Chemistry is about the nature of matter, how to make it, how to measure it, how to model it. In that sense chemistry really matters; it is essential to explaining all the real world. It holds the key to making new drugs, creating new materials, and understanding and controlling material properties of all sorts.  It is no wonder then that chemistry is called the "Central Science." Traditionally, it is divided into subdisciplines, such as organic, inorganic, physical, biological, theoretical, and analytical, but these distinctions blur as it is increasingly appreciated how all of science, let alone chemistry, is interconnected. 

A deeper understanding of chemistry enables students to participate in research and studies involving biotechnology, nanotechnology, catalysis, human health, materials, earth and environmental sciences, and more. Together, faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students actively work side by side developing new probes of biological molecules, modeling protein folding and reactivity, manipulating carbon nanotubes, developing new oxidation and polymerization catalysts, and synthesizing organic molecules to probe ion-channels. The overarching theme of these pursuits is a focus at the atomic and molecular levels, whether this concerns probing the electronic structure and reactivity of molecules as small as dihydrogen or synthesizing large polymer assemblies. The ability to synthesize new molecules and materials and to modify existing biological structures allows the properties of complex systems to be analyzed and harnessed with huge benefit to both the scientific community and society at large.

The Master of Science is available only to current Ph.D. students or as part of a coterminal program. Applicants for the M.S. degree in Chemistry are required to complete, in addition to the requirements for the bachelor's degree, a minimum of 45 graduate-level units and a M.S. thesis. Of the 45 units, approximately two-thirds must be in the department and must include at least 12 units of graduate level lecture courses exclusive of the thesis.