Master's Degree in Chemistry: Program Information and Requirements

Students who would like to secure an entry-level position in the chemistry field typically need a bachelor's degree in chemistry. However, graduate programs open more doors for people who would like to do more advanced work in the field.

Essential Information

Chemists and materials scientists examine how various substances interact with each other for the purposes of improving and creating new products and processes. Students in these programs have the option of focusing their studies in a specific area, such as chemical biology, environmental chemistry, or molecular structure. This master's degree lasts about 18 to 24 months long. A thesis is required for some programs and oral exams.

Master's Degree Programs in Chemistry

Master of Science in Chemistry programs prepare students for a number of career options through coursework in physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, or computational chemistry. Students learn how to apply the scientific method in order to solve complex problems through laboratory work and classroom training in theory. A student's selected focus area will dictate relevant course topics, but commonly available courses include:

  • Instrumental analysis
  • Forensic science
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Biochemistry

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that chemists were expected to see a slower-than-average job growth rate of 3% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This slow growth rate was due to outsourcing of R&D activities. The BLS revealed that chemists reported median annual wages of $71,260, as of May 2015.

Continuing Education

The BLS reports showed that employers were increasingly seeking chemists with a doctoral degree in chemistry. As a result, some students may want to pursue their Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry to increase employment opportunities, expand on their current knowledge, or perform independent research. Students may be required to acquire teaching experience, complete written and oral examinations, and defend a thesis to complete the program.

Master's degree programs in chemistry highlight methodologies, research and clinical work related to chemistry or an area of focus. Graduates may enter into teaching positions or work as chemists or material scientists.

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