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Program: M.S., Biochemistry

Program Description

The M.S. in Biochemistry allows specialization in the areas of biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, or bioorganic chemistry, and it is intended for students desiring research-oriented careers in the chemical, biochemical or biotech industry, postsecondary chemistry/biochemistry teaching, or entry into Ph.D. programs.

Program Requirements

A. For Admission to the Program

  1. In addition to general University requirements for admission, a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 or higher overall GPA and a major in Chemistry, Biochemistry or other area with the appropriate science content is required. Applicants with an overall GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 may be admitted if their GPA in the last 60 units is at or above 3.0.
  2. Foreign students must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based test) or 213 (computer-based test) to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language.
  3. Departmental approval. The department also requires the submission of a personal statement and at least one letter of recommendation. Please see the departmental website for details. The department may request additional supporting material to assess an applicant’s preparation and likelihood for academic success.

B. For Classified Status

  1. Demonstrated competence in biochemistry and organic chemistry, as well as one other chemistry subdiscipline (chosen from analytical, physical or inorganic chemistry), either through satisfactory scores on the departmental proficiency exams or through coursework in these areas.
  2. General University requirements for classified status.

C. Requirements for the Degree

1. A minimum of 30 units of graduate work, including a thesis to be completed within 5 years of attaining classified status.

At least 21 units must be taken in 500- or 600-level courses. Normally, degree candidates are expected to serve as teaching assistants in the department.

a. Required Courses (12-18 units)

500-level Biochemistry Courses (6)
CHEM 691 Literature Seminar (1)
CHEM 692 Thesis Seminar (1)
CHEM 696 Directed Graduate Research (3-7)
CHEM 698 Thesis (1-3)

b. Electives (12-18 units)

These electives should be selected with the approval of the graduate coordinator from 400- and 500-level Chemistry and Biochemistry/Biology courses and must include at least one course that has a laboratory component. A maximum of 9 units of 400-level courses may be applied toward the 30 units required for the degree.

2. Oral defense of thesis.

3. Formal approval by the graduate thesis committee.

Total Units Required for the M.S. Degree: 30


Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chair: Eric Kelson
Eucalyptus Hall (EH) 2102
(818) 677-3381

Graduate Coordinator: Karin Crowhurst
(818) 677-4288

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate basic knowledge in the following areas of chemistry: analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical.
  2. Organize and communicate scientific information clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing.
  3. Effectively utilize the scientific literature to research a chemistry topic or to conduct chemical research.
  4. Work effectively and safely in a laboratory environment, including the ability to maintain a proper laboratory notebook and use advanced chemical instrumentation.
  5. Use computer technology for advanced chemical applications.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to work independently in the lab by designing solutions to problems or devising experiments to test hypotheses.