Admission Requirements Degree Requirements

Mailing Address:
Department of Chemistry (MC 111)
845 West Taylor Street
Room 4500, SES
Chicago, IL 60607-7061

Campus Location: 4500 SES
Program Codes: 20FS0335MS (MS); 20FS0335PHD (PhD)
Telephone: (312) 996-3161
Web Site:
Head of the Department: Robert J. Gordon
Director of Graduate Studies: Scott Shippy
Associate Director of Graduate Studies: Richard J. Kassner

The Department of Chemistry offers work leading to Chemistry degrees at both the master’s and doctoral levels, and participates in the Interdepartmental Concentration in Neuroscience. Study and research is available in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and biochemistry.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. They are urged to contact the graduate coordinator ( prior to submitting a formal application. Complete transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate course work must be submitted. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy

  • Baccalaureate Field Chemistry or biochemistry. Other fields are considered on an individual basis.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 in mathematics and science courses other than independent study or research courses and at least 2.75 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study.
  • Tests Required GRE Subject Test in Chemistry and GRE General Test.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score
    • TOEFL 550 (paper-based); 213 (computer-based); 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required.
  • Personal Statement Required as part of the Application for Graduate Appointment (form accessible online at Statement should be submitted on a separate sheet. Research background and interests should be emphasized, and a discussion of the applicant's suitability to our graduate program should be provided. 
  • Nondegree Applicants Nondegree applicants must submit a transcript from their baccalaureate institution.

Degree Requirements

After admission, all entering students must take placement examinations. The placement examinations, which are at a level of typical terminal college courses, are offered in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and biochemistry. All graduate students must show proficiency in three areas of their choice. A deficiency in an area must be remedied by taking an advanced undergraduate or a graduate-level course in the area.

The MS degree is not a prerequisite to the PhD degree in Chemistry. Students are normally admitted directly to the PhD program. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Science

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 32.
  • Thesis, Project, or Course Work Only Options Students elect one of three options: course work only, course work plus examination, or course work plus thesis.
    • Course Work: For students in all options, at least 24 of the 32 hours must be within the Department of Chemistry. All courses from outside the Department of Chemistry must be approved by the Graduate Advising Committee. At least four lecture courses must be taken at the 500-level. No more than 8 semester hours of seminar or research courses may be applied to the master’s degree. If the CHEM 592 research course is used, a project report must be submitted and approved. Students in the course-work-only option must complete all course work for the master’s degree within three semesters, excluding summers; those who fail to do so must then select one of the other two options.
    • Course Work plus Examination: Required for students who stay beyond 3 semesters and elect to pursue the examination option. These students must pass two cumulative examinations by the end of the second year in addition to all the course work requirements noted above.
    • Course Work plus Thesis: Students may elect to submit and defend a thesis based on their research in addition to 24 hours of graduate level course work in chemistry, as described above

Doctor of Philosophy

Students seeking a PhD degree are encouraged to enter this program immediately after completion of their undergraduate studies. The MS degree is not a prerequisite to the PhD degree in Chemistry.

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 hours beyond the baccalaureate.
  • Course Work At least 9 hours must be in lecture courses at the 500-level in the student’s major area and 3 hours must be in a chemistry lecture course at the 500-level (or 6 hours in lecture courses at the 400-level in one field) outside the student’s major area. Students must meet the seminar requirements of their major concentration within the program. Students found to be deficient in specific areas of chemistry on the basis of placement examinations may have to complete additional courses.
  • Preliminary Examination Required. Candidates must pass the cumulative examination requirement and have a Research Committee Meeting by the end of the second year in the program. Advancing to candidacy is dependent on satisfactory completion of these requirements within the time limit set by the department.
  • Dissertation Required.

Interdepartmental Concentration in Neuroscience

Doctoral students may pursue the Interdepartmental Concentration in Neuroscience. Refer to Interdepartmental Concentration in Neuroscience in the Graduate College section for more information.