Chemistry Master's isReady to Launch

The UW Department of Chemistry is launching a new degree, the Master of Science in Applied Chemical Science & Technology, in partnership with UW Continuum College. The program opened for applications on Oct. 15 and classes begin in fall 2020.

The new chemistry master’s meets the demand for students who want advanced training in chemistry without committing to a five-to-seven-year Ph.D. program, according to Xiaosong Li, a UW professor of chemistry and the program director for the master’s.

Xiaosong Li

Xiaosong Li, a professor of chemistry and the program director for the new master's, is excited for the program to launch in 2020.

“I think a lot of students are interested in pursuing an advanced degree without the hassle of being in a Ph.D. program,” Li said. “We launched the program to fill the gap between an undergraduate degree and a Ph.D.”

Students who pursue the master’s can expect rigorous, cutting-edge research in experimental tools like instrument analysis and data science that are not covered in an undergraduate curriculum, Li said. The Master of Science in Applied Chemical Science & Technology is offered in either a one- or two-year format.

The one-year program “includes coursework and research components, and it helps students understand advanced research in chemical science and technology,” Li said.

The optional second year provides students a chance to complete a thesis and conduct more in-depth research. Students join a research team and carry out a research project under the supervision of a mentor, which serves as a valuable springboard for students looking to continue their studies at the doctoral level.  

“The second year is a great opportunity to build a strong portfolio in research,” Li said, “and helps students reposition themselves toward a Ph.D. degree in chemistry, biology or medicine — whatever they’re interested in. Whatever it is, they’ll have a better idea of what they want to pursue.”

Whether chemistry students opt for the one- or two-year option, they can expect a robust job market to greet them after graduation, Li said.

“I think this program will really connect the classroom education with the demand in the job market,” he said, noting that in the past two years there were 12,000 job postings associated with the skills students will gain from the program. “There’s a strong demand in various industries — pharmaceuticals, materials, analytical chemistry, chromatography — and the market’s been trending up.”

Market demand will also inform the curriculum, which will help Li and his colleagues tailor the degree to emerging industry trends — and keep the master’s graduates in demand.

“That part really excites me: to refine and update our curriculum to meet the need of the industry and cutting-edge research,” Li said.

For more information on the Master of Science in Applied Chemical Science & Technology, visit its website or sign up for email updates.