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Chemistry, M.A., M.S., Ph.D.

Saint Louis University’s Department of Chemistry offers two master’s programs (Master of Arts and Master of Science) and a doctoral program. Each offers specializations, including traditional areas of analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, as well as cross-disciplinary areas of materials and biological chemistry.

About the Programs

Our thesis-based M.S. in chemistry degree program is designed for full-time students who will be doing research in the department as well as writing and defending a thesis. In general, the thesis-based M.S. degree is for research students who want to finish with a master's degree.

The M.A. program in chemistry is intended for either research students who want to transition into the Ph.D. program after they have completed the master’s degree requirements or part-time students who want a coursework master’s degree. It does not require thesis research or the writing of a thesis.

Ph.D. students must complete intensive research culminating in a dissertation. Doctoral graduates pursue different paths, including teaching, postdoctoral studies, or careers in industry or with government agencies, such as the FDA.

Research Groups and Publications

Our graduate students are active in the research areas of analytical, organic, physical, synthetic, materials, environmental and biological chemistry. Our research groups regularly publish in top-ranked journals and present at national and international conferences.

Research is externally supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund and the American Heart Association, among others.

Program Highlights

Graduate students in SLU’s chemistry department have access to a number of research tools, including:

  • Bruker 400 and 700 MHz NMR spectrometers
  • Bruker-EMX EPR, UV-Vis and FTIR spectrometers
  • Research-grade spectrofluorometers
  • GC-MS and LC-MS
  • Electrochemical analyzers
  • Gas chromatographs
  • A scanning electron micrograph
  • Computational facilities with modern molecular software
  • A Bruker CCD X-ray diffractometer facility
Master's Curriculum and Program Details

Both the thesis-based Master of Science and the non-thesis-based Master of Arts chemistry degree options offer specialization in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical or biological chemistry, with cross-disciplinary activity encouraged.

The requirements for the thesis-based M.S. degree include:

  • A minimum of 24 credit hours of post-baccalaureate coursework (exclusive of thesis research)
  • Six credit hours of thesis research (CHEM 5990)
  • A thesis
  • A public oral presentation and a private oral examination

The requirements for the non-thesis M.A. degree in chemistry include a minimum of 30 credit hours of post-baccalaureate coursework and an oral examination.

Many graduate courses in chemistry are scheduled in the evening, allowing you to complete the degree as a part-time student. This flexibility allows students to tailor a program of study to suit their needs. For example, graduate courses in business and management, education, mathematics or other science disciplines may be included.

For students who hold a bachelor’s degree and are interested in completing the doctoral program in chemistry, there is a mechanism to transition into the Ph.D. program after the master's requirements are completed. A total of 39 credit hours are required, including 12 credit hours from dissertation research credits. You will develop an appropriate coursework track with your mentor that will be approved by the graduate program director and/or the department chair.

Ph.D. Curriculum and Program Details

The requirements for the Ph.D. include:

  • Core curriculum (12 credit hours): Two courses from each of the primary focus areas of advanced chemistry: synthesis and materials chemistry, and analytical and physical methods
  • Research courses (six credit hours): Introduction to and research topics in inorganic, analytical, physical or organic chemistry research
  • CHEM 6900 (three credit hours): Introduction to proposal writing and oral presentations
  • Additional 5000-level chemistry courses (six credit hours)
  • Dissertation (12 credit hours)
  • Christopher Arnatt, Ph.D.
  • Dana Baum, Ph.D.
  • Paul Bracher, Ph.D.
  • Steven Buckner, Ph.D.
  • James Edwards, Ph.D.
  • Paul Jellis, Ph.D.
  • Charles Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.
  • Istvan Kiss, Ph.D.
  • Piotr Mak, Ph.D.
  • Scott Martin, Ph.D.
  • Ryan McCulla, Ph.D.
  • Marvin Meyers, Ph.D.
  • Jamie Neely, Ph.D.
  • Brent Znosko, Ph.D.
Possible careers for chemistry graduates include pharmaceutical scientist, crime lab analyst, environmental chemist, fuels and materials scientist, and academic researcher.
Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2018-2019 Tuition and Fees
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Scholarships and Financial Aid

All research-based graduate students in the chemistry program receive teaching or research assistantships funded by the College of Arts and Sciences and external grants that have been awarded to faculty. Assistantships provide a tuition scholarship, a base stipend of $24,000 and health insurance.

Assistantships are available to M.S. and M.A. students interested in transitioning to the Ph.D. program and Ph.D. students. These assistantships are funded by the Department of Chemistry and external grants.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree, usually in chemistry or biochemisty, from an accredited institution, but all science majors will be considered. Applicants should also ensure they meet the minimum GPA and TOEFL score (for international students).

Admission normally requires a minimum of 18 semester hours (minimum 2.8 GPA) of upper-division undergraduate chemistry courses including: organic chemistry (two semesters), quantitative analysis (one semester) and physical chemistry (two semesters). Students who do not meet these criteria may complete these prerequisites as part of their graduate program, though not for graduate credit.

Students who have not completed equivalent coursework in upper-level undergraduate “Inorganic Chemistry” (CHEM 4500) and “Analytical Chemistry 2” (CHEM 4200) will also be required to complete these courses but they can be taken for departmental graduate credit.

You will need the following items to apply:

Application Requirements

Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
Goal statement
Interview (desired)

Requirements for International Students

Application Deadlines

Students who want to be considered for the summer and fall semesters must submit their application by Jan. 15. Students who want to be considered for the spring semester should apply by Oct. 15.

Review Process

A three-person committee votes whether to accept applicants.


Research Groups

Established in 1908, the Department of Chemistry at Saint Louis University houses active research groups involving graduate students in traditional areas such as analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, as well as cross-disciplinary areas such as materials, environmental and biological chemistry.

These research groups regularly publish in top-ranked journals and present at national and international conferences. Research in the department is supported by a variety of sources, including the Frasch Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund and American Heart Association.