Jul 19, 2018  
2014 - 2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014 - 2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry Department



View the Chemistry Faculty .

The Chemistry Program

The Chemistry Department offers graduate study and research leading to a Masters degree. The department consists of sixteen faculty with research interests in all the major subdisciplines of chemistry. The intimate scale of the Masters degree programs in chemistry creates professionally advantageous opportunities for students with a wide variety of backgrounds and career objectives. Faculty members work closely with students to tailor the program to their individual needs. In cooperation with the Applied Science Department, Chemistry faculty members may supervise the dissertation research of Applied Science Ph.D. degree candidates.

Students are provided with full tuition waivers as well as teaching and/or research assistantships. The program usually takes no more than 24 months and enables students to fortify their academic background in chemistry while conducting publishable research in close collaboration with faculty. The department maintains a wide range of instrumentation used by students in their research. Classes are typically very small and can be taken in all major subdisciplines of chemistry, as well as related fields of science. Most graduate students have opportunities to mentor undergraduates and present their results at local and national meetings. Some students earning a Masters degree in chemistry will go directly to industrial positions with a strong career trajectory or continue their education in quality Ph.D. programs. Recent graduates are attending Northwestern University, Purdue University, the University of California at San Diego and the University of Texas at Austin. Other students use the program as a stepping-stone to professional degree programs in education, law and medicine.


The graduate degree programs in Chemistry are designed to flexibly prepare students for their choice of doctoral programs, careers in industry, or medical and other professional degree programs. Graduate students actively participate in the Analytical, Biochemical, Inorganic, Organic, Physical or Polymer research programs of the faculty, producing high-quality, publishable results. In consultation with their research supervisor, students select courses complementing their research and professional interests from chemistry or related fields, especially biology, applied science, and marine science. Thesis-based degree programs include an accelerated combined B.S./M.S. degree in Chemistry, a traditional M.S. in Chemistry, and an M.S. in Environmental Chemistry offered in cooperation with the School of Marine Science. A thesis is not required for the M.A. in Chemistry nor the combined M.S. in Chemistry/Ph.D. in Applied Science, however the later requires a dissertation (See full description of Ph.D program in Applied Science). An industrial internship is possible for the three M.S. Chemistry degree programs.

Additional information about the department can be found on the web at www.wm.edu/as/chemistry.


All applicants must submit scores for the aptitude portions of the Graduate Record Exam. The subject portion (Chemistry) is recommended but not required.

Matriculating undergraduates interested in the accelerated combined B.S./M.S. degree program should contact the Chemistry Department when they arrive for advising. Chemistry concentrators may apply for formal admission to the accelerated combined degree program in the second semester of their junior year. Applicants must have completed the first two years of chemistry as well as the physics and math prerequisites before their 3rd year, completed all non-chemistry courses required for the B.S. degree before the 4th year, need no more than one undergraduate chemistry course and an associated lab to complete their B.S. degrees in the 4th year, and possess an overall GPA average of 3.0 and a 3.0 in chemistry courses.

The Graduate Admissions Committee of the Chemistry Department solely considers admission to the Chemistry M.S. degree programs. Applicants interested in earning a Ph.D. in Applied Science based on research with one of the Chemistry faculty have the options of applying directly to the Ph.D. program in Applied Science or of applying to the Chemistry M.S. degree program with the intent of later applying for admission to the Ph.D. program in Applied Science.

Chemistry Laboratory Facilities

There are stockrooms, a reading room, a glass-blowing shop, shared instrumentation laboratories for multi-nuclear magnetic resonance, chromatography, spectroscopy (uv/visible, fluorescence, and atomic absorption), mass spectrometry and polymer characterization, as well as a regional X-ray diffraction facility. These facilities, and collaborations with other departments, the Virginia Institute for Marine Science, the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton and institutions throughout the US, support research across the spectrum of traditional chemistry areas.

Programs and Course Descriptions

Description of Courses

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are graded using standard grading [A, B, C, D, F] scheme (See Grading and Academic Progress  in the section entitled 'Graduate Regulations ') and may not be repeated for credit (See Repeated Courses  requirements in the section entitled 'Graduate Regulations ').