Old Dominion University
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College of Sciences

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Master of Science - Chemistry


An application, transcripts, two letters of recommendation from former college instructors, a resume, an essay about career goals and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (aptitude section) are required for consideration of admission to the program. Admission to regular status requires a grade point average of 3.00 in the major and 2.80 overall (on a 4.00 scale). General university admission requirements also apply. In addition, a Bachelor of Science degree (or equivalent) with a major in chemistry (or another science) is required, although applications from majors in all science disciplines are encouraged. Undergraduate courses in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry (quantitative and instrumental analysis), physical chemistry and calculus are required for regular admission. Deficiencies in any of these areas will be identified and must be rectified by taking undergraduate coursework.


Writing Proficiency Policy. The departmental graduate committee will request a writing sample from each new student. If the graduate committee feels that remedial assistance in writing is needed, the student will be referred to the Writing Center.

Options. Candidates for the master's degree have two options in their program: the research/thesis option and the non-thesis option.

Courses. A minimum of 30 hours is required for the thesis option, including six hours for research and thesis. A minimum of 33 hours is required for the non-thesis option, including three hours for independent study. Up to 15 hours may be taken in related courses given by other departments provided they are approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. At least 60% of the credit hours must be from 600-level courses or higher.

Core Courses. There are five core areas. These are analytical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry. Students enrolled in the research/thesis option must take one course from three different core areas; non-thesis option students must take one course from each of the core areas.

Seminar. All students are required to register for seminar CHEM 610 (one credit, pass/fail) and attend departmental seminars for one semester. Failure to attend at least 75 percent of the departmental seminars will result in a grade of incomplete (I), which must be converted to a passing grade by writing a literature research paper on the work of one of the seminar speakers. During their last semester, students are required to register for seminar class CHEM 611 (two credits, graded) and present a seminar on their research.

Research and Thesis. During their first semester (and not later than the end of their first academic year), students electing the Research/Thesis Option are required to interview the chemistry graduate faculty, choose a graduate faculty research advisor, and develop a research committee. Upon completion of their research, the student must write a formal thesis acceptable to his/her research committee and defend it to his/her research committee.

Non-Thesis Option.  Not later than the end of their first academic year, students electing the Non-Thesis option are required to interview the chemistry graduate faculty and choose a graduate faculty independent study advisor. Non-thesis students and their independent study advisor will then agree upon an independent study project. Upon completion of their independent study project, non-thesis students must write a formal independent study report acceptable to their independent study advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee and pass an oral exam on their project.