Apr 15, 2024  
2017-2018 CSU East Bay Catalog 
2017-2018 CSU East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, Plan A Biochemistry Option, M.S.

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Chemistry (M.S.) 45 units

The Master of Science degree provides students with advanced training in chemistry and the analytical skills needed to process and critique complex chemical information. Students may take most of the required coursework in chemistry or may choose a biochemistry option, with some required courses in chemistry and a specialization in biochemistry. The degree program mainly serves students in four categories: those seeking opportunities in the chemical industry requiring training beyond the baccalaureate level, fully employed chemists who wish to enhance their career potential, future teachers of high school or community college chemistry, and individuals contemplating more advanced graduate study.

Because of the rapid progress in the fields of chemistry and biochemistry, the department strives to offer a range of courses that cover not only established principles but also recent advances. Through laboratory-based coursework and research opportunities, students are prepared for new developments in experimental methods and instrumentation. They acquire experience reading and analyzing the chemical or biochemical literature in several courses, as well as through a research-based laboratory or computational project (Plan A) or by developing a written literature review (Plan B).

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Master of Science in Chemistry will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate specialized knowledge in the chemical sciences beyond the undergraduate level;
  2. Work effectively and safely in a laboratory environment using modern chemical/biochemical instrumentation and methods to test hypotheses or design solutions to problems;
  3. Understand, organize, and critically assess information from the chemical literature
  4. Present complex chemical information via oral and written reports
  5. Work collaboratively in teams to solve chemical problems


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has nine full-time faculty members; each has a Ph.D. degree. Most came to Cal State East Bay with postdoctoral experience either in academia or industry, or both. Added breadth of experience is provided by occasional visiting lecturers in graduate lecture courses.


The laboratories are modern and well-equipped. Major instrumentation includes a 500 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR), capillary gas chromatographs with both flame-ionization and mass-spectral detection (GC/MS), a fourier-transform infrared spectrophotometer (FTIR), an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AA) with graphite furnace and cold vapor attachments, high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC), ion chromatograph (IC), x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, and a diode-array visible-ultraviolet spectrophotometer that can be adapted for stopped-flow kinetics studies. A molecular modeling facility is available for instruction and research.

The department is served by an office staff of a department secretary and a part-time clerical assistant, and by a staff of four full-time technicians and one part-time person.

Additional Information

The masters’ degree program is under the nominal direction of the graduate coordinator, with the participation of the department’s Graduate Studies Committee. All inquiries should be directed to the graduate coordinator or to the department chair.

Admission Requirements

The basic requirements for entry into the program are possession of a baccalaureate degree in Chemistry or Biochemistry, including a year of physical chemistry, and a GPA of at least 2.6 in upper division chemistry and biochemistry courses. Applicants not meeting the GPA requirement may still be accepted subject to receipt of acceptable letters of recommendation. The GRE subject test in chemistry or biochemistry is required. Applicants not having an undergraduate major in chemistry or biochemistry may be accepted into the program depending on the amount of undergraduate coursework required to remove deficiencies.

Qualified applicants are accepted in “Conditionally Classified Graduate” status. To become fully “Classified Graduate,” students must pass placement tests in organic, physical, and one of analytical, inorganic, or biochemistry; remove any deficiencies in the undergraduate major, complete 12 units applicable to the degree, and satisfy the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR).

Plan A, Thesis

A university thesis is required both for the M.S. Chemistry, Plan A and the M.S. Chemistry, Option in Biochemistry, Plan A degrees. A thesis topic is decided by mutual agreement between a graduate student and an appropriate faculty member.

Off-Campus Research

Candidates whose employers permit the use of appropriate facilities and approve the release of the applicable findings may arrange to conduct research on their employers’ premises in support of their M.S. theses, subject to prior approval by the department.

Plan B, Comprehensive Examination

Plan B entails the completion of additional specified coursework in lieu of a thesis and completion of a significant literature search and report on a selected topic. Applicants must pass a comprehensive examination which consists of an oral portion covering the report of the literature search and a written portion covering all other coursework applied to the degree.

Advancement to Candidacy

In order to progress in the program, a student must pass or obtain a waiver for the placement exams. A waiver is usually obtained by enrolling in an undergraduate course covering appropriate material. The exams must be completed within one year of entry into the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Additionally, students must satisfy the University Writing Skills Requirement and qualify for “Classified Graduate” status within two years of admission.

Advancement to Candidacy requires that the student complete 12 units in 6000-level courses applicable towards the degree with an average grade of 3.0 or better and select a research advisor for the thesis or a supervisor for the Plan B literature search and comprehensive examination.

Curricular Requirements

The M.S. programs in Chemistry provide for the degree to be obtained under Chemistry or Chemistry, Option in Biochemistry. Under either program, Plan A (University Thesis) or Plan B (Comprehensive Exam) must be selected.

Program Options (45 units)

Within the Chemistry degree, candidates will choose one (1) of four courses of study:


Biochemistry (Plan A) Option

To be eligible for the Option in Biochemistry, M.S. in Chemistry, the student must satisfy the following departmental requirements:

Required Courses (19 units)

Complete a total of 19 units in required courses in Chemistry comprising the following:

CHEM Electives (6 units)

Complete a minimum of six units from the following courses:

Note: Additional units must be selected to replace any courses in the required courses and CHEM electives that were taken as an undergraduate.

Other Electives (17 units)

Complete additional units to total the minimum 45 units required – to be selected, with the approval of the student’s advisor, from additional graduate courses in chemistry and biochemistry or from the list of upper division chemistry courses acceptable for the M.S. Chemistry, Biochemistry Option, Plan A degree. No more than four units of 6900 and three units of 6830 may be included. A maximum of ten units from applicable courses in Biological Sciences may be selected from the following:

Upper Division Chemistry Courses Acceptable for the M.S. Chemistry, Biochemistry Option, Plan A Degree:

Capstone Plan A (3 units)

Submit to the department an acceptable master’s degree thesis (University Thesis).

Course Descriptions

Use this link to see all Course Descriptions  available throughout this catalog.

Other Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the university requirements for graduation as described throughout this catalog. These include the 32-unit residence requirement, the five year rule on currency of subject matter, the minimum number of units of 6000-level courses, the 3.00 grade point average, and the University Writing Skills Requirement. For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office website at www.csueastbay.edu/testing or call 510.885.3661.

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