Jun 17, 2024  
Graduate Studies Catalog 2021-2022 
Graduate Studies Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, Biochemistry, Clinical Chemistry

Click here to view the list of programs.

Dr. Joan M. Wasilewski, Chair, Chemistry
570-941-7705 • joan.wasilewski@scranton.edu

Dr. Arthur Catino, Director of Graduate Programs
570-941-7797 • arthur.catino@scranton.edu

Department Faculty: Professors - Christopher Baumann, Timothy Foley, David A. Rusak; Associate Professors – Arthur Catino, John C. Deak, Michael Fennie, David E. Marx,  Nicholas Sizemore, Katherine A. Stumpo, Joan M. Wasilewski.


The Department of Chemistry offers Master of Science degree programs in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Clinical Chemistry.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Programs

Master of Science programs are offered in Chemistry and Biochemistry. The MS has an optional Thesis track that is directed toward subsequent work for the doctoral degree and an important preparation for research activity in industry or elsewhere. Its requirements include 30 credit hours of classroom courses and independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Usually 9 of the 30 credits are devoted to the thesis research.

Clinical Chemistry Program

The Clinical Chemistry program is designed to provide advanced scientific and management training to prepare participants for leadership positions in hospital, industrial, or other private analytical laboratories. The M.S. program in Clinical Chemistry has two tracks: Thesis and Administration. The Thesis track is designed for students who wish to emphasize development of research capabilities. The Administration track is designed for students who wish to combine their scientific training with some exposure to matters of administration in health/medical/laboratory environments. Both tracks require a minimum of 36 graduate credits.

Admissions Requirements
Chemistry and Biochemistry Programs

Applicants for the Master of Science programs in Chemistry or Biochemistry must possess, or be in close proximity to possessing, a baccalaureate degree which includes full-year courses in General and Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical or Biophysical Chemistry, General Physics, and Mathematics through Integral Calculus. A GPA of at least 3.00 is required overall and a GPA of at least 2.75 is required in the science courses.

Certain of these requirements may be waived at the discretion of the department. Students with limited undergraduate course deficiencies may be admitted with the approval of the department on condition that such deficiencies are corrected concurrently with their initial graduate course.

Clinical Chemistry Program

Applicants for the program will normally have a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, or Medical Technology. Other undergraduate degrees may be acceptable if appropriate background courses in the sciences (including a two semester sequence in organic chemistry) have been taken. The undergraduate transcripts of all applicants will be examined to determine if there are any deficiencies in background courses.

An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 overall, and a 2.75 GPA for science courses, is expected for admission to the program.

Placement Examination

Each incoming student will take a placement examination given by the department prior to the student’s first registration.

If a student fails to pass the placement test the first time he/she takes it:

  • the student will be encouraged to take steps to renew/refresh his/her knowledge of the material covered on the placement test; a student who is a GTA will be permitted to retain his/her GTA. The student will be expected to retake the placement test no later than the end of the first semester of the graduate program.

If a student fails to pass the placement test the second time he/she takes it:

  • the student will be required to audit CHEM 232 and CHEM 233 at the University of Scranton (or take an equivalent series of courses at a four-year ACS recognized institution); a student who is a GTA will lose his/her GTA appointment. The student will retake the placement test following the completion of the organic chemistry sequence.

If a student fails to pass the placement test the third time he/she takes it:

  • the student will be dismissed from the Chemistry program.
Capstone Experience

The capstone experience for students seeking the Master of Science degree consists of either a comprehensive examination or research which culminates in the writing and defense of a thesis. Both of these experiences are described below.


MS candidates in the Thesis Tracks for Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Clinical Chemistry are required to do independent research and write a thesis.

Each student interested in pursuing the MS in the Thesis Track should enroll in CHEM 509, Introduction to Research, in her/his first semester of study.  By the end of the first semester, each student should

(a) choose a research mentor,

(b) decide on a research project,

(c) assemble a thesis committee consisting of the research mentor and two readers from the department,

(d) prepare a proposal for the research project and obtain the approval of the proposal by the members of the thesis committee.

When the project proposal is approved the student should progressively carry out the necessary laboratory experimentation. When the work is complete, it must be reported in a thesis which is publicly defended before the Chemistry Department. The credits awarded for the thesis (CHEM 599) can vary from two to eight, depending on the needs of the student.

The requirement of a comprehensive examination will be waived for any student who has successfully completed the master’s thesis.

Comprehensive Examination

Candidates for the non-thesis MS degrees in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Clinical Chemistry must pass a comprehensive examination, based on the core courses required in the respective programs. The comprehensive examination is normally taken after the core courses have been completed. Students who do not pass the comprehensive examination on the first attempt will be allowed to take the entire examination a second time. Students failing the comprehensive examination for the second time will not be considered for the degree.

Graduate Assistantships

Students enrolled in the Chemistry programs may hold graduate assistantships. Some of these are in the Chemistry Department, some are in other departments such as Biology. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) in the Chemistry Department must be in the MS Thesis Track. They are responsible for conducting undergraduate laboratory sections during the two regular semesters. Responsibilities of GTAs assigned to other departments vary depending on the level of the assistantship and department needs. A graduate assistant receives a stipend and is eligible for a tuition scholarship. Application for all assistantships must be made by February 1.