MS Chemistry – Biochemistry Concentration


You will need to complete 30 semester hours with a B average (GPA 3.0) to graduate. If you have an assistantship, you will need to maintain a GPA of 3.0 at all times to keep the assistantship. To complete the program in two years, you will need to take 7-8 credits in each semester excluding Summer. You do not need to register for any courses during the Summer Semester, unless you graduate during Summer. The following courses are required:

Four core courses in the major areas of biochemistry are required for the Master of Science degree:

  • CHE 556 – Biochemistry I*
  • CHE 557 – Biochemistry II*
  • CHE 656 – Enzyme Mechanisms
  • CHE 663 – Spectroscopy and Analysis of Biomolecules

In addition, students must select one elective from the chemistry core courses (CHE 553, CHE 632, CHE 641, and CHE 661) and one elective in biochemistry or from a list of approved biochemistry-related courses, including many offered by other departments. Additional electives may be chosen from the chemistry and biochemistry courses or from the list of biochemistry-related courses.

* Many new graduate students have taken CHE556/557 or an equivalent 2-semester biochemistry course as an undergraduate.  In most cases, such a student is considered to have satisfied that requirement for the MS degree.  However, the 6 credit hours from CHE556/557 are a separate issue and cannot be used towards the 30 credit hour requirement of the MS degree.  Students who fall in this category simply need to recover these 6 credit hours through extra elective courses, perhaps in combination with CHE680 and CHE699 credits.  However, note that only a maximum of 6 credits from each of CHE680 and CHE699 may count towards the 30 credit requirement of the MS (see below).  Finally, please note that a single-semester biochemistry course (such as our CHE420 course here) cannot be applied towards this requirement.  Students who have had only that type of biochemistry course need to take CHE556/557. 


Students attend the Department’s weekly seminar series and present two seminars during the course of their Master’s degree studies. One seminar is based on a topic from the recent literature. The first is a presentation of the thesis proposal.  The second seminar is a presentation of the thesis research and should generally be given in the semester or summer of graduation.  These seminar experiences provide strong preparation for future professional presentations. The seminars are presented in the context of courses:

  • CHE 601 – Graduate Seminar I
  • CHE 602 – Graduate Seminar II

Research and Thesis

Each graduate student in the M.S. Biochemistry program must carry out a research project and write a Master’s thesis based on the research. Course credit for research is accumulated through two courses, which may be taken for up to 6 credits each:

  • CHE 680 – Research Problems in Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • CHE 699 – Thesis

Students choose a research advisor and begin research under the course number CHE 680. Before registering for CHE 699, students must write a research proposal and present it to his or her thesis committee. The research project and thesis are an important part of the M.S. program, accounting for at least a third of the credit hours earned. Actual effort invested in the research project may be much greater, since students must work toward completion of a project with meaningful results. During the summer, students supported by assistantships should devote full-time effort to making major progress on the research project.

Electives and additional research

(10 or more credits) You will need to take 10 semester hours of electives and research. One of these must be a Chemistry Core course (CHE 553, CHE 632, CHE 641, or CHE 661). Research Problems (CHE 680), which will get you started on research, can be taken for up to 6 hours. You will need to take at least one elective course in biochemistry, chemistry, or biochemistry-related areas.

Introduction to Seminar

All graduate students, regardless of whether they are registered for a seminar course, are required to attendall seminars related to CHE 602, as well as additional symposia and guest seminars.  This is part of your broad training in chemistry.