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Chemistry, MS, PhD - Curriculum & Duration


The research oriented MS (thesis) and PhD degrees require a minimum of 23 semester hours of didactic coursework, which includes both core and elective courses. These courses are selected in consultation with the Research Advisor, Advisory Committee, and the Department's Graduate Program Director. Each student is also expected to participate in the Department's seminar program where both literature and research seminars are delivered to students and faculty on a weekly basis during the semester.

MS Students in the non-thesis program take an additional 10 semester hours of didactic coursework in lieu of research credits. Full curricula requirements for all tracks are detailed below.

Selection of a Research Advisor (MS Thesis and PhD)

Upon entering the graduate program, all students register for research rotations with at least two potential research advisors. This laboratory rotation program is designed to expose the student to the available research opportunities in their area of interest. Upon completion of the rotation series, a student is eligible to select a Research Advisor (the advisor usually is, but need not be, one of the rotation advisors). Consult this list of faculty who are available to serve as advisors.  Descriptions of faculty and their research interests will help you select a potential research advisor.

Once the advisor is selected, an Advisory Committee is formed, typically consisting of three or four faculty members with appropriate expertise, and is designed to assist the student in their research endeavors. With the aid of the research advisor, you will write a research prospectus outlining your proposed research program. This prospectus must be presented to and approved by your Advisory Committee before you can begin the thesis research.

Research Project (MS Thesis and PhD)

Students in the MS Thesis and PhD programs are expected to carry out an independent, original research project under the direction of a one of these graduate faculty members in the Department, with the guidance of an Advisory Committee. The equivalent of at least 2 semesters of full-time research are minimally required to qualify for the MS Thesis degree, while at least 4 semesters of full-time research are minimally required for the PhD degree. Additionally, thesis students are required to present (MS and PhD) and publish (PhD) their research findings as a part of their degree requirements.

Thesis Dissertation and Final Defense (MS Thesis and PhD)

Upon completion of the research project that is necessary for the MS (thesis) and PhD degrees, you must write a thesis describing your research accomplishments, and successfully defend that thesis at a final oral examination before the members of the Advisory Committee.


Prerequisites for MS (thesis and non-thesis) and PhD

Each student in expected to have completed the courses listed below, or their equivalent, at an accredited college or university.

  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • Organic Chemistry with Laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Analytical Chemistry, 1 semester
  • English Composition, 1 semester
  • Literature of Chemistry, 1 semester
  • Biochemistry, 1 semester
  • Physical Chemistry, 2 semesters
  • Physical Chemistry Laboratory, 1 semester
  • Instrumental Analysis, 1 semester
  • Inorganic Chemistry, 1 semester

Graduate Core Requirements for MS (thesis and non-thesis) and PhD

Course Number Course Name Credits
CH 805 Critical Evaluation of Literature (Fall Term, 1st year) 1 credit
CH 880 Current Literature (Spring Term, 1st year) 2 credits
CH 802 Research Seminar (2 terms, 2nd year + )** 2 + 0 credits
ST 704 Statistics for Research* 3 credits
CH 786 Research Ethics  1 credit
*ST 710 (Biostatistical Methods) may be substituted at the recommendation of the Advisor or Advisory Committee for those students with no statistics background.
** Students must participate in CH-802 every term after their first year.  The first time taken students will receive 2 credits for the course, in subsequent terms, the course will be taken for 0 credits.

Chemistry Core Requirements for MS (thesis and non-thesis) and PhD

Two graduate courses (6 credits) from the following:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Bioinformatics

Chemistry, MS (non-thesis)

Requirements/Courses Credits
Graduate Core Requirements 9 credits
Chemistry Core Requirements 6 credits
Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry courses*† 18 credits
Total Chemistry, MS (non-thesis)
33 credits

Chemistry, MS (thesis)

Course Number Requirements/Course Name Credits
  Graduate Core Requirements 9 credits
  Chemistry Core Requirements 6 credits
CH878 Introduction to Research 2 credits
CH885 Scientific Writing for Chemistry 3 credits
  Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry course*† 3 credits
CH799 Master's Research 10 credits
 Total Chemistry, MS (thesis) Requirement 33 credits

Chemistry, PhD

Course Number Course Name Credits
  Graduate Core Requirements 9 credits
  Chemistry Core Requirements 6 credit
CH878 Introduction to Research 2 credits
CH885 Scientific Writing for Chemistry 3 credits
  Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry course*† 3 credits
CH899 Doctoral Research 20 credits
 Total Chemistry, PhD 43 credits

*Courses must be approved by Advisor or Advisory Committee.
† May include up to 6 credits of 300 or 400 level courses approved by Advisor and Program Director

Graduate Elective Courses

May include, but is not limited to, the following courses:

Course Number Course Name Credits

CH 714

Structure Activity Relationships

3 credits

CH 716

Chemical Synthesis Laboratory

3 credits

CH 718

Heterocyclic Chemistry

3 credits

CH 721

Chemical Kinetics

3 credits

CH 727

Physical Biochemistry

3 credits

CH 728

Advanced Biochemistry

3 credits

CH 731

Statistical Thermodynamics

3 credits

CH 732

Quantum Chemistry

3 credits

CH 733

Computational Chemistry

3 credits

CH 748

Computer Aided Drug Design

3 credits

CH 762

Analytical Separations Chemistry

3 credits

CH 764

Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry

3 credits

CH 767

Applied Spectroscopy

3 credits

CH 828

Biophysical & Biochemical Methods

3 credits

CH 813

Special Topics in Organic Chemistry

2-3 credits

CH 841

Special Topics in Biochemistry

2-3 credits

CH 863

Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry

2-3 credits

CH 864

Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry

2-3 credits

CH 892

Special Topics in Physical Chemistry

2-3 credits

BI 745

Molecular Evolution & Phylogenetics

3 credits

BI 775


3 credits

BS 767

Cell Biology Methods Lab

2 credits

BS 764


3 credits

BS 765

Biotechnology Lab

2 credits

BS 861

Cell & Molecular Biology

3 credits


John W. Tomsho, PhD
Program Director

Office Location:

Griffith Hall, Room 310A


University of the Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495