Admissions Portal

liveperson actn-apply actn-mail

Chemistry MS

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.


The program offers two options: a thesis option and a project option. Concentrations are available in organic, analytical, inorganic, 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 will be subject to the approval of the director of the graduate program.

A deliberate effort will be 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 will generally be chosen from 600- and 700-level courses and should include one or more courses in analytical, organic, and physical chemistry. The core requirement is one course each in organic, physical, and analytical chemistry, plus one course in inorganic chemistry, if an appropriate undergraduate course was not taken. Specifically, each student must select core courses (subject to approval by the student’s adviser and the graduate committee) that include the following: analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. As part of the required credits, each student must have four semester credit hours in seminar (CHEM-771, 772, 773, 774).

2. Ten credit hours in research (minimum) for the thesis option

A minimum of 10 semester credit hours are required with the thesis option. For students who opt for the project option, four semester hours of project are required.

3. Passage of an oral defense of the MS thesis

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.

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

CourseSem. 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

CourseSem. 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
CHEM-780 Chemistry Project 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:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in chemistry from an accredited college or university. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in another scientific discipline and the equivalent of a full year’s course work in analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, physics, and calculus also will be considered for admission.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) for all previously completed undergraduate or graduate course work.
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The chemistry GRE is also recommended.
  • Submit two letters of reference.
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores will be accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. Minimum scores will vary; however, the absolute minimum score required for unconditional acceptance is 6.5. For additional information about the IELTS, please visit This requirement may be waived for students submitting transcripts from American universities, or those at which the language of instruction is English. 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 chair of the Chemistry Graduate Committee. International students can complete the interview by phone.

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.


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

The School of Chemistry and Materials Science recognizes that the experience of a number of chemists employed in industry includes independent, creative research. A maximum of 16 hours of research credit, conducted during employment, may be applied toward the completion of the master of science degree in chemistry on either a full- or part-time basis.

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

Job Titles

Chemical technician, lab technician, chemist, environmental chemist, research associate


Basic research, assist in the development of new products; provide chemistry lab support for various project initiatives, chemical sales

Recent Employers

Xerox Corporation, Eastman Kodak Company, E.I. DuPont, Merck, Ultralife Batteries, Schenectady International, Environmental Health Services, Micron Display Technology, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Smithkline Beecham, Arkwright, Columbia Analytical Services

Related Links