Apr 15, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biochemistry, M.S.


Acceptance as a Graduate Student

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

Bachelor’s Degree Requirement

A bachelor’s degree with a major in chemistry or biochemistry or one of the biological sciences. Students with majors in other areas may be considered for admission at the discretion of the Graduate Advisor. Prerequisite courses include


A student deficient in any of these courses must complete the course(s) as a graduate student.

Placement Examination in Biochemistry

Entering graduate students are required to take a placement examination in biochemistry at the beginning of the first semester of the MS program. A second placement examination in either organic chemistry or physical chemistry must be taken by the beginning of the second semester. Any student failing to pass a placement examination, is required to complete an appropriate course recommended by the Graduate Studies Committee with a minimum grade of “B” or better. Usually the recommended courses are:


Under some circumstances, with the approval of the Graduate Advisor, students may take both placement examinations at the beginning of the first semester.

Placement Examinations

The placement examinations are usually given on the Monday 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. 5. Entering students must select a research advisor by the ninth week of the first semester. The advisor will select two additional faculty members to serve on the Thesis Committee by the end of the 13th week of the first semester. The Thesis Committee will prepare a degree program including the following (1) the second placement examinations (in organic or physical chemistry) the student will take at the beginning of the second semester, (2) a list of graduate courses to be completed in the course of the program. The degree program must be finalized and forwarded to the Graduate Advisor by the end of the first semester in residence. Any changes in the approved degree program must be preauthorized by the Graduate Advisor.

Thesis Proposal

Each student shall prepare a thesis proposal in collaboration with the thesis advisor, stating the specific topic of the research and its significance, the specific objectives of the research, and the methods to be used. The thesis proposal must be approved by the Thesis Committee. The student 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 Department’s Graduate Studies Committee recommends advancement to candidacy after the graduate student has:

Passed all the required placement examinations

Either passed all the required placement examinations including those recommended by the Thesis Committee or achieved a grade of B or better in courses recommended by the Graduate Studies Committee for correcting the deficiencies;

Completed at least 6 units of courses on the proposed Graduate Program

Upper Division and Graduate Work

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 gpa in all CHEM courses, and a 3.0 gpa in all courses on the graduate program.

Fulfilled the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

Approval of a Graduate Degree Program

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 responsible for graduate studies in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Public Presentation of their Thesis Proposal

Made a public presentation of their thesis proposal and made appropriate progress in their proposed research as determined by the Thesis committee.


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. Students should be advanced to candidacy as soon as they are eligible.


Advancement to candidacy

Complete a minimum of 30 units including:

Take a minimum of 12 units in chemistry lecture courses in the 500 series

That must include:


In some circumstances, 3 units of another 500-level biology lecture course may be substituted with the approval of the Graduate Advisor.

Take the following course:

  • CHEM 595 - Colloquium (2 units)

Take the following course:

  • CHEM 660 - Seminar in Chemistry (1-3 units)

Take all of the following courses:

Take the following course:

Additional 400- and 500-level science courses

Additional 400- and 500-level science courses (excluding CHEM 595 and required courses in the BS Biochemistry degree program) 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 or designee.

Completion of a Written Thesis

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.

Regular Attendance

A record of regular attendance at departmental seminars, poster sessions, thesis proposal presentations and thesis defenses.

Experience Teaching Laboratory Sections of Chemistry Courses

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.