College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2021-2022

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry, Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Chemistry M.S. program prepares students for research-focused professions in the chemical sciences, emphasizing the development of a students' ability to develop experimental 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, 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.
This two-year, thesis-based degree program has three distinct emphasis areas: 1) A comprehensive emphasis, (2) an emphasis in Carcinogenesis and Cancer Chemotherapy and (3) an emphasis in Bioorganic and Biomedical Chemistry. All chemistry students work closely with a faculty adviser to design and implement individual thesis research. Students in the Carcinogenesis and Cancer Chemotherapy emphasis generally focus their coursework and research on learning about cancer and its causes and treatments from a chemical perspective. Students in the Bioorganic and Biomedical Chemistry emphasis generally investigate the principles of organic chemistry and biochemistry that serve as a foundation for the medical sciences.
The Chemistry M.S. 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 M.S. program prepares students for entry into Ph.D. programs in chemical sciences and other related fields, if they choose to continue in an academic track.

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Chemistry M.S. 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 as evidenced by skills such as:
    • Planning and carrying out a research project independently;
    • Demonstrating the ability to be self-critical in evaluating procedures and outcomes;
    • Taking responsibility for the success of a research project;
    • Participating and collaborating with members of their research group and with people outside of their group; and/or
    • Understanding the limitations of the research methods used in their work.
  • Adhere to appropriate research 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; and
    • Demonstrate mastery of appropriate research techniques and procedures.
  • Present and defend an original scientific project with the purpose of generating new knowledge.
    • Formulate hypotheses on the basis of observations, obtain and analyze data to test (i.e., refute or confirm) hypotheses, and explain phenomena by means of accepted principle, theories or laws in new and unfamiliar areas of the chemical sciences with a high degree of sophistication.
    • Summarize existing literature and interpret their research findings within the context of the existing literature.
    • Precisely describe all research results and forms of scientific investigation used (e.g., experiments, field work, surveys, or calculations) in permanent research records (hard copy and electronic).
    • Draw meaningful conclusions from research findings.
    • Draft technical documents describing methods, data, and results that are suitable for eventual publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Communicate chemistry knowledge, including results of research undertakings, and the rationale underpinning their conclusions, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously.


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