Master's Program

Qualification and Course Work
The purpose of Qualification is to demonstrate proficiency in core areas of chemistry. Graduate students entering the Chemistry Department Graduate Program will be given Qualifying Exams in each of the 4 core areas of Chemistry (Analytical, Inorganic, Organic and Physical) prior to registration. These exams are administered in August and January by the Chemistry Department. A student must pass the exams in two or more areas to be Qualified for the M.S. graduate program.

Entering graduate students who do not pass at least two of the Qualifying Exams when they first enter the Chemistry Department Graduate Program can qualify for the M.S. program by three different methods.

  1. A student can retake one or two qualifying exams prior to registration for their second semester during the regular school year. (This does not include the summer semester.) It is assumed that the student will prepare for this exam by independent study.
  2. A student can qualify in an area by passing an approved graduate level course in the area with a grade of B or better. The approved courses are listed below.

    Analytical Chem. 8085 (in analytical chemistry), 8210, 8230, 8250, 8270

    Inorganic Any graduate level (8xxx) inorganic course (i.e., Chem. 8085 (in inorganic chemistry), 8400, 8410, 8440, 8450

    Organic Chem. 8150, 8160, 8170

    Physical Chem. 8310, 8320, 8330, 8340

  3. A student can qualify in an area by passing an approved undergraduate level course in the area with a grade of B or better. The approved courses are listed below.

    Analytical Chem 7200
    Inorganic Chem 7400
    Physical Chem 7330

Students must qualify for the M.S. program by the end of their second semester of the regular school year. (This does not include summer session.) Failure to qualify will result in dismissal from the Chemistry Department Graduate Program. No more than two C grades can be accepted. Masters students are required to comply with the Graduate School's GPA requirements, namely that all graduate work attempted at MU must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

An MS program of study must include a minimum of 30 hours of work beyond the bachelor's degree. This total is usually comprised of 15 hours of graduate level coursework (including a minimum of one 8000-level course), one credit hour for the graduate student orientation seminar in the first semester of the first year (Chem 7087), two hours of seminar (Chem 8087, one hour for a literature presentation in departmental seminar, and one hour for the dissertation seminar in the student's final semester), and up to 12 hours of credit in thesis research (Chem 8090). A maximum of six hours of graduate work completed elsewhere also may be applied towards the 30-hour requirement (with the approval of the student's advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies).

Typically: Semester 1. Two, 3 h 8000-level graduate courses; 1 h of 7087 new graduate student seminar; Semester 2. Two, 3 h 8000-level graduate courses; Semester 3. One, 3 h 8000-level graduate course, 1 credit hour 8087 seminar presentation; Final semester. 1 credit hour 8087 Dissertation seminar; at least 12 h of research credit hours will be taken over the course of the degree program.  The coursework should include three courses in the student's area of emphasis and two outside their area of emphasis (e.g. organic, inorganic, physical, analytical, or biological).

Advisors and Advisory Committees
Students are strongly encouraged to select a research advisor by the beginning of their second semester (fall entrance) and must select an advisor by the end of the semester preceding their first summer of research. With his/her advisor, the student will recommend faculty for appointment to his/her Masters Program Committee and submit the appropriate Graduate School forms. (The final membership of the committee must be approved by the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.)

  1. When the advisor has been selected, the student files the M-1 form, the application for the masters degree. This form includes an outline of the courses to be completed for the degree.
  2. Students will submit a written report summarizing their research progress to their Masters Advisory Committee and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies no later than September 30 after the first summer of research. This report will help the Masters Advisory Committee evaluate the student's progress. The report [minimum 2 typed (12 pt. font, 1” margins, and double-spaced) pages] should present the student's research in the context of what already exists in the literature. The report should include a brief paragraph-style introduction, bulleted experimental section, and paragraph-style future studies/directions. Figures, data tables, experimental details, and journal references should be included, as appropriate, but are not included in the page total. Students are encouraged to consult the ACS Style Guide for the proper formats. The student's Masters Advisory Committee will decide if this requirement has been met satisfactorily or if revisions are necessary.
  3. By the end of the first year, an advisory committee will be appointed which will oversee the student's progress towards a degree. Three committee members (including the advisor, another chemistry faculty member, and a member from outside the Chemistry Department) are selected in consultation with the Department's Graduate Program Committee and the student's advisor at a meeting held near the end of the second semester. This advisory committee is expected to meet with the student at least once each year and to file a formal report with the Director of Graduate Studies indicating the student's progress towards the degree. This committee normally also serves as the formal thesis committee; form M-thesis A should be filed with the Graduate School at this time in order to formalize the appointment of the committee.

The thesis is the result of the student's own work. It is to be prepared according to Graduate School guidelines and submitted to the three readers on the student's thesis committee. Submission to the readers must be early enough for them to have an opportunity to go over the work.

  1. Form M-thesis B is submitted with the thesis at least one month before graduation. This form, which also sets the date for the final examination, must bear the signatures of the first, second, and third readers of the thesis.
  2. The time and place of the final thesis defense and examination is publicized to all faculty and graduate students. Faculty are invited to all oral exams; graduate students are invited to the initial open phase of the exams. Students must be enrolled during the semester or summer session in which the exam is held. Exams should be held while the University is in session. The result of the final exam is reported to the Graduate School.
  3. Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines

Seminars and Colloquia
Each student is required to attend regularly scheduled Departmental Colloquia and either one of the DyNAMITE or Organic seminar programs. Seminars are announced weekly in the departmental newsletter.

Any questions regarding decisions made by the Graduate Program Committee should be submitted in writing to the Committee Chair.