Chemistry, M.S.

Graduate Degree

The accredited Master of Science in Chemistry at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, is intended for students interested in advanced training in chemistry and related disciplines, in preparation for doctoral programs or careers in industry, government or post-secondary school education.

Our students are expected to be well grounded in one or more of the program’s five areas of specialization:

Analytical Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Physical Chemistry

Chemistry covers a broad array of endeavors and is increasingly both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary—involving the use of concepts and techniques at the interface between disciplines. This means modern chemistry provides excellent opportunities for you to exercise your creativity, as everything we touch is made of chemicals and depends on chemical processes.

The study of Chemistry at Marshall is an excellent choice for two types of students. The first group includes students interested in becoming professional scientists with an interest in chemically related processes. This includes technicians, bench (research) chemists, laboratory directors, high school chemistry teachers and college professors.

The second group includes students who wish to become senior health care providers. This includes physicians, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians and physician assistants. A few niche professions will also benefit from chemical training, such as patent law, technical sales and materials and instrumentation sales. Lawyers and sales representatives frequently come from other majors, but the technical knowledge from training in chemistry can be a real value added for specializations within those fields.

Why study Chemistry at Marshall University?

Marshall University in West Virginia is designated by the Carnegie classification system as a “Doctoral University: High Research Activity” institution, or “R2” as it is commonly called in higher education circles. The R-2 designation places Marshall among the top six percent of colleges and universities in the nation and is the second-highest classification an institution can receive. Recognition of the high research activity of faculty and students in our Department of Chemistry was an important factor in earning the Carnegie R-2 rating.

In our award-winning, accredited Chemistry graduate degree program, you are offered many opportunities to familiarize yourself with a wide range of state-of-the-art instrumentation, work on cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary projects and participate in professional conferences. Thanks to our Chemistry department’s small size, you work daily in the lab with your faculty mentors. Students are also compelled to interact with faculty outside their immediate research area in West Virginia, which provides exciting opportunities to broaden their experience.

Thesis Option

At Marshall, our chemistry department currently offers both a thesis and non-thesis option for the Master of Science in Chemistry degree. The preferred route requires a thesis with 32 hours of graduate credit, two public lectures and an oral thesis defense. The Master of Science thesis demonstrates that you can pursue a program of original and independent research, that you can formulate and carry out a research project, and that you can report on the project in a proper scientific manner. The thesis option prepares you for a technical career in industry or for further study toward a more advanced degree.

This option requires advanced coursework in chemistry, biochemistry or environmental chemistry and research, with the latter culminating in an M.S. thesis. Shortly after entering our accredited program, you select a faculty advisor based on their research interests and agree on a research problem. Under the guidance of your faculty advisor, students carry out the research program, select a graduate research committee, and write and defend the thesis in a final oral examination. The defense of the thesis will take place when you, the research advisor and the graduate research committee agree a defensible copy of the thesis is complete.

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis option is a seldom-used alternative route available for students employed full time and requires department authorization. Basic requirements are the same as the thesis option, however the non-thesis option requires 36 hours of graduate credit and a problem report followed by a public lecture. This program structure ensures all students develop research, writing and public speaking skills, regardless of their area of concentration.

Career Outlook for Chemistry Graduate Students

Our accredited master’s degree in Chemistry prepares you for many career paths. For industrial positions, our graduates are competitive anywhere in the United States. Graduates may also complete a Ph.D. degree to become competitive for academic teaching positions.

The types of jobs held by graduates with a master’s degree in Chemistry include:

Production Chemist
Medical Chemist
Research Chemist
High School or Community College Chemistry Instructor

Opportunities for Chemistry Graduate Students

All master’s degree courses in Chemistry are taught by faculty who hold Ph.D. degrees. The areas of research pursued by our faculty are unique, including their exact research, the compounds studied, their properties and the methods used to characterize them.

Marshall University in West Virginia is the only place for students who want to pursue research in those specific areas to perform the studies. Our chemistry department also uses several instruments for compound characterization that match those available at R-1 institutions.

You are also invited to join the Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, a professional chemistry fraternity, which promotes the advancement of chemistry as a science and as a profession.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should follow the admissions process described in this catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website at

In addition, applicants must:

  • hold an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, or an equivalent degree approved by the Chemistry department;
  • have GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores sent to Graduate Admissions.
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