Chemistry, M.S.


Department of Chemistry

Joy Goto, Chair
Science Building, Room 380

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Chemistry, B.A.
BS in Chemistry, B.S.
BS in Biochemistry, B.S.
CRED in Single Subject Credential - Chemistry
MN in Chemistry, Minor
MS in Chemistry, M.S.

Courses Offered

The Chemistry Department provides (1) undergraduate training in chemistry for students planning professional careers in chemistry, biochemistry and allied professions, and for those contemplating graduate work for advanced degrees; (2) undergraduate training in chemistry for those planning careers in professions such as medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, pharmacy, etc.; (3) participation in the preparation of teachers of chemistry and the other physical sciences in the teaching credential programs; (4) teaching of the basic chemical sciences required by students majoring in related fields such as physics, biology, nursing, engineering, geology, agriculture, home economics, and criminology; (5) stimulation of interest in and understanding of the achievements and contributions of chemistry to our civilization for non-science students, as a part of General Education; and (6) graduate instruction in chemistry for the Master of Science degree for students who intend to enter the chemical industry, pursue further advanced study, or who wish to improve their qualifications as teachers in secondary schools and community colleges. The multi-disciplinary forensic science degree program prepares students for continued success by integrating instruction with active forensic research, collaboration with local crime laboratories, and real world experiences.

The Bachelor of Science degree programs in Chemistry/Biochemistry are accredited by the American Chemical Society. Students who satisfactorily complete the program are recommended by the department for certification as graduate chemists by the American Chemical Society. Students completing the Bachelor of Arts degree may be recommended for certification by completing additional requirements of the American Chemical Society.


The graduate chemistry laboratories and support areas are housed in the science building. Students have access to a broad range of instrumentation, including two solution-state NMR spectrometers (300 MHz and 400 MHz), an EPR spectrometer, Jasco-1815 CD spectrometer, a TA instruments nano-DSC, a range of mass spectrometers (including ion trap, micro-TOF and MALDI-TOF-TOF), several HPLC systems. Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometers (transmission and multi-bounce ATR) a range of gas chromatographs (including instruments with mass spectrometer detectors, flame ionization detectors, and electron capture detectors), UV-vis spectrometers, a spectrofluorimeter, an isotope ratio mass spectrometer, X-ray fluorescence and diffraction instruments, and electrochemical analyzers (including spectroelectrochemical systems). Students also have access to a 108-node Linux cluster and several molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics software programs. Library facilities include over 100 journal subscriptions in chemistry plus numerous texts and related books.


Master of Science Degree Requirements

Graduate Program

The mission of the graduate program in chemistry is guided by the mission of the university; it seeks to provide comprehensive undergraduate and graduate degree instruction for qualified students, and to contribute to the needs and well being of the people of the San Joaquin Valley and California.

The California State University, Fresno graduate program in chemistry is primarily oriented toward two groups of students: students who are preparing themselves for employment in chemistry-based occupations (including teaching) and students interested in additional training in chemistry and biochemistry to prepare for advanced Ph.D. graduate work.

For students in the first category, the program stresses strengthening the student's chemistry background while also providing advanced training in both theory and research - training that is very beneficial in today's competitive job market. Furthermore, the program also strives to meet local and regional needs for individuals with advanced training in chemistry and biochemistry, needs that are strongly tied to the agricultural nature of the valley.

For students in the second category, the program's emphasis on improving chemistry background and basic research skills prepares students for work at the Ph.D. level and enhances their chances for success.

Master of Science Degree Requirements

The Master of Science degree program in Chemistry assumes undergraduate preparation equivalent to a California State University, Fresno B.S. in chemistry. Each new student is required to take the Diagnostic Placement Examinations in four fields of chemistry (physical, organic, analytical, and inorganic or biochemistry) to provide a basis for program planning. These are taken at the beginning of the first semester of residence. Twenty-one of the 30 units required for the degree must be in chemistry.

(See also Admission to Graduate Standing, Advancement to Candidacy, Program Requirements, and Criteria for Thesis and Project.)

Graduate-Level Writing Proficiency Requirement

The completion of the following two components will satisfy the writing requirement:

  1. successful completion of CHEM 260 with a grade of B or better, and
  2. completion of a formal paper on the student's research to be submitted at the beginning of the fall semester of the second year. The paper should be of sufficient length (at least 2,000 words) to allow proper evaluation by a two-member review committee that includes the research director.

Master of Science Program Development

Under the direction of a graduate advisor, each student prepares and submits a coherent program individually designed according to Plan A or Plan B listed in the copy that follows. Other courses may be specified after examination of the student's record and performance on the departmental diagnostic examinations.

Plan A
M.S. with Thesis

  • Courses in chemistry, including at least 24 units in 200 series (see specific requirements) (24 units)
  • Approved electives in chemistry or related fields (6 units)
  • Total (30 units)

Specific requirements: CHEM 280 (at least 1 unit); 295 (2 units); 299 (5 units); and 3 units each from 4 of the 5 following groupings: (i) CHEM 215, (ii) 220 or 222, (iii) 225, 226, or 227, (iv) 230 or 235, (v) 241A or 242. CHEM 260 recommended.

Other courses may be specified after examination of the student's record and his or her performance on the departmental diagnostic examinations.

Plan B
M.S. with Comprehensive Examination

  • Courses in chemistry, including at least 24 units in 200 series (see specific requirements) (24 units)
  • Approved courses in chemistry or related fields may include biology, engineering, geology, mathematics, physics, etc.) according to the student's objective (6 units)
  • Total (30 units)

Specific requirements: CHEM 280 (at least 1 unit); 295 (2 units); and 3 units each from 4 of the 5 following groupings: (i) CHEM 215, (ii) 220 or 222, (iii) 225 or 227 (iv) 230 or 235,, (v) 241A or 242.

Other courses may be specified after examination of the student's record and his or her performance on the departmental diagnostic examinations.

Instead of a thesis, a student must successfully complete a final comprehensive examination consisting of two parts: (a) a general written examination in chemistry; (b) an examination dealing with a specific area of chemistry. See department for Policy Statement - Plan B Comprehensive Examination.


Our faculty provide excellent research opportunities in analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The broad interests within the faculty have resulted in interdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with scientists and professors in other science areas: agricultural chemistry, biotechnology, clinical chemistry, forensic chemistry, forensic biochemistry, chemical physics, enology, nutritional science, and molecular biology. Research projects have involved local facilities such as the California State Crime Laboratory, University Medical Center, UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program, USDA Research Station, U.S. Veteran's Administration Hospital, U.S. Forest Laboratory, and Valley Children's Hospital.

The graduate faculty are dedicated to providing students with a high-quality, rigorous M.S. program. Several of the faculty have received awards for the quality of their mentoring and teaching. They are widely respected in their field and regularly publish their work in leading scientific journals. The faculty have received funding to support their work from private foundations, and state and federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. They also work with researchers at several National Laboratories and a number of top-tier research universities.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.