Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Master of Science Degree - Aspire

Thirty credits are required for the M.S. degree. The Study Plan for the M.S. must include the core courses. Although a thesis is not required, except for students on graduate appointments, students are encouraged to undertake a thesis (Ch 900) for at least five credits, or a Special Research Problem (Ch 800) for 3 credits. The total number of credits earned in pursuing both thesis and special research problem must not exceed 10 credits and is included in the 30 credits required for the degree. The thesis must be written and must conform to the standards of the Stevens Library. An oral defense is not required, but the thesis must be presented in a departmental seminar. A written report is required for the Special Research Problem. All fellows and teaching or research assistants are expected to complete a thesis. For more details about our graduate program requirements, see our Graduate Student Handbook.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree - Stretch

The Master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission to the doctoral program. Admission to the doctoral program is based on 1) GRE score, and 2) reasonable evidence that the student will prove capable of specialization on a broad intellectual foundation. Specifically, students will be admitted to the doctoral program only if the Admissions Committee feels that he/she is reasonably well prepared for the Qualifying Examinations in Chemistry or Chemical Biology, which must be passed within a 10-month period in the PhD program. Applicants with good academic records who lack this level of preparation may be admitted initially to the M.S. program. A student enrolled in the Master's program in Chemistry or Chemical Biology must request admission to the doctoral program through the department's Admissions Committee. Continuation in the doctoral program is contingent on passing the Qualifying Examination, Preliminary Examination, and meeting all other requirements.

The purpose of the doctoral program is to educate scientists who are prepared to carry out independent investigations. While courses provide the tools for independent work, a large part of the doctoral work is done through independent study. This includes preparation for the qualifying and preliminary examinations, the preparation of research proposals and seminars and familiarity with the current scientific literature in the area of specialization.

Ninety credits of graduate work in an approved program of study are required beyond the bachelor's degree; this may include up to 30 credits obtained in a master's degree program, if the area of the master's degree is relevant to the doctoral program. Those with a master's degree who wish to transfer those credits toward the Ph.D. must be aware that only one master's degree can be used toward the Ph.D. A doctoral dissertation based on the results of original research, carried out under the guidance of a faculty member and defended in a public examination, is a major component of the doctoral program, and is included in the 90-credit requirement. For more details about program requirements, see our Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduate Certificate Programs - Move Ahead

In addition to the degree programs, the Department currently offers "mini-graduate" programs leading to the Certificate of Special Study in one of six areas: Analytical Chemistry, Bioinformatics, Biomedical Chemistry , Chemical Biology, Chemical Physiology, and Polymer Chemistry . Students in these certificate programs must meet the same admission and performance standards as regular degree graduate students. Each of the certificate programs requires twelve credits (four courses), all of which are transferable to the appropriate Master's degree program. See below for Graduate Certificate Programs Admissions details. Please consult our Graduate Student Handbook for additional information.

Degree Programs - Challenge

Degree programs (Master and Ph.D.) have the dual purpose of providing the broad basis for continued intellectual growth as well as specialization. The former is accomplished through a set of required core courses, which all students in the program must take. The latter is accomplished through electives chosen to meet the student's educational objectives.

While flexibility is intended in designing a student's program, every program must include: i) any background courses required to correct deficiencies, and ii) the required core courses.

All students should be familiar with the Institute's rules governing all graduate programs (see the Graduate Student Handbook). In particular, the following should be noted:

  • For the Master's degree, the maximum number of credits that may be transferred from another institution is nine. These credits cannot have been used to obtain another degree.
  • For the Ph.D. degree, a prior Master's degree may be transferred for up to 30 credits. Up to one-third of additional course credits may be transferred with the approval of the advisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School provided they have not been used to obtain another degree.
  • A B- or better average is required (exclusive of transfer courses) not only for the overall program, but also for the courses in a student's major, which must amount to at least 20 credits.

Admissions - Start Now

Educational programs and research span the separate disciplines of chemistry and biology. A combined department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, however, reflects the close overlap and strong interaction of these fields, and provides unique opportunities for students in the graduate programs. Students also have access to equipment and expertise not usually available within the separate disciplines.


Admission criteria are different for each program. Students may enroll only for the program to which they have been admitted. A student admitted to Chemical Biology, for example, may not switch to Chemistry without having been admitted to Chemistry, and vice versa. Each program has distinct prerequisites, course requirements, and degree requirements.

Admission to the graduate program in Chemistry requires an undergraduate preparation which includes organic chemistry (1 year), physical chemistry, analytical chemistry (including instrumental analysis), and other advanced chemistry courses, as well as adequate preparation in physics and calculus. Applicants whose undergraduate degree is in chemical engineering or biology can be considered for admission provided their record shows the previous requirements.

Admission to the graduate program in Chemical Biology requires undergraduate biology courses which include at least cell biology and physiology, and a strong preparation in chemistry, which encompasses organic chemistry, and additional chemistry courses (physical chemistry and analytical chemistry strongly preferred). Applicants who lack any of these subjects on their undergraduate records may be admitted provisionally until these deficiencies have been satisfied.

Students in either Chemistry or Chemical Biology are admitted to graduate study in one of several categories:

Acceptance as a Special Student does not guarantee admission to Master's or Ph.D. programs; likewise, admission to the Master's program does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program. Students who wish to change programs, from Chemistry to Chemical Biology or vice versa, or students in the M.S. program who wish to be admitted to the Ph.D. program, must request the Admissions Committee in writing to evaluate their credentials for admission to the new program. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for admission to Ph.D. programs.

Master of Science Programs

Applicants must show evidence that their educational background and undergraduate preparation is adequate to succeed in the core courses, elective courses, and research that are required for the degree. Students with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 will, in general, not be admitted to Master's programs. The TOEFL is required of international students.

Doctoral Programs

The doctoral program is a community of scholars. Applicants will not be admitted to the doctoral program without evidence that they can pass the required examinations, perform a credible dissertation based on original research, succeed in course work, and live up to the high standards expected of the Ph.D. degree. For admission to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, the Graduate Record Examination is required . Although a minimum acceptable score is not specified, a score of less than 600 in the Quantitative Section stands little chance of being admitted. Applicants should also have a GPA of 3.4 or better for admission. The TOEFL is required of international students.

The first major examination in the doctoral program is the Qualifying Examination, which must be passed within 10 months after acquiring 30 graduate credits and matriculating in the doctoral program. The matriculation date is the date that the graduate program advisor signs the doctoral study plan. Results of a similar examination taken at another institution or in another program are not transferable to Chemistry or Chemical Biology at Stevens. All parts of the Qualifying Examination must be taken at the same sitting and a single pass or fail grade is issued for the entire examination. The Examination is offered three times a year, on the fourth Monday of September, the fourth Monday of February, and the second Monday of June. Further details about the Qualifying Examination, Preliminary Examination, and graduate study in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology are found in the manual entitled, Departmental Requirements for Graduate Study in Chemistry and Chemical Biology .

Graduate Certificate Programs

Students may be admitted for study in a Graduate Certificate Program consisting of four courses. The student may not enroll in any other courses besides those that are part of the Certificate Program. Although courses in a Graduate Certificate Program can be credited towards a Masters Degree, there is no implication or promise that the student in a Certificate Program will be admitted to the Masters degree program. The student's record must indicate that he/she has the necessary background to complete the courses satisfactorily.

Special Student

A student may be admitted to a non-degree program to take one or more specific courses, depending on the student's needs and qualifications. Necessary qualifications generally include a bachelor's degree with 3.0 GPA minimum. Special Students are limited to four courses in this category. There is no promise or implication that a Special Student will be eventually admitted to a degree program. The student's record must indicate that he/she has the necessary background to complete the courses satisfactorily.

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