Master's in Chemistry Degrees

A Masters in Chemistry program, usually in the form of a Master of Science (MS) degree, offers students an advanced postgraduate education in the major branches of the ...

Chemical Sciences. Master of Science degree programs in Chemistry often concentrate on cultivating students’ proficiency to conduct specialized laboratory research in preparation for potential careers in the highly competitive chemical and biological industries.

Chemistry Masters Programs

Widely considered as the prequisite degree to become a professional chemist, a key component to earning this degree is the completion of a thesis for the students who plan to pursue a PhD in Chemistry. There are also chemistry graduate schools that offer programs with non-thesis options that are designed to provide students with the skills they might need for leadership positions. Students enrolled in a course-based M.S. program in chemistry take more courses than do students in a thesis master's.

If you are applying to a Masters program in Chemistry, you must hold an undergraduate degree in chemistry, or in some cases, chemical engineering. Some universities may accept an applicant with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry as well. Many colleges also require that prospective students meet the minimum required GPA for coursework in chemistry and submit scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

A Master of Science degree in chemistry prepares students for a variety of potential careers in research, development, education, and administration, or for advanced study at the doctoral level.

Choosing a Masters in Chemistry Program: Online or On-Campus

Students might consider looking into programs that are approved by the American Chemical Society, and whether they are looking for a general Masters program in Chemistry or one that allows them to pursue a specialization in a subfield, such as analytical chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry or inorganic chemistry, nanomaterials or polymer science.

Another important search criteria is program format. Some Chemistry masters programs are laboratory intensive ones, so a campus program may make sense since you would have access to the University’s facilities as a student. For busy working students, pursuing an online master in chemistry may be more convenient. You can initiate a search for chemistry graduate schools on GradSchools.com by location; choose a city, state or country then browse the listings. Some of these options might include: Chemistry MS, and Chemistry PSM.

FACT: A relatively new type of degree, called the Professional Science Master’s (PSM), blends advanced training in a particular science field with business skills, such as communications and program management, and policy.[i]

MS Chemistry Potential Curriculum

Students enrolled in a course-based Chemistry MS program may take courses that might include:

  • Advanced organic chemistry
  • Advanced physical chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Advanced analytical chemistry
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Statistical methods

Chemists: Job Outlook and Salary

Entry-level jobs for Chemists require a bachelor’s degree, however, a masters or PhD in Chemistry is required for many research and upper-management jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a slow employment growth rate expected between 2014 and 2024 (3%), Chemists with advanced degrees, particularly those with a Ph.D. and work experience, are expected to have better opportunities[ii].  

Chemists are employed in many industries; research and development, the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industries, laboratories, government and basic chemical engineering.

In terms of salary expectations, the median annual wage for chemists was $73,480 in May 2014; the lowest 10 % earned less than $41,560, and the highest 10 % earned more than $126,220.[iii]

Other Potential Careers For Chemistry Masters Graduates

  • Materials scientists
  • Natural Sciences Managers
  • Forensic Chemist
  • Air Quality Chemist
  • Agricultural or Food Scientist

Ready to Pursue a Master of Science in Chemistry?

Whether you are pursuing a master’s in chemistry as a portal to a PhD or to potentially increase your career prospects, the degree has many professional and vocational applications. Why not start browsing through the listings on GradSchools.com to find the program that aligns with your goals!


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/management/natural-sciences-managers.htm [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemists-and-materials-scientists.htm | onetonline.org/link/summary/19-2031.00 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemists-and-materials-scientists.htm