Master of Sciences in Chemistry or Biochemistry, Non-thesis Option

Master of Sciences in Chemistry or Biochemistry, Non-thesis Option

The objective of this non-thesis MSc program is to provide an alternate pathway for students to complete an MSc degree in chemistry or biochemistry that does not involve an in-depth research project and thesis. This degree option is intended for students whose personal interests or current work responsibilities lower the desirability of conducting the required research courses for the thesis-based MSc degree. K-12 teachers, non-traditional students, and employees of local industry who want to earn an MSc degree for promotions or to meet eligibility requirements for teaching positions at community colleges may wish to pursue this degree option.

Applicants may or may not hold a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biochemistry, but they should hold a Bachelor’s degree in a related natural science discipline. For example, a student pursuing an MSc in biochemistry will likely have majored in molecular biology or in a related biology sub-discipline. A student pursuing an MSc in chemistry but who does not have a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry should have completed undergraduate courses in organic, physical, and analytical chemistry prior to applying for the MSc program.

Students should not apply to the MSc program if they do not intend to complete the program. Entering the program represents a commitment by the student to do everything possible to reach completion. Students who eventually wish to pursue a PhD program in chemistry or biochemistry should opt instead to enroll in the thesis option program.

Students who wish to pursue a business career, but who also want to have technical knowledge at the graduate level in chemistry and biochemistry should consult the brochure describing the MSc, Chemistry with Business option and the MSc, Biochemistry with Business option to be submitted separately.

The following focus areas are available:

Analytical Chemistry Biochemistry Inorganic Chemistry Organic Chemistry Physical Chemistry
Dr. Janel Owens Dr. Wendy Haggren Dr. Ronald Ruminski Dr. Allen Schoffstall Dr. Amanda Morgenstern
Dr. David Weiss Dr. Andrew Klocko     Dr. Kevin Tvrdy
  Dr. James Kovacs      
  Dr. Crystal Vander Zanden      

Program Goals

Upon completion of the MSc non-thesis option degree program, students will have:

  • A broad knowledge of the basic areas of chemistry or biochemistry, with specific sub-areas of concentration.
  • An overall view of recent advances in chemistry or biochemistry.
  • The ability to communicate science clearly in written and oral formats.
  • The ability to comprehend, search, and use the scientific literature.
  • Had opportunities to work as a team to discuss and solve scientific problems.

Program Requirements

In consultation with the MSc Director, the student will choose an MSc advisor prior to the end of the first semester in the program. The student will prepare an MSc course plan in consultation with the MSc advisor and approved by the MSc Director. This must be completed by the end of the first semester in the program.


  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit according to the following requirements:
  • At least 21 credit hours must come from 5000-level lecture courses in chemistry and biochemistry taken at UCCS.
  • Up to 6 credit hours of 5000-level coursework may be taken in a related discipline (e.g., biology, mathematics, or physics) and be applied to the 30 credit hour minimum if approved by the student’s MSc advisor and the MSc Director.
  • To establish breadth in knowledge, the chemistry option student must complete at least one course in each of four (out of five) sub-disciplines of chemistry (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, physical). The biochemistry option student will pursue a program of courses consistent with the biochemistry curriculum, but will also have a breadth requirement approved by the MSc advisor and the MSc Director.
  • In addition to 27 credit hours of course work, completion of three credits of CHEM 7050, to be taken during the fall semester prior to the anticipated date of graduation, is required. In order to complete CHEM 7050, candidates must:
    • Complete a research paper to be submitted to and accepted by the student’s MSc advisor and the MSc Director according to the research paper guidelines.
    • Deliver a successful presentation in the chemistry or biochemistry capstone course on a topic other than the non-thesis project topic.
    • Prepare and present a departmental seminar on the non-thesis project.
  • Credits for graduate research (CHEM 5904) and thesis (CHEM 7000) may not be counted towards the 30-hour minimum for the non-thesis MSc degree.

Evaluation of Progress

Students will:

  • Maintain a 3.00 grade point average in graduate coursework. A student whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Two consecutive semesters of being on academic probation will result in dismissal from the program.
  • Present a 20-minute progress report each semester to the MSc advisor. The MSc advisor will complete a report to be sent to the Program Director and be added to the student’s file.
  • Present a seminar to the capstone class in chemistry or biochemistry OR in the department seminar series over the student’s chosen library research paper topic.
  • Confer with the Program Director once per semester to update the student’s program plan, discuss student progress, and any identify any problem areas. The report will be added to the student’s file.

Further Stipulations

  • This MSc non-thesis option is not designed as a program for traditional, full-time students working towards attaining research or technical positions in industry nor for students working toward a tenure-track faculty position in four-year colleges and universities.
  • Students pursuing this degree option are eligible for the Graduate Teaching Assistantship support and are encouraged to apply for that program.
  • Full-time graduate students already in the thesis-based MSc program in chemistry or biochemistry who wish to switch to the non-thesis track must seek approval from the MSc advisor, MSc Director, and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Credit for thesis research (CHEM 5904 and CHEM 7000) cannot be applied towards the 30 hour minimum for the non-thesis MSc degree.
  • The non-thesis degree requires no laboratory research work. Students wanting laboratory research should choose the thesis plan.
  • The curriculum for each student will be different. The course plan will be determined near the beginning of the program.

Details for Completion

  • The deadline for filing to advance to degree candidacy is the end of the second week of the semester in which the MSc degree is to be awarded. The final hours needed to finish may be in progress the semester the intent to graduate is filed.
  • Complete the program assessment form prior to proceeding to your Final Report Form. The assessment form will also tell us your post-graduation plans (we have to know this for reporting purposes to the Office of Institutional Research) and post-graduation address.
  • Degree and Diploma Application: The MSc Director prepares this form for you. Only your signature is needed. This will be forwarded to campus offices to generate and mail your diploma. The address on it must match the address on the Final Report Form.
  • Final Report Form: Completed by the MSc Director. Once you pass your exams, the MSc Director approves your scores and signs it. We will notify you when it is signed and mail it on your behalf to campus offices.


Regular Admission

Regular admission to the MSc non-thesis program requires that the student meets the following requirements:

  • Has attained a Bachelor's degree in chemistry or biochemistry from an accredited college or university
  • Has an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.00
  • Has a combined GRE percentile score of 50th percentile or higher

Applicants must complete the online Graduate School application and include four letters of recommendation, one official transcript from each college or university attended, and pay a non-refundable $60 application fee.

International Students: The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will accept either path for demonstrating English proficiency for international students seeking admission to the program:

  • Post-secondary degree from a US accredited institution or in a program where English is the language of instruction; or
  • A score of 100 on the TOEFL test or a score of 7 on the IELTS test. International Student Office.

Streamlined Admission

A student who is within one year of graduation or has graduated within the last four years with a BA or BS in chemistry or biochemistry at UCCS is guaranteed admission to the MSc non-thesis program, if he or she satisfies all of the following requirements:

  • Has completed a minimum of 45 credits at UCCS and be within one year of graduation or has graduated from UCCS within the last four years.
  • Has a minimum grade point average of 3.20.
  • Has two letters of recommendation from faculty members in chemistry or biochemistry.
  • Submits a goal statement.

The Streamlined Admission is designed to offer outstanding UCCS students and alumni an expedited application to graduate school in participating programs. If you are interested in applying, please fill out the regular application. Once you indicate that you are currently or have have previously attended UCCS, it will ask you if you will be submitting the streamlined application. Submit the application, a $60 non-refundable application fee, and all required supporting documents.

Provisional Admission

Students who have a GPA between 2.75 and 3.00 or who lack a degree in chemistry or biochemistry (but still hold a Bachelor’s degree in a related natural science discipline such as biology, physics, science education, etc.) may be considered for provisional admission based on the following:

  • The GRE is required with a combined score in the 50th percentile or above.
  • Students must take a placement exam chosen by the MSc Director. Enrollment in certain undergraduate courses may be required to offset any deficiencies indicated by the placement exam. Remedial course requirements are more likely for students who received their undergraduate education in a natural science-related major and who do not have a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biochemistry.

When the conditions for regular status are met, the program director will reclassify the student to regular status. Each candidate is evaluated individually for provisional admission.

Transfer of Credit

  • Up to 12 hours of coursework with a grade of “B” or better and earned at UCCS may be requested for transfer into the MSc program. These credit hours are computed into the student’s graduate GPA.
  • Up to 9 hours of coursework with a grade of “B” or better and completed at an institution other than UCCS may be requested for transfer. This request may be submitted only after completion of 9 hours of coursework as a regular admission student into the MSc program. These credit hours are not computed into the student’s graduate GPA.

To Apply...

Application Deadline: July 1

Contact Information

Dr. Janel Owens
Graduate Program Director
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Phone: 719-255-3207