Graduate Program

Graduate students Bennett Hanson and Nicole Franklin doing maintenance on the mass spectrometer.

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Our Graduate Program

M.S. in Chemistry

The M.S. graduate program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMD provides students with a variety of support in order to conduct research in their areas of interest that will further their career plans in chemistry and related fields.

Students accepted into the M.S. program are eligible for financial assistance, primarily in the form of teaching assistantships.

Assistantships include approximately $17,000 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 is generally available to students working on their thesis research during the summer months. The award of a teaching assistantship is based on the review of the application for admission.

Chemistry M.S. at UMD: Two Options

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.

What do our students do after graduation?

There are typically 25 to 30 students in residence. Our MS students tend to be split 50/50 between those that go directly into industry jobs and those that go on to more education after they finish. More education tends to mostly be PhD programs (examples include Cornell, Purdue, U Florida, U South Carolina, Johns Hopkins, UC Davis, UW Madison) though we do have some students that move on to MD, MD/PhD, or Pharmacy programs. Industry jobs include both public sector (laboratory technicians at places like EPA, Natural Resources Research Institute, and county and state labs) and private sector (3M, Agilent, various instrument sales companies).

Selection of a Research Advisor

Plan A students select a research advisor during their first 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, 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.

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, public thesis defense, and publication in the scientific literature as well as conferences.

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