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California State University, Long Beach
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Graduate Programs

Master of Science in Chemistry (code CHEMMS01)


1. Acceptance as a graduate student by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry;

2. A bachelor's degree with a major in chemistry; or a bachelor's degree with undergraduate preparation in chemistry, physics and mathematics equivalent to that required for the bachelor's degree with a major in chemistry at this University. A student deficient in any of these courses must complete the course(s) as a graduate student. The courses that must be taken to make up those deficiencies will be determined by the Graduate Adviser in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee. Students with majors in other areas may be considered for admission at the discretion of the Graduate Adviser.

3. Entering graduate students are required to take placement examinations as follows:

  • at the beginning of the first semester of the M.S. program: student chooses to take one placement examination in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical or biochemistry.
  • at the beginning of the second semester of the M.S. program, student takes another placement examination recommended by the Thesis Committee.

Under some circumstances with the approval of the Graduate Adviser, students may take both placement examinations at the beginning of the first semester.
Any student failing to pass a placement examination is required to complete with a minimum grade of "B" or better an appropriate course recommended by the Graduate Studies Committee. Usually the recommended courses are:

  • CHEM 251 and/or 451 if the subject is analytical chemistry;
  • CHEM 431 if the subject is inorganic chemistry;
  • CHEM 320A and/or CHEM 320B if the subject is organic chemistry;
  • CHEM 371A and/or 371B if the subject is physical chemistry;
  • CHEM 441A and/or 441B if the subject is biochemistry.

4. The placement examinations are usually given on the Monday and Tuesday of the week preceding the first day of instruction. The Graduate Studies Committee evaluates the examination results and recommends appropriate courses to correct any deficiencies in chemistry. The Chemistry Graduate Adviser will meet with the student at this time to prepare a tentative degree program.

5. Entering students are required to select a research advisor within eight weeks following the first day of instruction. At this time the student and the advisor will select two additional faculty members to serve on the Thesis Committee. In consultation with the Graduate Adviser, the Thesis Committee will meet before the end of the eleventh week of the semester and plans a course of study with the student's thesis research. The research adviser and/or the Thesis Committee will determine which additional placement examination the student will take at the beginning of the second semester.

6. Each student shall prepare a thesis proposal in collaboration with the research advisor, stating the specific topic of the research and its significance, the specific objectives of the research, and the methods to be used. The student must obtain approval of the thesis proposal and must make a public presentation of the proposal by the end of the second semester in the MS program. Any major change in direction during the course of the research shall be subject to the approval of the Thesis Committee.

Advancement to Candidacy

The regulations governing each student's master's degree are those in effect at the time of the student's advancement to candidacy. The Department recommends advancement to candidacy after the graduate student has:

  • 1. Either passed all the required placement examinations including those recommended by the Thesis Committee or achieved a grade of B or better in each course recommended by the Graduate Studies Committee for correcting the deficiencies;
  • 2. Completed at least 6 units of courses on the proposed Graduate Program;
  • 3. While in residence as a graduate student at this University, earned at least a 3.0 ("B") average in all upper division and graduate work, a 3.0 average in all CHEM courses, and a 3.0 average in all courses on the graduate program.
  • 4. Fulfilled the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR);
  • 5. Obtained approval of a graduate degree program by the Thesis Committee, the Graduate Adviser, the Department Chair (in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee), and the Associate Dean in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The criteria above should be met by the beginning of the third semester of graduate study. Deficient students may continue at the discretion of the Department Graduate Studies Committee.


  • 1. Advancement to candidacy;
  • 2. Complete a minimum of 30 units including:
    • A. Take a minimum of nine units in chemistry lecture courses in the 500 series (excluding CHEM 595);
    • B. Take CHEM 595 Colloquium for a total of 2 or 3 units
    • C. Take both of the following:
      • CHEM 660 Seminar in Chemistry (1,1)
      • CHEM 698 Research and Thesis (4-6)
    • D. The following two courses may be used to complete the 30-unit requirement, but only to the maximum indicated:
      • CHEM 695 Directed Reading (1)
      • CHEM 697 Directed Research (1-6)
    • E. Additional 400- and 500-level science courses (excluding CHEM 595 and courses used to remove deficiencies) as recommended by the Thesis Committee and approved by the Graduate Advisor and the College's Associate Dean.
      • Changes in the above pattern of course requirements may be made only at the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate Advisor subject to approval by the College's Associate Dean.
  • 3. Completion of a written thesis, of publication quality, acceptable to the members of the thesis committee and a public presentation of the thesis research. The public presentation must be completed before the thesis is signed by the committee members.
  • 4. A record of regular attendance at departmental seminars, poster sessions, thesis proposal presentations, and thesis defenses.
  • 5. While not a requirement for the degree, students in the MS program normally gain experience teaching laboratory sections of Chemistry courses, as preparation for professionally related teaching activities in their future careers.