Chemistry, MS

College of Arts & Sciences

Program Description:

The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of New Mexico offers the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry.  Our students work on cutting-edge research projects in nationally and internationally recognized research laboratories. 

The Department has three primary research thrusts each comprised of several faculty mentors, namely,

  • Biological Chemistry/Chemical Biology/Medicinal Chemistry (Liang, Melancon, Dunaway-Mariano, Keller, Kirk, Wang, Guo)
  • Catalysis and Synthesis (Kemp, Giri, Wang, Kirk, Guo) 
  • Physical Chemistry/Energy/Materials (Qin, Grey, Kirk, Guo, Habteyes)

The inter-disciplinary nature of these thrusts provides students with a well-rounded background and many of our graduates obtain top positions upon graduation.  Please see ‘Faculty Research’ for specific information regarding individual interests.

Our close proximity to both Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories as well as the Air Force Research Laboratory at nearby Kirtland AFB offers yet another unique experience to students through collaborative projects with UNM faculty.  Several of our faculty are also closely associated with these organizations or have official joint appointments.   Inter-disciplinary graduate research programs (e.g., Nano-science and Microsystems, NSMS, Center for Biomedical Engineering, CBME, and the Center for High technology Materials, CHTM) are available to students and many C&CB faculty are associated with these programs. Our faculty obtain research grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy and other government and private sources of research support. 

We are also in the process of significant remodeling and renovations to Clark Hall and the Riebsomer wing housing many research labs.  Furthermore, we have added five new faculty members in the last three years to help build our research thrusts and additional hires in these areas will take place in the coming years. 

Master of Science (Plan I) - Thesis Masters

The M.S. (Plan I) degree program includes both coursework and research. It culminates in a written master's thesis describing the results of original research of publishable quality. Two to three years are usually needed to complete the required 18 credit hours of formal coursework (including at least 12 credit hours at the 500 level), pass the cumulative examinations comprising the Master's examination, complete the thesis research, and write and defend the thesis. Students who select this degree have found it appropriate if their career goals are, for example, teaching in a two- or four-year college or finding technical employment in the chemical industry.

Master of Science (Plan II) - Coursework Masters

An alternative M.S. degree program permits earning a graduate degree in chemistry without having to prepare a thesis. Approximately two years are required to complete the minimum of 32 credit hours of graduate level coursework (including at least 12 credit hours at the 500 level) and pass the Masters examination. This examination includes the preparation and oral defense of a proposal and a written component in the form of cumulative exams. A coursework Masters is typically chosen by high school teachers (both domestic and foreign), and its requirements are generally satisfied by most students in the Ph.D. program.


Admission Requirements:

 Chemistry and Chemical Biology normally accepts applications for Fall semester only. For best consideration, the applications should be submitted before February 1. Late applications are considered on the basis of availability. Only completed files are reviewed and it is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure all required materials are sent in a timely fashion. The applicants are strongly urged to allow adequate time (6 to 8 weeks prior to the department deadline) for processing and mail delivery of the application. The department does not accept faxed or Xerox copies of any information.

Career Opportunities:

 The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of New Mexico has both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. An undergraduate B.A. or B.S. degree in chemistry provides a range of career choices from medicine to quantum theory. Undergraduate research opportunities exist in all fields and the Department encourages chemistry majors to pursue independent research with a faculty mentor. The graduate program offers the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in analytical, biological, biophysical, inorganic, organic, theoretical and physical chemistry. (UNM Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology website)  A bachelor's degree is the minimum formal education required. However, many employers also require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree). 


Contact Information:

Karen McElveny: Program Advisor
(505) 277-6655
kamc@unm.edu