Dear Prospective Graduate Student,
Thank you for your interest in our graduate program in Chemistry. Our faculty have
designed a program that will provide students advanced knowledge and training in chemistry. Graduates
with an M.S. in Chemistry will be prepared to continue study at the Ph.D. level, to
pursue careers in private industry or government affiliated labs, and/or to teach
at the community college level. In addition to course work, the student will participate
in original research culminating in a written thesis, its defense, and a public presentation.
We are very excited about our program and are pleased that you are interested in joining
us. Some of the special features of this program include:
- Research-based MS degree that includes a written thesis and oral presentation,
- Close, individual guidance by highly trained faculty.
- Incorporation of science pedagogy and teaching experience, and
- Well-equipped, modern laboratory facilities.
Because our degree is research based, each student is paired with a faculty advisor
in the area of their interests. Prospective students are highly encouraged to contact faculty members directly
before applying to the program to discuss research opportunities. The ability of
a faculty member to take on new graduate students changes frequently, and space may
be limited in the program. In order to pursue the Master of Science Degree in Chemistry,
you must make separate applications to, and be accepted by, both the University and
the Department. Applications to the University and information on admission requirements
may be requested from the Office of Admissions, (760) 750-4848. The University application
and fee pay system is online and can be found on the main school website.
Applicants must meet the following qualifications to be considered for program admission:
- Applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to graduate studies at
California State University San Marcos. These are described in this catalog under
Graduate Studies in the section titled “Admission Requirements for Graduates and Post-Baccalaureate
- The applicant must have earned a bachelor's degree with a major in chemistry, biochemistry,
biology, biotechnology, or related field. Students with majors in other areas may
also be accepted contingent upon their satisfactory demonstration of competence in
either chemistry or biochemistry depending on which option they intend to pursue (see
- The applicant must have maintained a minimum overall GPA of 2.8, and a minimum major
GPA of 3.0. Conditional admission may be granted to applicants who do not meet this
- The applicant must have completed the following prerequisite courses (or their equivalent):
one year of Calculus, CHEM 202L, CHEM 275, CHEM 401. In addition, applicants who wish
to pursue the chemistry option should have completed CHEM 402, 404, and CHEM 416,
and those who wish to pursue the biochemistry option should have completed BIOL 210
and CHEM 351 (or CHEM 341). Applicants who either received their bachelor’s degrees
two or more years prior to their expected entry into the program, or who received
a grade of less than B in any of the prerequisite courses listed above, may be accepted
to the program contingent upon their demonstration of competence within each sub-field
by passing the appropriate ACS placement exams, or GRE subject tests either before
or during their first semester in the program. Students failing to show competence
in this manner will be required to take and pass (with a minimum grade of B) an appropriate
- All applicants, regardless of citizenship, who do not possess a bachelor’s degree
from a post-secondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction,
must satisfy the English language proficiency requirement as described in this catalog
under Graduate Studies in the section titled “English Language Admission Requirements
for Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Applicants.”
- All applicants are required to complete the general test of the Graduate Record Examination
(GRE). GRE subject tests in either Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology, or Chemistry
are recommended but not required.
Applicants must submit the following items:
- A university application (available online through CalStateApply, calstate.edu/apply).
- The application fee (~$55).
- One set of official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended with indication
of graduation (if not in English, certified English translations must be included). Transcripts
from CSUSM can be unofficial.
- Official GRE scores and, if applicable, TOEFL results.
- Three (3) letters of recommendation acknowledging the applicant’s academic capabilities.
Two of these letters should come from individuals capable of commenting on the applicant’s
potential for graduate-level research in chemistry/biochemistry. The last letter can
be from an individual outside the applicant’s chosen field of study. Be sure to click
on the ‘send invitation’ link next to each recommender’s contact info so they receive
Complete applications, including test scores, and recommendation letters, should be
received in the program office by May 31st for admission into the Fall semester. However, applications will be accepted as long
as space allows until June 30th. There is no Spring admission.
Review and Acceptance
All files received by the May 31st deadline will be reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee for potential acceptance.
Applicants who meet all CSUSM and prerequisites set by the Department of Chemistry
and Biochemistry (see above) will be admitted as classified graduate students. In
addition, promising applicants who have deficiencies in specific admission criteria
(i.e. missing one or more preparatory courses or minor GPA deficiencies) that can
be remedied by additional preparation or coursework (see above), may be considered
for admittance with conditional classification status. The procedure for removing
the acceptance conditions will be detailed by the review committee in the acceptance
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. For a list of answers to
frequently asked questions, please visit the Admissions website.
Robert Iafe, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Coordinator
Phone: (760) 750-8283