Chemistry Department

MS - Chemistry

The MS Chemistry degree is designed for persons who seek greater competency in chemical research or for those who want an introduction to graduate work before starting a program for the PhD degree. Emphasis is placed upon, but not limited to, training in advanced laboratory techniques, operation of state-of-the-art instruments, data acquisition and interpretation, and strategies involved in designing and conducting research in chemistry.

For more information visit the Chemistry Department's Graduate Programs webpage.

Admissions Requirements

The applicant must apply to and be admitted by both San José State University and the Chemistry Department. Check the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations website (GAPE) and the Chemistry Department website for the most up-to-date instructions.

Admission by the University

Students are admitted to the program by the Chemistry Department Graduate Advisor after they have been admitted to the graduate school by the university. University admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree (or equivalent), a minimum 2.5 GPA, and good standing at the last college or university attended. Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage of GAPE.

Admission to the Chemistry Department

The Chemistry Department requires further that the bachelor's degree be in chemistry or an intimately related science (e.g., chemical physics, biochemistry, or materials science). In all cases, however, incoming students must have had the equivalent of 40 semester units of undergraduate chemistry including at least 10 units of general chemistry, 10 units of organic chemistry, 4 units of analytical chemistry, and 4 units of physical chemistry. A grade point average of 3.0 or higher for the chemistry coursework is preferred. In addition, admission to Chemistry requires the general GRE examination and at least two, but preferably three, letters of recommendation.

Admissions Status

Admission may be with graduate classified standing, which means that the student is deemed qualified to enroll in the graduate curriculum. In some cases, students are admitted with conditionally classified standing, which means that they must complete specified remedial work and/or graduate work with acceptable grades before they can be moved to classified status. Students with conditionally classified status should complete the conditions of their acceptance as early as possible. Such students may take graduate courses at the same time they are fulfilling the conditions. Prerequisite work is assigned for one or more of the following reasons: 1) low chemistry course GPA in undergraduate work, 2) insufficient number of undergraduate units in chemistry, or 3) lack of coursework in particular areas of study. In order to change from conditionally classified to classified standing, a student must 1) fulfill the conditions, and 2) obtain the Graduate Advisor's signature on the Change of Classification in Graduate Program form. Only students in classified standing may petition for advancement to candidacy, a requirement for graduation.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy

After approximately two semesters of coursework and completion of a preliminary seminar based on a proposed, faculty-guided research project, students may apply for advancement to graduate candidacy for the MS degree. In addition, the student must have graduate classified standing and must have completed CHEM 100W for the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). The Preliminary Seminar Guidelines and Evaluation form may be found on the Chemistry Department Forms webpage. The 30-unit Proposed Graduate Degree Program is written by the Graduate Advisor in consultation with the student and entered on the Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy form which must be approved and signed by both the student's Research Advisor and the Graduate Advisor. Students cannot enroll in CHEM 299 (Thesis) or apply for graduation until they are official candidates for a degree. See the Graduate Policies and Procedures section of this catalog for further details regarding university requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the master's degree.

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

MS - Chemistry Graduation Requirements

In addition to completing the 30 units of coursework listed on the approved Candidacy form, a MS degree candidate in Chemistry must complete the following activities as part of their culminating experience:

Final Seminar

All MS candidates are required to present a departmental seminar based on their research project. The seminar is scheduled through the faculty instructor for CHEM 285 and, therefore, must take place during the fall or spring semester.

Final Oral Examination

All MS candidates are required to pass a Final Oral Examination based on the research project as detailed in the thesis. The Final Oral Examination is administered by the thesis committee, and the candidate must provide the committee with a copy of the thesis for review at least two weeks prior to the exam date. The Final Oral Examination may be scheduled on the same date as the Final Seminar if the two-week thesis delivery requirement is met.

The Thesis

The MS thesis document must be approved by the student's thesis research committee before submission. Typically, the thesis committee will provide the candidate feedback during the Final Oral Examination and may request changes to the thesis before final approval. See the most current version of the SJSU Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines and the submission deadlines set by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
This requirement is satisfied by passing CHEM 100W
Requirements of the Masters30
Core Courses19-26
CHEM 120S. Chemical Safety Seminar1
CHEM 285. Seminar2-3
CHEM 285 will be taken six times
CHEM 298. Research4-10
Must be taken for a minimum of 4 units but can be taken for maximum of 10 units
CHEM 200-Level Courses12
Preliminary Seminar Presentation
Any 200-level CHEM course or any 100-level CHEM course with graduate advisor consent
1-4 Upper-division electives must be from among the following:
CHEM 101. Chemistry and the Computer3
CHEM 114. Advanced Organic Chemistry Lab3
CHEM 121S. Radiation Safety1-2
CHEM 126. Introduction to Nuclear Science3
CHEM 127. Nuclear Science Lab3
CHEM 130A. Biochemistry4
CHEM 130B. Biochemistry4
CHEM 130C. Biochemistry3
CHEM 131A. Biochemistry Lab2
CHEM 135. General Biochemistry4
CHEM 145. Inorganic Chemistry3
CHEM 146. Physical-Inorganic Techniques3
CHEM 155. Instrumental Analysis4
CHEM 173. Polymer Chemistry3
Culminating Experience (Plan A only)2
CHEM 299. Master's Thesis1-6
Department Seminar Presentation
Oral Examination

Total Units:30

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.