This M.A. program is designed for students wanting an advanced degree based primarily on coursework. The program provides a path to industrial jobs, professional schools, teaching careers, Ph.D. programs, or can be used as part of an interdisciplinary career portfolio. For international students an important parallel component of the M.A. program are activities and classes designed to improve their English fluency provided through the Center for American English Language and Culture. This MA program, comprised of ten graduate courses in Chemistry or related disciplines, is normally completed in one academic year. Since its creation 100% of our graduates, who wish to continue their education, have successfully entered a Ph.D. program in the United States.
Success of the Program
In the past two years, seven international students have enrolled in our MA program. Six of these students have applied to continue in Ph.D. programs and all were accepted. In addition to all six of these students receiving offers to transfer into our Ph.D. program (UVa Chemistry), examples of Ph.D. programs that admitted our MA students include the University of Texas (Austin), Vanderbilt University, Iowa State University, Rutgers University, Johns Hopkins University, and Notre Dame University. The MA students in the most recent academic year improved their overall TOEFL score by 6 points at the end of the Fall semester. In addition, they averaged an increase of 6 points (from an average of 43 to 49) on the UVa Speak Test.
Students pursuing a terminal MA with no aspiration to matriculate to the Ph. D. program would typically enroll in five graded courses for a total of 15 credit hours each semester. A sample curriculum follows:
CHEM 5110 Organic Chemistry III
CHEM 5210 Advanced Physical Chemistry I- Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 5310 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I- Reaction Mechanisms
CHEM 5410 Advanced Biological Chemistry I- Molecular Assembly & Information Flow
CHEM 5730 Advanced Analytical Chemistry I
CHEM 5120 Organic Chemistry IV
CHEM 5224 Reaction Kinetics and Dynamics
CHEM 5320 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry II- Organometallics & Synthesis
CHEM 5420 Advanced Biological Chemistry II
CHEM 5180 Instrumental Theory and Techniques in Organic Chemistry
Depending on career interests, students may be allowed to substitute one or two graduate courses per semester from disciplines other than Chemistry (e.g., Biology, Pharmacology, Physics, Materials Science Engineering, Computer Science, etc.).
Students wishing to use their MA as a stepping-stone to a Ph. D. may want to transfer their MA course credits to a Ph.D. program. This can certainly be done in its entirety after successful admission to the UVa Ph.D. program (n.b., sometimes there can be only limited graduate coursework transfer across different universities). With a Ph.D. career path in mind, students should plan to take the Chemistry professional development courses: CHEM 7010, Research Seminar I: Introduction to Research, and CHEM 7020, Research Seminar II: Research, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Ethics, as part of their MA program of study. An additional possibility is to exchange up to one course per semester for 3 credit hours of CHEM 9xxx, faculty directed research, with permission of the instructor.
Additional English Language and Culture Curriculum for International Students
International students whose first language is not English and who have TOEFL Speak Scores below 24, will participate in highly personalized English language and culture instruction provided by the Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC). This instruction is designed to help smooth the student’s entry into American life and to rapidly build their English speaking and writing skills to help optimize their graduate experience. International MA students will begin by taking an intensive 6 week summer CAELC program dedicated to the needs of Chemistry MA students (i.e., an expanded EAP curriculum). Through mid-Fall, M.A. students will receive twice weekly tutoring in oral English. English as a Second Language (ESL) courses as prescribed by CAELC on an individualized basis will be taken during the Fall semester. An ibT-TOEFL test will be administered in mid-November to assess student progress. Evidence of English proficiency gains have been found to expand the career prospects of our graduates. There are no additional costs to an MA student for these CAELC services.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition and fees are currently $34,736 for out-of-state students and $21,614 for in-state students, and include access to University facilities such as fitness centers and sporting events. Health insurance is required for all students.
How to Apply
Applications for admission to the UVA Chemistry Graduate Program are reviewed by the Department Graduate Admissions Committee, which is composed of department faculty. Admission decisions are based on the review of the applicant’s undergraduate transcript, GRE scores, personal statement describing experiences and interests, letters of recommendation, and in some instances, TOEFL scores and online video interviews.
While there are no formal minimum requirements for the GPA, or GRE score, it is expected that the application materials demonstrate that the applicant has a broad training in core areas of chemistry and is equipped to succeed in graduate coursework, teaching, and research. Core areas of chemistry include analytical, biological, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.
Given the integrated Center for American English Language and Culture services available, the Chemistry MA program can consider international applicants with outstanding scientific and educational credentials but with relatively low TOEFL scores (e.g., as low as 16 on the TOEFL speak) provided that the applicant is committed to working with CAELC to rapidly improve their English proficiency.
In addition to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biochemistry, the Department also accepts students with training in biology, chemical engineering, physics, and other disciplines, who may not have completed study in all of these core areas, but who have completed a rigorous program in an allied discipline and have sufficiently strong training in chemistry. Students are encouraged to submit complete applications for review before January; however, applications will be accepted online until January 15. After January 15, please contact Susie Marshall if you wish to apply.
For a complete application you will need:
- Unofficial copy of transcript uploaded to application
- Two letters of recommendation
- GRE General test scores
- GRE Subject test scores (recommended)*
- TOEFL exam scores (for international applicants only)
*Although the GRE Subject test score in Chemistry is not required, it is strongly recommended.
International Student Resources
- Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC)
- International House
- Volunteer with the Visas Program (CAELC)