Graduate Program

Thank you for your interest in our M.S. graduate program at Western Washington University. The Chemistry Department is located in a modern four-story building with state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment. Our program emphasizes the professional development of graduate students through close mentoring by a faculty advisor. We feel it is an ideal program for those looking for advanced training which will lead to industrial employment, community college instruction, or for students not quite ready for a doctoral program.

Our graduate students:

  • Conduct and publish cutting-edge research in a variety of subdisciplines of chemistry
  • Present their research to faculty and students in the department, and at regional and national meetings
  • Take on leadership roles as the most senior students in their research groups
  • Are financially supported with teaching and research assistantships
  • Complete rigorous graduate-level courses in their areas of interest
  • Gain a competitive advantage in pursuing employment or seeking admission to Ph.D. programs

Program Overview

Thesis Option

The Master of Science thesis demonstrates that you are capable of pursuing a program of original and independent research, that you can formulate and carry out a research project, and that you can report on the project in a proper scientific manner. The thesis option prepares students for technical careers in industry, or for further study toward a more advanced degree. This option requires advanced coursework in chemistry, biochemistry, or environmental chemistry and research, with the latter culminating in an M.S. thesis. Shortly after entering the program, students select a faculty advisor based on their research interests and agree on a research problem. Under the guidance of their faculty advisor, students carry out the research program, and write and defend the thesis in a final oral examination.

Course Work Requirement:

Chem 595 (2), 596 (3), 690 (12), plus 28 credits under advisement

Industrial Internship Option

Students interested in pursuing a career in industry can obtain practical experience by participating in the industrial internship option as part of their M.S. program. Students choosing this option will normally earn a master's degree via the non-thesis option. Students spend one or two quarters as an intern with a company which has been selected in advance. This internship will normally take place during the second year of graduate study. Students interested in pursuing an industrial internship should notify the program advisor as early as possible during the first year of graduate study. The department cannot guarantee that an internship opening will be available for all interested students. In addition to the internship, students exercising this option will be expected to submit a comprehensive report, according to an approved format, describing the work accomplished during the internship. A seminar presentation describing the work is required. Additionally, the student will be expected to pursue a limited research problem on campus, requiring the equivalent of at least one quarter’s work.

Course Work Requirement

Chem 501 (6), 595 (2), 596 (3), 694 (6-12), plus 31 credits under advisement



With further inquiries, contact the program advisor, Dr. Serge Smirnov.