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Graduate Program

Chemistry & Biochemistry Department

Students in Chemistry Lab

Graduate students, like Zachary Gardner & Conor Ronayne, in the Chemistry MS program are given ample opportunities to perform research in their chosen chemistry sub-disciplines.

Program Overview

The M.S. graduate program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMD provides students with the supervision, research facilities, intellectual environment, and administrative support in order to conduct original research at the forefront of scientific knowledge in chemistry and related fields.

In addition to research, the students are also expected to master their fundamental knowledge via advanced courses, both in their research area of interests as well as related fields according to their career plans. Importantly, graduate students have the opportunity to enhance their teaching and communication skills via teaching assistantships. Weekly seminars, by both external and internal speakers, provide students with ample opportunities for networking and exposure to the latest state-of-the-art research in their research fields and related areas, which prepare them to function in cross-disciplinary teams in a global market.

Students accepted into the M.S. program are eligible for financial assistance, primarily in the form of teaching assistantships. Assistantships include approximately $15,000 salary for the academic year plus tuition. Tuition is paid in full up to 14 credits per semester. Health insurance is available at reasonable rates to the graduate assistant and dependents. Additional summer support of $4,500 is generally available to students working on their thesis research during the summer months. Award of a teaching assistantship is based on review of the application for admission.

GTA Handbook

Our program is well suited to students going on to Ph.D. programs, careers in industry, or professional schools. There are typically 25 to 30 students in residence. Approximately 50% of the students completing the program enrolled in Ph.D. programs in universities nationwide. Others take jobs or enter professional schools. For more information, please visit the Official Program Policy.

Goals & Learning Outcomes 

Plan A: Master's Degree with Thesis

Plan A is the traditional degree program in which students prepare for a career in chemistry through coursework and original research. This plan provides solid academic preparation and practical laboratory experience, and is selected by most students. Graduation Requirements: Plan A students must register for 10 thesis credits, and write and defend, as part of the final oral examination, a thesis on original research.

Plan B: Master's Degree without Thesis

Plan B provides an opportunity for those whose career plans may not benefit directly from laboratory research experience to pursue an advanced degree in chemistry. Graduation Requirements: Plan B students must complete an additional 10 course credits, and prepare three papers in the major and related fields.

Required Core, Graduate Courses

All students are required to complete four (4) of their choice (in consultation with their research advisors) from the following core courses:

CHEM 5424: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I (3 credits)
CHEM 5524: Advanced Organic Chemistry I (3 credits)
CHEM 5624: Advanced Physical Chemistry I (3 credits)
CHEM 5650: Computational Chemistry (3 credits)
CHEM 5714: Applications of Spectroscopy (4 credits)
CHEM 5725: Advanced Analytical Chemistry I (3 credits)
IBS 8101: Cellular Biochemistry (3 credits)

Selection of a Research Advisor

Plan A students select a research advisor during their first two semesters of residence. The selection of an advisor is an important decision that can have a significant impact on a student's career direction and professional development. Because of the low ratio of graduate students to faculty, students generally have no difficulty identifying an advisor who can provide appropriate guidance in planning their coursework and thesis research.

After selecting an advisor from a nationally and internationally recognized faculty in our department, each student is assigned a desk and bench space in the advisor's laboratory. Students have access to research facilities, both in and outside the department. Funds to purchase supplies and for related expenses are provided through various research grants.

Typical Plan-A program of study for students in each of the program's five areas are given below. Every Plan-A program will also include Masters Thesis Credits, CHEM 8777, and Seminar, CHEM 8184.

Students completing a Plan-B Masters degree must add 10 course credits plus Seminar, CHEM 8184, to each of the programs below.

Research and Final Thesis

Our graduate program provides the students with the opportunity of conducting, communicating, and publishing original research in chemistry and related fields under the supervision of graduate faculty.

MS students are expected to communicate the results of their research in the form of a final written thesis, a departmental seminar, thesis defense in front of a chosen committee, and publication in the scientific literature as well as conferences.