses 12
CHEM-670 Graduate Chemistry Writing 1
Second Year
CHEM-773, 774 Graduate Chemistry Seminars 2
  Graduate Chemistry Focus Courses 9-12
CHEM-780 Chemistry Project 1-4
Total Semester Credit Hours 30


Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in chemistry, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in chemistry. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in another scientific discipline and the equivalent of a full year of work in analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, physics, and calculus will also be considered for admission.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Submit scores from the GRE. (Applicants are encouraged to submit scores from the chemistry GRE.)
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions. Foreign students with English language deficiencies may be required to take the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency, given by the RIT English Language Center. If a student’s score is below standard, additional course work may be recommended. Successful completion of this work is a requirement of the program. This may mean that the student will need additional time and financial resources to complete the degree program.
  • As a supplement to the normal application process, it is strongly recommended that students visit RIT.


Additional information


All candidates for teaching assistantships must participate in a personal interview with the department head and/or the Director of the Chemistry MS Program. International students can complete the interview by phone or internet.

Nonmatriculated students

An applicant with a bachelor’s degree from an approved undergraduate institution and the background necessary for specific courses is permitted to take graduate courses as a nonmatriculated student. If the student is subsequently admitted to the graduate program, courses taken for credit usually can be applied toward the master’s degree. A maximum of 6 semester credit hours (from courses taken at RIT as a nonmatriculated student) may be transferred to the degree program.

Any applicant who wishes to register for a graduate course as a nonmatriculated student must obtain permission from the chair of the graduate program and the course instructor.

Part-time study

Courses are offered in the late afternoons and evenings to encourage practicing chemists to pursue the MS degree without interrupting their employment. Part-time students may take the project option, which includes a capstone project in place of a thesis. Students employed full time normally take one course each semester. At this pace, course work can be completed within four to five years.

Equipment and resources

The School of Chemistry and Materials Science has modern instrumentation in the areas of spectroscopy (NMR, IR, UV-vis, fluorescence, atomic absorption, fluorimetry), chromatography (gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, etc.), mass spectrometry (high-performance lc- and gc-mass spectrometry and electrospray mass spectrometry), and materials characterization (rheometry, thermal gravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, hot-stage microscopy and contact angle goniometry). Visit the school’s website for a complete list of equipment and instrumentation.

External research credit

For students currently employed as chemists, the Chemistry MS Program provides the opportunity to utilize research conducted at their place of employment as project research credit.  A maximum of 4 semester credits of research are required.  Please consult with the Director of the Chemistry MS Program for more information and approval.

Cooperative education

Students at the master’s level who have, or are able to obtain, industrial employment may be able to earn cooperative education credit for their work experiences. Semesters of co-op can be interspersed with semesters of full-time academic work. Research credits may be obtained through external research credit. If industrial employment does not permit research, then research credits may be obtained within the School of Chemistry and Materials Science.

Career Outcomes

The RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education website provides information pertaining to student skills and capabilities, salary data, career information, job outcomes, and contact information for the Career Services Coordinator by program.

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