Chemistry Master of science degree

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Overview

A masters degree in chemistry prepares you for a job in a countless amount of industries. Maximize your career potential by gaining skills that are transferable to any field of interest.


With a masters degree in chemistry, you’ll be able to solve scientific problems with agility and accuracy. Conduct research specific to your field of interest as you develop skills that translate to infinite career opportunities. With an emphasis on leadership, many graduates excel in leadership positions in dynamic fields such as sustainability, public policy, lobbying, sales, government, imaging science, space exploration, medicine, and much more.

The MS 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.

Industries


  • Medical Devices

  • Manufacturing

  • Food and Beverage

  • Consumer Packaged Goods

Typical Job Titles

Materials Scientist Assistant/Associate Research and Development Scientist
Quality Control Specialist Analytical Chemist
Organic Chemist Inorganic Chemist
Physical Chemist Medical Chemist
Lab Technician

Latest News

  • August 27, 2018

    The Inclusive Excellence researchers pose for a photo together in front of their research posters.

    Inclusive Excellence cultivates diversity

    The first Inclusive Excellence research fellowship was held this summer and paired seven undergraduate students in the College of Science with research mentors. The initiative is working to create a deeper understanding of diversity in the College of Science and at RIT.
  • May 12, 2017

    Lea Vacca Michel earns the 2017 Edwina Award

    Lea Vacca Michel, associate professor in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science, received the 2017 Edwina Award at the Women’s Career Achievement Dinner on April 24 for her significant contributions to enhance gender diversity and inclusiveness at RIT.

Curriculum

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

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHEM-771
Graduate Chemistry Seminar I
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar I is the first in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires the students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries. Additionally, each student will present a seminar on their proposed research that also summarizes the scientific literature related to the research.
1
CHEM-772
Graduate Chemistry Seminar II
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar II is the second in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires the students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries.
1
CHEM-670
Graduate Chemistry Writing
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves in writing. This course is designed to develop these skills. Students will learn how to write a curriculum vitae, resume, laboratory overview, short and long research abstracts, and scientific research articles using the various formats and styles used by chemists. An integral part of the writing of a research article is the initial formulation of the research hypothesis and design of experiments to test the hypothesis. This course will also review and stress the importance of these components.
1
CHEM-790
Research and Thesis Guidance
Dissertation research by the candidate for an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
5
 
Graduate Chemistry Focus Courses
12
Second Year
CHEM-773
Graduate Chemistry Seminar III
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar III is the third in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries throughout the four semesters. Additionally, each student must invite, organize, host, and introduce an external seminar speaker to participate in the Chemistry Seminar Series.
1
CHEM-774
Graduate Chemistry Seminar IV
Professional chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar IV is the fourth in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires the students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries. Additionally, each student will present a seminar summarizing their thesis research at RIT which serves as the public portion of their thesis defense.
1
CHEM-790
Research and Thesis Guidance
Dissertation research by the candidate for an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
5
 
Graduate Chemistry Focus Course
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

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

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHEM-771
Graduate Chemistry Seminar I
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar I is the first in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires the students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries. Additionally, each student will present a seminar on their proposed research that also summarizes the scientific literature related to the research.
1
CHEM-772
Graduate Chemistry Seminar II
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar II is the second in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires the students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries.
1
CHEM-670
Graduate Chemistry Writing
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves in writing. This course is designed to develop these skills. Students will learn how to write a curriculum vitae, resume, laboratory overview, short and long research abstracts, and scientific research articles using the various formats and styles used by chemists. An integral part of the writing of a research article is the initial formulation of the research hypothesis and design of experiments to test the hypothesis. This course will also review and stress the importance of these components.
1
 
Graduate Chemistry Focus Courses
12
Second Year
CHEM-773
Graduate Chemistry Seminar III
Chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar III is the third in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries throughout the four semesters. Additionally, each student must invite, organize, host, and introduce an external seminar speaker to participate in the Chemistry Seminar Series.
1
CHEM-774
Graduate Chemistry Seminar IV
Professional chemists are required to communicate information about their research, laboratory, and themselves orally. Graduate Chemistry Seminar IV is the fourth in a series of four courses designed to develop the ability to assimilate useful information and organize a chemistry seminar while increasing a student's breadth and depth of knowledge of chemical research topics. This seminar requires the students to attend weekly chemistry seminars and write seminar summaries. Additionally, each student will present a seminar summarizing their thesis research at RIT which serves as the public portion of their thesis defense.
1
CHEM-780
Chemistry Project
Chemistry project accomplished by the MS student for an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the project advisor.
1-4
 
Graduate Chemistry Focus Courses
9-12
Total Semester Credit Hours
30
Chemistry focus courses
Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
CHMA-621
Advanced Instrumental Analysis Lab
This is a capstone course requiring students to develop experimental protocols involving advanced techniques in instrumental analysis. This course is intended to give an opportunity to develop innovative skills and writing proficiency. Library, literature and textbook research will be required.
3
CHMA-711
Advanced Instrumental Analysis
The theory, applications, and limitations of selected instrumental methods in qualitative, quantitative and structural analysis will be discussed. This course is also intended to give an opportunity to develop writing and revising abilities, as well as communication skills. Library, literature, and textbook research will be required.
3
CHMA-725
The Magnetic Resonance Family
This course presents the magnetic resonance family of techniques. General techniques include nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), electron spin resonance (ESR), nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR), and muon spin resonance (mSR). Each technique will be presented in enough detail to give the student an appreciation of its capabilities and an understanding the theory of the spectroscopy.
3
CHMA-740
Practical NMR
A graduate level lecture and laboratory course designed to teach a student how to use a Bruker high-resolution NMR spectrometer to perform a variety of chemical analyses. Students are presented a series of brief descriptions of how to perform various functions and experiments on a Bruker NMR. Students then receive hands-on training and perform the experiment. Specific operations taught include: file management, magnet shimming, probe tuning, parameter optimization, pulse sequence development, one-dimensional and two-dimensional acquisitions, variable temperature studies, data processing, diffusion measurements, and measuring relaxation times. This course serves as mechanism to gain different levels of access to the Chemistry Department's NMR spectrometers.
3
CHMA-750
NMR Spectrometer Maintenance
This course is designed to introduce the technical aspects of keeping a magnetic resonance system operating. The theory of operation of the magnet, radio frequency, pulse programmer, computer, and supporting subsystems of a magnetic resonance instrument will be studied. Emphasis is placed on relating theory to achievable practice and the consequences of differences between the two. Techniques for troubleshooting problems will be presented and developed.
3
CHMB-610
Advanced Protein Biochemistry
This course analyzes protein structure function relationships. Students will investigate how proteins function and how the structure relates to that function. The principles that explain enzyme rate enhancements and mechanistic enzymology will be examined. Additionally, protein superfamilies for phylogenetic relationships will be explored to enhance understanding of protein structure-function relationships. Students will read and discuss the current scientific literature and classic papers.
3
CHMB-702
Protein Conformation and Dynamics
An advanced study of the structure and function of proteins and enzymes. Biophysical and mechanistic aspects of enzyme function will be examined. Applications of computation to protein structure will also be discussed.
3
CHMB-704
Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids
This course will cover nucleic acid structures as determined by NMR and X-ray crystallography and nucleic acid catalysis, especially that of ribozymes. Genomics, specifically whole-genome sequencing papers, will be analyzed. Current RNA topics including the RNA World, Ribozymes, RNAi, and Riboswitches will be discussed. Current DNA topics including Lateral/Horizontal DNA Transfer, Genome Duplication, Alternate Gene Expression and Synthetic Life will also be discussed.
3
CHMI-664
Modern Inorganic Chemistry
3
CHMO-636
Spec ID of Organic Compounds
This course covers the theory and application of proton, carbon-13, and correlation nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared, and mass spectrometry for organic structure determination.
3
CHMO-637
Advanced Organic Chemistry
This course will revisit many of the reactions covered in the first year of organic chemistry with an emphasis on stereochemical control. Students will be introduced to the technique of retrosynthesis. The course will introduce more reactions with an emphasis on current topics from the literature. Students will hone their skills in writing electron pushing mechanisms and the use of protecting groups while practicing the art of designing synthetic strategies for making natural products.
3
CHMO-640
Mechanisms of Drug Interactions
Drugs are naturally occurring or synthetic substances that upon exposure to a living organism form complexes with biological targets. These complexes result in a characteristic pharmacological effect which alter physiological functions or counteract environmental insults. The goal of this course is to systematically study drug discovery, lead optimization, drug-receptor interactions, and bioavailability. Historically important drug classes and their mechanism of action will receive special consideration.
3
CHMO-710
Literature Explorations in Organic Structures
This course will be a survey of the recent literature in organic chemistry with a focus on the chemistry concerning the synthesis of natural products and/or methodology towards synthesizing natural products. During each week of the course a student is selected to lead a discussion based on an article from a premier journal. This course may be repeated for credit.
1
CHMO-739
Physical Organic Chemistry
This course covers topics in physical organic chemistry including: techniques for elucidation of mechanism (kinetic, and linear free energy relationships); isotope effects; molecular orbital theory; and electrocyclic reactions.
3
CHMP-747
Principles of Magnetic Imaging
This course is designed to present the theory of magnetic resonance from a physical chemistry perspective. Students will learn about isotropic and anisotropic proton-electron hyperfine, proton-electron dipolar, and proton-proton dipolar interactions; choosing basis functions and eigenfunctions for energy states; setting up the Hamiltonian; and solving for the energies of the states in both the rigid (solid) and rapidly tumbling (liquid) states. The dynamic nature of magnetic resonance will be developed from a kinetic perspective and focus on relaxation times, observable phenomena on the magnetic resonance timescale, and line broadening. Pulsed NMR will be presented from a classical perspective emphasizing spin packets, net magnetization, and rotation matrices through the Bloch equations.
3
CHMP-751
Colloid and Interface Science
The parallel growth of nanotechnology and a molecular perspective in the medical and life sciences has focused attention on the colloidal domain structures of dimension 1 nm to 1 mm. This course will introduce colloid and interface science that will allow for an appreciation of the role of colloids in biological systems, industrial processes and commercial products.
3
CHMP-752
Molecular Photophysics and Photochemistry
This course provides a comprehensive and clear description of the concepts and principles of molecular photophysical processes and photochemistry. The practical methods required for associated photophysical characterization and measurement are presented along with important applications of molecular photonics in cutting-edge research. A review of quantum mechanics is given with the photochemist in mind such that the student is encouraged to make more use of quantum mechanical terms, quantities and concepts. The course covers the interaction of light with molecular orbitals to form an excited state, and its subsequent de-activation. Applications such as lasers, spectroscopy, photoinduced charge transfer in modern organic photovoltaics and photosynthesis are described.
3
CHMP-753
Computational Chemistry
This course will introduce students to an in-depth investigation into the computational theories and applications used to model complex physical and chemical phenomena. Computational methods are used to provide synergy linking experiment with theory involving such chemical processes as reaction mechanisms, docking, energy transfer and conformational conversions. Predicting spectral and thermodynamic properties of molecular systems and ensembles will also be treated.
3
CHPO-706
Polymer Chemistry I
This course offers an in-depth survey of contemporary chemistry involved in the synthesis of high molecular weight polymers and macromolecules and the relationships between their structure, functionality, and applications. The course focuses on fundamental principles that govern chain structure and statistics, solution behavior, and characterization of polymers. Specific attention is given to recent advances and current issues in the synthesis of polymers, and to controlled architecture and self-assembly of polymers and macromolecules.
3
CHPO-707
Polymer Chemistry II
This course further investigates the contemporary chemistry of high molecular weight polymers and macromolecules and the relationships between their structure, functionality, and utility. The course focuses on fundamental principles that govern swollen gels and soft matter. Mechanisms of the formation of polymers containing heteroatoms in their chains are examined in detail. Specific attention is given to the synthesis of polymers of controlled architecture and self-assembly, and of polymers and macromolecules. Dendrimers, hyper-branched polymers, functional polymers, polymeric reagents, polyelectrolytes, and biopolymers are also discussed.
3
CHPO-708
Polymer Synthesis and Characterization Lab
Students will synthesize about eight polymers and characterize them carry by specific methods. In about half of those experiments step-growth polymerizations and in the other half chain-addition polymerizations will be performed. Among the polymers produced will be Nylon 6-10, Nylon 11, polystyrene, high-density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, copolymer of styrene and methyl methacrylate and polyurethane. The most specific types of polymerizations and reactions introduced will be cross-linking polymer, interfacial and bulk step-growth polymerizations, cyclopolymerization, radical, ionic and coordinative chain polymerizations. The methods of characterization which will be applied are infrared (IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, titrations, thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), measurement of swelling, and viscometry.
3
IMGS-730
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
This course is designed to teach the principles of the imaging technique called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The course covers spin physics, Fourier transforms, basic imaging principles, Fourier imaging, imaging hardware, imaging techniques, image processing, image artifacts, safety, and advanced imaging techniques.
3

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.

 

Learn about admissions and financial aid 

Additional Info

Assistantships

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.