Five-Year MS Program

The Department of Chemistry offers a special research-based master’s degree program, available only to University of Rochester undergraduates. In this program students can complete their MS degree one year beyond the BS program by taking advantage of the intensive curriculum in the BS program and by integrating BS and MS research.

Since the program is based on an integration of the fourth and fifth years of study, careful planning is required. Students should discuss this program with a faculty advisor when they begin to make decisions about senior research in the spring of the junior year.

Students in this program typically enroll in four graduate chemistry courses during their fourth and fifth years of study. A research program is started in the fourth year and continued in the fifth, including full-time research over the summer following completion of the BS degree. Both BS and MS theses are required. The bachelor’s degree research will serve as the basis of the master’s degree thesis which will be submitted and defended in the final semester of the BS/MS program.

Formal application to the graduate school and admission to the program follows in the fall of the senior year.

Detailed Requirements

Students need to complete a total of 30 credit-hours in order to complete the MS. This comes from a combination of graduate lecture courses (16 credits), MS research (12 credits of CHEM 495), and graduate seminar (two credits of CHEM 511). Students should NOT take CHEM585: First-Year Seminar.

Up to 10 credits can be transferred into the MS program as long as those credits were not counted towards the BS degree.

Students need to complete a total of 16 credits of coursework in fall and spring of the MS year, in addition to doing research. Typically, this means two graduate courses each semester.

When declaring their BS major with the Registrar, students entering the BS/MS program should be careful to only include the necessary 400-level courses for the BS (four credits required). In this way, the extra 400-level courses will be available to count for the MS. 

Example Program of Study

Senior year: Student takes at least one additional 400-level course that they can apply to the MS degree. (One is required for the BS, so this would be the second 400-level course taken prior to entering the MS program.)

Summer after completing BS: Student performs full-time research over the summer for at least 10-weeks (four credits of CHEM 495). Occasionally, the student may need to do summer research the following summer if they cannot do it immediately after completing the BS.

Fall and spring semester of MS year: Student completes two graduate courses each semester (16 credits total), CHEM 511 each semester (two credits total), and CHEM 495 masters research each semester (eight credits). 

Final semester: Student writes MS thesis and undergoes an oral exam with their research advisor and two other faculty members to assess the MS research thesis. The student is responsible for assembling the committee and scheduling the exam.


There is a 50 percent tuition discount for the MS year. Students are responsible for health insurance and health fees. Students are ineligible for stipends and fellowships from the department.


For more information please contact the graduate studies coordinator.