2022-2023

Chemistry, Master of Science

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

Chemistry is a diverse discipline that encompasses living processes, inorganic interactions, and analytical methods. The field is foundational for careers in areas such as pharmacy, forensics, medicine, the environment, space exploration, and international defense. This thesis and non-thesis based masters produces graduates who are well grounded in the sub-disciplines of chemistry. 

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
    Read the full policy.

     

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 30 - 32
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Thesis Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Oral Defense Oral Defense may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study

Purpose Statement

The Chemistry MS program prepares students for professions in the chemical sciences, emphasizing the development of a students' ability to develop approaches that accurately capture information to solve questions and problems in their chemical field of study. Our faculty members conduct research in the many fields of chemistry, from the level of single molecules to whole chemical systems. From the first day of entry into our program, students work closely with their faculty mentor(s), selecting a course of study suited to their future goals and professional interests. The program enables graduates to contribute to the forefront of knowledge in the scientific community, share their knowledge through teaching, or apply it in public service or industry.
 
The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry offers two options for students to attain a MS degree in chemistry. The first option is a two-year, thesis-based degree program. All chemistry students in this option work closely with a faculty adviser to design and implement individual thesis research. The focus of the student’s coursework will complement their research and career interests. Opportunities for acquiring skills through hands-on exploration in a wide range of chemical sciences are offered through the thesis option program. These include, but are not limited to, cancer, the environment, materials, health, and astronomy.

The second option is a non-thesis degree program. All chemistry students in this option work closely with the Graduate Advisory Committee to develop a course of study that will align with the career goals of the chemistry student. The student will have the opportunity to include six units of individualized experiences such as fieldwork, independent studies, and directed readings as part of their course of study. 
 
The Chemistry MS program’s rigorous training in the chemical sciences prepares graduates for successful careers in industry, government, and academics. Our graduates can successfully communicate across multiple disciplines and negotiate scientific solutions to the wide range of chemical problems that currently challenge our society. The Chemistry curriculum trains students how to think broadly about chemical and scientific problems. The research skills gained by Chemistry students help them continue to expand their knowledge long after they graduate from the program. This training and experience helps our graduates assume leadership roles in chemical fields. Finally, the Chemistry MS program prepares students for entry into PhD programs in chemical sciences and other related fields, if they choose to continue in an academic track.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Thesis-based Chemistry MS degree, students will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in several chemistry sub-disciplines, such as biochemistry, chemistry education, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.
  • Apply appropriate research methods and analysis
    • plan and carry out a research project;
    • demonstrate ability to be self-critical in evaluating procedures and outcomes;
    • take responsibility for success of research project
    • participate and collaborate with others (inside and outside of research group);
    • understand limitations of research methods used.
  • Adhere to appropriate laboratory practices, including:
    • Safe laboratory practices (chemical hygiene, personal protective wear, etc.);
    • Proper application of regulatory policies (FERPA, IRB, CITI, etc.);
    • Procedures and regulations for safe handling and use of research materials; and/or
    • Proper handling of waste streams.
  • Examine how ethical issues impact decisions concerning research/experimental design, and apply this knowledge to develop ethical approaches to research methodology and data collection.
  • In the sub-discipline of their research project:
    • Demonstrate knowledge of nomenclature, structure, reactivity, and function.
    • Demonstrate mastery of appropriate techniques and procedures.
    • Communicate chemistry knowledge, including results of research undertakings, and the rationale underpinning their conclusions, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously.


Upon completion of the Non-Thesis Chemistry MS degree, students will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in several chemistry sub-disciplines, such as biochemistry, chemistry education, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.
  • Examine how ethical issues impact decisions concerning the chemical sciences, and apply this Knowledge to develop ethical approaches to work in chemistry and related disciplines.
  • Chemical concepts and analysis related to other disciplines:
    • Chemical concepts and analysis related to other disciplines.
    • Expand chemical concepts and analysis related to other disciplines as appropriate to the student’s future goals.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
    • GRE® revised General Test (recommended but not required)
    • GRE® Subject Exam in Chemistry (recommended but not required)
Master's Requirements
  • This Master’s degree requires 30-32 units:

    • Thesis Option: 32 units
    • Non-Thesis Option: 30 units


    Take the following 30 - 32 units:

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
     

  • Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program

    This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan. Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree. Departments may allow students to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by approving up to 12 units applicable toward both degrees. Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs to be considered for admission. Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year. Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.