M.A. Program (1 year)

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 is 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.

Success of the Program

Over the past six years, thirty one students enrolled in our MA program, including eighteen international students and three current students. 70% of our graduates entered Ph.D. programs in the United States and 30% elected to directly enter the workforce. Graduates seeking a Ph.D. received offers to transfer into our Ph.D. program (UVa Chemistry), and examples of other Ph.D. programs that admitted our MA graduates include Iowa State University, Johns Hopkins University, Notre Dame University, Rutgers University, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Maryland, University of Rochester, Stanford University, and the University of Texas (Austin). Average English language proficiency scores on TOEFL and UVa Speak exams improved substantially for international students.


Students pursuing a terminal M.A. 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 M.A. as a stepping-stone to a Ph. D. may want to transfer their M.A. 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 M.A. 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 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 M.A. students will begin by taking an intensive 6-week summer CAELC program dedicated to the needs of Chemistry M.A. students (i.e., an expanded EAP curriculum).  Through mid-Fall, M.A. students will receive 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. A TOEFL iBT test will be administered in mid-November to assess student progress. Evidence of English proficiency gains has been found to expand the career prospects of our graduates. There are no additional costs to an M.A. student for these CAELC services.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are currently $39,000 for out-of-state students and $24,000 for in-state students and include access to University facilities such as fitness centers and sporting events.  Health insurance is required for all students.

Information on Student Financial Aid for graduate students can be found here:  http://sfs.virginia.edu/current/grads

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 GRE scores, 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 CAELC services available, the Chemistry M.A. program can consider international applicants with outstanding scientific and educational credentials but with relatively low TOEFL scores 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 December; however, applications will be accepted online until December 15.   After December 15, please contact Susie Marshall (434-924-7014; sem8h@virginia.edu) if you wish to apply.

Online Application

For a complete application you will need:

  1. Unofficial copy of transcript uploaded to application
  2. Two letters of recommendation
  3. GRE General test scores (NOTE: Due to challenges as a result of COVID-19, the GRE requirement is waived for applications during the 2020-2021 academic year).
  4. GRE Subject test scores (recommended)* (NOTE: Due to challenges as a result of COVID-19, the GRE requirement is waived for applications during the 2020-2021 academic year).
  5. 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

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/grad.html