The objective of the research track (thesis) MSc program is to provide extensive training in research, with options in Chemistry or Biochemistry. This degree track is intended for students whose career goals align with obtaining a research or technical position in industry, seeking additional graduate training in a doctoral program, or desiring to strengthen critical thinking and scientific writing skills.
Program Learning Objectives
Upon completion of the research track MSc, students will be able to:
Explore graduate-level coursework in chemistry or biochemistry to increase depth and breadth within disciplines of chemistry or biochemistry,
Describe recent advances chemistry or biochemistry,
Develop a hypothesis, design experiments to test that hypothesis, and carry out experiments with evaluation of resultant data,
Hone research skills and develop best practices regarding laboratory notebook upkeep and data management,
Communicate clearly in written and oral formats,
Search for, read critically, evaluate, and summarize peer-reviewed manuscripts in the scientific literature, and
Identify, discuss, and propose solutions for scientific problems.
Research Faculty Advisors
Students are admitted to our program only if they are matched with a research advisor. Our research faculty are included below with the following focus areas available:
Students complete nine credit hours of research and six credit hours of thesis, so this program is quite research heavy. If students are not sure that the research track is the right fit, we also offer the course track (non-thesis) with options in Chemistry or Biochemistry.
Program Admission Requirements
Admission to the MSc program requires that the student meet the following requirements:
Has attained a Bachelors degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or related major* (students in related majors must complete core requirements of UCCS BA degrees in chemistry or biochemistry) from an accredited college or university, and
Has an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher for regular admission or GPA of 2.75-3.00 for provisional admission.
An identified research faculty mentor must agree to mentor the applicant.
International students: The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry welcomes you! We will accept either path for demonstrating English proficiency for non-native English speakers seeking admission to the program:
Bachelors or post-secondary degree from a US-accredited institution or program where English is the language of instruction, or
Demonstrated proficiency in English with earned scores of 100 on the TOEFL, 7 on the iELTS, or 120 on Duolingo.
Please see our overview page of the Admission Process. If you are not sure about which application type best suits your circumstances, please contact the Graduate Program Director (contact information at the bottom of this page).
Applications for the research track are due by April 15th for FALL admission and by September 15th for SPRING admission. If students desire to be considered for financial support, all application materials are due by April 15th for FALL admission.
Program Description and Example Program Plan of Study
The example program plan for the research track is provided here. This is a general program plan, and students should still plan to meet with the Graduate Program Director and/or research advisor once per semester to ensure timely progress through their chosen degree plan.
Program Requirements of MSc – Research Track in Chemistry or Biochemistry
Recommended courses: CHEM 6010, 6020, 6030
Elective courses: 4 courses of CHEM 5xxx
Research credit (required): CHEM 5904
Master’s Thesis (required): CHEM 7000
30 credits in 2 years
Additionally, research students are expected to give two seminars during their time in the program, one in the first fall of the program, Project Introduction, and one seminar in the final semester, Plan to Finish. Details of these seminars are available from the Department Seminar coordinators: Drs. Tvrdy, Klocko, and Vander Zanden.
First Year of the MSc Program
CHEM 6010 (Research Methods), 1 cr.
CHEM 6020 (Journal Club), 1 cr.
CHEM 5xxx, 3 cr.
CHEM 5xxx, 3 cr.
CHEM 5xxx, 3 cr.
CHEM 5904, 2 cr.
CHEM 7000, 1 cr.
Total: 7 credits earned, 23 credits remaining
Total: 7 credits earned, 16 credits remaining
Summer between first and second years of the MSc Program
CHEM 5904, 3 cr.
Total: 3 credits earned, 13 credits remaining
Second Year of the MSc Program
CHEM 6030 (Project Seminar), 1 cr.
CHEM 5904, 1 cr.
CHEM 5xxx, 3 cr.
CHEM 7000, 5 cr.
CHEM 5904, 3 cr.
Total: 7 credits earned, 6 credits remaining
Total: 6 credits earned, 0 credits remaining
During the application process, the student applicant should identify a potential research mentor (see list above). To be admitted to the program, a research advisor must agree to the student applicant working in their research program.
Admitted research track students will work with his or her research advisor and the Graduate Program Director to develop a proposed course schedule of 12 credits (four graduate-level courses, see example program plan above) and a thesis committee. The thesis committee consists the student’s research advisor and two or three faculty members appointed to the Graduate School faculty. At least one other committee member must be a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the remaining faculty member may be in a closely allied department. The thesis committee will advise the student through the program requirements including research progress, two required seminars in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry seminar series (Introduction to Project and Plan to Finish), and will administer the thesis defense required for the MSc degree.
Additionally, the research track program has the following requirements:
All courses must be taken at the graduate-level.
We recommend that students take three one-credit courses: CHEM 6010 (Research Methods – Fall only), CHEM 6020 (Journal Club – Spring only), and CHEM 6030 (Project Seminar – Fall and Spring).
Of the remaining 27 credits of the program, research track students must take:
Twelve credit hours of coursework (at least three courses must be taken in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Nine credit hours of research (CHEM 5904)
Six hours of thesis (CHEM 7000) Thesis defense exam (open to the public)
Evaluation of Progress
To remain in good standing, research track MSc students must do the following:
Maintain an average 3.00 GPA in graduate-level coursework, and earn a 3.00 or above in all courses to be counted towards the MSc degree in Chemistry or Biochemistry. If the overall GPA falls below 3.00, the student will be placed on academic probation. Two consecutive semesters of academic probation standing will result in dismissal from the program.
Meet with the MSc advisor and/or Graduate Program Director each semester to report on progress in coursework, items of concern, and/or program requirements.
Present two seminars (Introduction to Project and Plan to Finish) in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry seminar series.
The research track MSc option is not the best fit for students who don’t enjoy doing research or don’t plan to find a research or technical position after graduating.
Students pursuing this degree track are eligible for the Graduate Teaching Assistantship program and are encouraged to apply for a position in that program!
Full-time graduate students already admitted and currently enrolled in the research track in chemistry or biochemistry who wish to switch to the course track are welcome to do so. They must first seek approval from their research advisor, the Graduate Program Director, and the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Three credits of research (CHEM 5904) may count towards the course track requirements. If a student has already taken three credits of CHEM 7000 (thesis), these credits will be counted in place of CHEM 7050. However, a student must still complete the Library Research Paper requirement and present that research paper!
Current students on the course track wishing to switch to the research track are eligible to do so. Please meet with the Graduate Program Director to map out a new degree plan on the research track. Please understand that the research track requires four courses (twelve credits) in addition to the recommended CHEM 6010, 6020, and 6030. Research (nine credits) and thesis (six credits) make up the remaining credits of that program.
The course track requires no laboratory research work, and the only laboratory training that students will receive comes from graduate-level laboratory courses. If a student wants in-depth laboratory experience, the research track is the better fit.
The curriculum for each student will be different. The course plan will be determined for each student in the beginning of the program.
Students who are in their final semester must file the following forms:
The Application to Advance to Candidacy with unofficial transcript to the Graduate Program Director. (The deadline for this form changes each semester, but students typically submit this in the third week of the final semester of their program to the Graduate Program Director.) Courses to be counted towards the 30 credit hour requirement, including those courses that are in progress, should be highlighted in the unofficial transcript submitted to the Graduate Program Director.
If you are requesting transfer of credit, and have not filled out the form previously, please make sure that this form has also been filed with the Graduate Program Director by the stated deadline.
Up to 12 credits of graduate-level coursework with a grade of “B” (3.00 GPA) or better and earned at UCCS may be requested for transfer into the MSc program. These credit hours are computed into the student’s graduate GPA.
Up to 9 credits of graduate-level coursework with a grade of “B” (3.00 GPA) or better and earned at an institution other than UCCS may be requested for transfer. This request for transfer may be submitted only after the student has completed 9 credit hours as a regular admission student in the UCCS program. These credit hours are not computed into the student’s graduate GPA.