Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

The Graduate Program in Chemistry

The Master of Science degree program in chemistry provides students having an undergraduate foundation in chemistry the opportunity to engage in advanced course work, in-depth study and independent research to acquire the skills of assimilating new information and generating new knowledge. The Department of Chemistry is one of 16 departments within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Who to Contact:    

Dr. Robert Kieber, Graduate Coordinator
Tel: 910-962-3865

Why Choose UNCW for your MS in Chemistry?

The UNCW Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is routinely in the top five percent of master’s degree-granting institutions in the entire country.

One of the most important factors contributing to our current success is the close supervision and mentoring of students by faculty (ca. 2:1).

Another has been our acquisition of major instrumentation through the NSF MRI and NC Biotech programs, including a 600 MHz NMR spectrometer and both GC and UHPLC coupled mass spectrometers.

Nearly 100 percent of our graduates find relevant employment after completing their degrees, which is another indicator of our program’s success.

A Unique Experience

We offer graduate students a diversity of research areas from which to choose within the traditional bounds of chemistry as well as non-traditional research programs.

The research focus areas include biochemistry, inorganic and organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, organometallic chemistry, atmospheric and marine chemistry and chemical education.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of several research areas in our chemistry graduate program we enroll many graduate students from varied undergraduate backgrounds. Approximately 30 percent of our full-time graduate students do not have traditional undergraduate degrees (BS/BA) in chemistry.

Graduate students also have many opportunities to teach undergraduate labs and mentor younger students in research, including undergraduates and new graduate students. 

Financial Support

Financial support through tuition remissions and teaching assistantships is available to qualified students.

Application Procedures and Deadlines

Applications will be accepted and considered until June 15 for Fall Admissions and November 15 for Spring Admissions. For application details, visit:

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the graduate program in chemistry are required to submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • An official application for graduate admission
  • Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative and analytical only)
  • Three recommendations by individuals in professionally relevant fields
  • Non-native English speaking students must also submit official TOFEL scores
  • A bachelor's' degree with a concentration in chemistry or a closely related field from an accredited college or university in this country or its equivalent in a foreign institution  is required along with a "B" average or better in chemistry courses.
  • Admission decisions are based upon several factors, and where other indicators of success warrant, individuals who fall below the established criteria in one of the areas may be considered for admission.

Degree Requirements

Programs leading to the Master of Science degree require a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study. "A minimum of 12 semester hours (4 courses) must be taken from the following core courses: Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHM516), Advanced Physical Chemistry (CHM 521), Advanced Analytical Chemistry (CHM 536), Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (CHM 546) and Advanced Biochemistry (CHM 568)". Up to eight credit hours of graduate courses in other natural and mathematical sciences may be approved by the student's advisory committee. A maximum of six semester hours of credit may be transferred from another accredited institution. Grades earned on transfer work must be equivalent to a "B" or better, and courses must be acceptable to the student's advisory committee. A minimum of 24 semester hours of graduate study must be completed in residence.

Each student must successfully complete a written and oral comprehensive exam.

  • Each student must submit a thesis reporting the results of an original research project that has been approved by the student's advisory committee. An oral defense of the thesis is required. Each student will present a seminar on his or her research project.
  • The program must be completed within five years of the date of first registration for graduate study.

Chemistry Facilities

Graduate classes in chemistry are taught in a 100,000 square foot laboratory science facility (Dobo Hall) which features contemporary classrooms, laboratories, offices, a biohazard lab, a clean room, cold rooms and instrument rooms, all with modern computer capabilities. High end instrumentation includes 400 and 600 MHz NMRs and low resolution ion trap and high resolution time of flight mass spectrometers, both coupled to uHPLC systems, as well as an ion trap GC/MS ( The university has an excellent library with over 350,000 volumes, almost 5,000 serial titles and more than 80 journals related to chemistry.

About UNCW

The University of North Carolina Wilmington is one of 17 constituent universities in the UNC system.  We are located in southeastern North Carolina, in the city of Wilmington, situated on the east bank of the Cape Fear River and just five miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Wilmington was also recently voted the best riverfront city by USA today, Readers Choice Awards. 

UNCW has consistently maintained its "Top 10" ranking as one of the best public institutions in the South as well as its "Top 15" ranking as one of the best overall universities in the region, according to U.S News & World Report. 

With nearly 13,000 students, UNCW provides excellent student resources, including a comprehensive library, smart classrooms with state-of-the-art technology and campus-wide wireless Internet service. 

Additionally, UNCW is in close proximity to Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach communities and the Intracoastal Waterway. Our graduate students and faculty enjoy a wide range of water-related activities including sailing, kayaking, diving and paddle boarding. There is also an active surf culture within the department fostered by our graduate students and faculty. UNCW is consistently ranked as one of the 10 best universities in the nation by Surf magazine based on its academic reputation and the quality of its surf.