Chemistry and Chemical Biology M.S. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Program Description

The M.S. program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework.  In favorable circumstances, it is possible that the program might be completed over a single academic year though most applicants require more time in the program. As the academic backgrounds and personal/professional goals of each student will differ, we anticipate significant diversity in the programs of study in the M.S. degree and therefore do not prescribe a rigid set of courses as prerequisites or requirements though we would ordinarily anticipate that the majority of the credits are taken in chemistry and related subjects at suitably high levels. Your program of study will be adapted to your individual interests and needs in consultation with the M.S. Graduate Program Director, and will likely include coursework selected from across Cornell’s campus. 

The M.S. program is designed for those who wish to obtain further education in the field of chemical sciences broadly understood, and to develop their ability for critical inquiry, independent research, and teaching. Research-degree students are expected to give evidence of mature purpose by initiating and pursuing their own programs; as such the award of the MS degree is contingent upon the completion of a master’s research project documented through the preparation of an archive document presented to the student’s special committee and to the Graduate School.  In the fall of the first year, it is expected that each student will be enrolled in Chem 5110, which provides an introduction to the vast world of tools and opportunities for chemical research, found in both our department and across the campus.

The program will require a minimum of a single academic year in residence, though there can be no guarantee that all admitted students will progress at the same rate.

Contact Information

Phone: 607-255-4139

103 Baker Lab
Baker Laboratory
Ithaca, NY 14853-1301

Concentrations by Subject

  • biophysical chemistry
  • chemical biology
  • inorganic chemistry
  • organic chemistry
  • organometallic chemistry
  • physical chemistry
  • polymer chemistry
  • theoretical chemistry


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Admissions to the Master of Science program is distinct from admissions to the Ph. D. program.

Enrollment in the MS program in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology neither precludes a subsequent application to the doctoral program, nor serves as an alternate pathway into that program.

Deadline for Fall admission: June 1 

Requirements Summary:

Applications for admission to the M.S. program commencing in the fall will be reviewed beginning January 1st and will continue on a rolling basis through June 15th.

  • All Graduate School Requirements, including the English Language Proficiency Requirement for all applicants
  • Letters of Recommendation: two (minimum); three (maximum)
  • GRE scores are not required
  • Academic Statement of Purpose: one-page statement required
  • Resume
  • Writing Sample.  There is no need to create a new piece of writing, and we would generally prefer not to receive an example of scientific writing.  If you have any other sample of English writing--a history paper, an essay, a poem--of short length, that should be more than adequate.

Learning Outcomes

The Chemistry and Chemical Biology field expects MS students to obtain both breadth and depth in chemistry and related fields beyond that found in typical BA or BS programs.  Typically we will expect that the individual program will emphasize basic courses as required to provide the essential basis of a chemistry but to provide the depth and rigor which exceeds an undergraduate major

Scholarship: Students must develop the ability to acquire, evaluate and synthesize knowledge in areas relevant to the broad chemical sciences, with special emphasis on their focused research areas. They must learn and apply principles from graduate courses and be capable of critical assessment of scientific ideas. 

Research:  Students will apply the general methods of scientific inquiry to conduct observations, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, and acquire data--in short, to pose clear questions and to provide useful answers as steps in the process of creating new knowledge.   Exposure to the variety of available analytical methods in combination with appropriate mathematical, statistical, and/or computational tools is essential to understanding how research is done.

Communication: Students must be capable of expressing their ideas, summarizing information and engaging in productive discourse with advisors, colleagues, and less experienced students. They will become effective writers and presenters, and learn to present and defend their scientific efforts.