Master of Science

Master of Science Degree Requirements

Applying to the program.

A total of 30 semester hours of graduate credits must be earned. Of these, at least 24 semester hours must be coursework and six semester hours of research. A minimum of 9 hours per semester is equivalent to a full course load. A grade of "B" or better is required in each course submitted for the degree.

All students are encouraged to complete the following courses at Howard University with a grade of "B" or better.

Chemistry 201 - Inorganic Chemistry

Chemistry 231 - Advanced Analytical Chemistry

Chemistry 243 - Advanced Organic Chemistry

Chemistry 278 - Advanced Physical Chemistry I

Chemistry 279 - Advanced Physical Chemistry II

Requests for exemption are made in writing to the Chairman during the registration period. Criteria for exemption will be determined by the division concerned, usually by passing the placement examination in that area.

No course taken more than five years prior to the term in which the student presents him/herself for the final examination will be credited toward the fulfillment of the degree. Courses may be recertified by recommendation of the Department Chairman, based upon special written examination by the candidate.


Residency Requirement

A student must be physically in residence in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for at least two semesters in order to be recommended for a degree.

Students are expected to complete the Master's degree within a maximum of five years from the date of initial registration in the program. Those who have not completed the degree within that time will be automatically dropped from the program.


Placement Examinations

Prior to initial enrollment, students are expected to take the placement exams in analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The results of these examinations are used to advise the students with regards to graduate courses they should enroll in.

A student receiving a Masters degree in this department but does not meet the requirement of the Ph.D. program may reenter the Ph.D. program as a new student. See Requirements for the Ph.D. program.


Foreign Language/Computer Requirements

a. There is no Foreign Language requirement for the M.S. program.

b. There is no computer course requirement. However, students are encouraged to take any graduate-level computer course that might enhance their academic and professional development.


English Competence and Expository Writing Requirement

All incoming are required to pass a no-credit expository writing workshop course administered by the Department of Chemistry.


Selection of a Research Project

Before the end of the first semester of full-time study, each student should begin interviewing individual faculty members in order to identify common areas of interest and to select a research project. Each student is required to consult at least five faculty member, but is encouraged to interview even more. After a research advisor is selected and a research project agreed upon, the student must prepare an outline of the proposed research, including the nature, scope, significance of the problem, and methodology with a tentative title. A copy of the plan must be submitted to the Graduate School with the application for candidacy.


Admission to Candidacy

After completing the requirements listed below  in items 3-6, the student should apply for admission to candidacy. Admission to candidacy must be achieved at least six weeks prior to the end of the semester in which the student expects to receive the degree. Candidacy for the Master's degree shall be valid for no more than three calendar years.


Scholastic Requirements

A cumulative average of 3.00 (B) is required for graduation. A student who accumulates more than nine (9) semester hours of grades below "B" shall be dropped from Graduate School. A student who falls below the 3.00 average will be warned and informed that he/she must raise his/her quality point index to 3.00 by the end of his/her next two terms in residence. If the student fails to do this, he/she will be dropped from Graduate School.


Teaching Requirements

All students pursuing the M.S. degree must participate in some form of teaching activity. Financial aid is available from several sources. Inquire at the Chemistry office. A grade point average of 3.2/4.0 is required in order to qualify for a teaching assistantship.


Advisory Committee

The Director of Graduate Studies will serve as advisor to all entering students. Before the end of the student's second semester, the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the faculty advisor and the student, will select an academic advisory committee for each student consisting of two faculty members (one from the student's division and one from another division).



Four copies of the thesis approved by the candidate's advisory committee must be submitted to the Graduate School.


Final Oral Examination

The successful passing of a final oral examination based on the candidate's research is required of all graduate students.

Additional material is available in the "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degree" published by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, effective October 1, 1979.


Summary of the Sequence of Requirements for the Master’s Degree

1. Coursework (minimum 18 credit hours required before candidacy) 

2. Courses from sub-discipline (division) 2 Courses (1 each from two other divisions) 

3. English Competency and Expository Writing 

4. Responsible Conduct of Research Workshop 

5. Selection of Research Advisor/Project and Advisory Committee 

6. Thesis Proposal and Thesis Research 

7. Application, and Admission to Candidacy 

8. Completion of at least 30 (coursework + research) credit hours