The mission of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is to conduct world-class, groundbreaking research in the chemical sciences while offering the highest quality of education to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates. Our leadership in research includes the traditional areas of physical, analytical, inorganic, and organic chemistry, and has rapidly evolved to encompass environmental chemistry, chemical biology, biophysical chemistry, soft and hard materials chemistry, nanotechnology and chemistry education research. We pride ourselves on our highly interactive, diverse, and collegial scientific environment. Our emphasis on collaboration connects us to colleagues across campus, around the country, and throughout the world.

The Department of Chemistry offers a master of science in chemistry to a limited number of students. Specializations within the program are analytical, inorganic, materials, organic, physical chemistry, chemical biology as well as chemistry education research. Breadth coursework may be taken in other departments including physics, mathematics, computer sciences, biochemistry, chemical engineering, and in fields other than the student's specialization within the Department of Chemistry.

Excellent facilities are available for research in a wide variety of specialized fields including synthetic and structural chemistry; natural product and bio-organic chemistry; molecular dynamics and photochemistry; biophysical, bioanalytical, and bioinorganic chemistry; spectroscopy (including magnetic resonance and microwave), theoretical and experimental chemical physics, chemical dynamics, quantum and statistical mechanics; macromolecular and polymer chemistry, materials science, surface and solid-state chemistry; x-ray crystallography, lasers, and light scattering; and chemical education. Programs are assisted by department computing and instrument centers and by other facilities on campus including those of the Division of Information Technology (DoIT).

Information on the research fields of faculty members is available on the chemistry website.

Financial assistance is not guaranteed to master's candidates, but it may be possible to obtain a position as a teaching assistant.

Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

There are two tracks leading to the Master of Science in Chemistry. Currently the department does not directly admit students seeking the master’s degree via either track, except under special circumstances, such as being employed by a local company or in the military or UW undergraduate students enhancing their chemistry background.  To obtain a master of science (M.S.) degree, the student must meet both the Department of Chemistry and the Graduate School requirements.

Prospective master's candidates are expected to have satisfactorily completed the equivalent in class and lab of the fundamental courses in chemistry offered at UW–Madison, one year of physics, and mathematics through calculus. Students who have not completed all the prerequisites may be admitted in exceptional cases, but any deficiencies must be made up in the first year of graduate study.

A grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work is the minimum required for admission to graduate studies. Students for whom English is not the native language are required to present scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Before teaching assistant appointments can be finalized, students for whom English is a second language must participate in the SPEAK Test, the institutional version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE).

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations There are currently no assessments or examinations required by the chemistry department for the coursework-based M.S. degree. Research-based M.S. degree requires either a thesis or a written document approved by the research advisor. Students must meet all Graduate School grade requirements.
Language Requirements There are currently no language requirements for the master's degree in Chemistry.

Required Courses

Of the 30 credits required for the Master's degree, at least 24 must be completed in the chemistry department. The remaining 6 can be from chemistry or related topic areas such as physics, mathematics, computer science, or business. The selection of courses must be approved by the student's advisor.

There are two tracks leading to the Master of Science in Chemistry.1

Research Master's Degree Track

The Research M.S. requires 30 credits, at least 15 of which must come from research or advanced lab work. A thesis or written final report, submitted to the advisor, is also required. The research credits obtained before the student joins a research group does not count toward the degree.  The credits from CHEM 607 Laboratory Safety and CHEM 901 Seminar-Teaching of Chemistry do not count toward the degree.

Coursework Master's Degree Track

The coursework M.S. requires 30 credits, no more than 8 of which may be from research or advanced lab work. The research credits obtained before the student joins a research group does not count toward the degree. The credits from CHEM 607 Laboratory Safety and CHEM 901 Seminar-Teaching of Chemistry do not count toward the degree.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 12 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

Up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above from a UW–Madison undergraduate career are allowed to count toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement; if those 7 credits are numbered 700 or above from a UW–Madison undergraduate career, they are allowed to count toward the minimum graduate coursework requirement. All credits so counted must be over and above the minimum credits that were required by the original undergraduate degree. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student toward the residence and degree credit requirements; if those 15 credits of coursework taken as a UW–Madison Special student are numbered 700 or above, they are allowed to count toward the minimum graduate coursework requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Articulates, critiques, and elaborates the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in an area of chemistry.
  2. Identifies sources and assembles evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in an area of chemistry.
  3. Demonstrates understanding of chemical science in a historical, social, or global context.
  4. Demonstrates the ability to select and utilize appropriate methodologies and practices to solve chemical problems.
  5. Evaluates and synthesizes information pertaining to questions and challenges in an area of chemistry.
  6. Communicates clearly in both written and oral formats.
  7. Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.


Berry, John
Bertram, Timothy
Blackwell, Helen
Boydston, AJ
Brunold, Thomas
Burstyn, Judith (Chair)
Cavagnero, Silvia
Choi, Kyoung-Shin
Coon, Joshua
Ediger, Mark
Fredrickson, Daniel
Gellman, Samuel
Hamers, Robert
Hermans, Ive
Jin, Song
Landis, Clark
McMahon, Robert
Moore, John
Nathanson, Gilbert
Record, Thomas
Schmidt, Jordan
Schomaker, Jennifer
Schwartz, David
Shakhashiri, Bassam
Sibert, Edwin (Associate Chair)
Smith, Lloyd
Stahl, Shannon
Weaver, Susanna Widicus
Weix, Daniel
Woods, Claude
Yethiraj, Arun
Yoon, Tehshik
Zanni, Martin


Boydston, Andrew
Garand, Etienne
Goldsmith, Randall


Buller, Andrew
Martell, Jeffrey
Pazicni, Sam
Stowe, Ryan
Wang, Tina
Wickens, Zachary
Yang, Yang


Feng, Dawei (Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering)
Forest, Katrina (Professor of Bacteriology)
Ge, Ying (Professor of Cell and Regenerative Biology)
Gilbert, Pupa (Professor of Physics)
Golden, Jennifer (Assistant Professor of Pharmacy)
Gong, Shaoqin Sarah (Professor of Biomedical Engineering)
Gopalan, Padma (Professor of Materials Science and Engineering)
Hoskins, Aaron (Associate Professor of Biochemistry)
Kuech, Thomas (Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering)
Li, Lingjun (Professor of Pharmacy)
Lynn, David (Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering)
Mecozzi, Sandro (Professor of Pharmacy)
Middlecamp, Catherine (Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)
Pedersen, Joel (Professor of Soil Science)
Schreier, Marcel (Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering)
Tang, Weiping (Professor of Pharmacy)
Yu, Lian (Professor of Pharmacy)


Thompson, Blaise (Instrument Tech)


Martin, Mathew (Instrument Maker–Advanced)
Mullarkey, James (Instrument Maker–Advanced)
Myers, Steven (Machine Shop Supervisor)
Schneider, Kendall (Instrument Maker–Advanced)


Clewett, Cathy (Senior Instrument Technologist)
Fry, Charles (Director of the NMR Laboratory)
Guzei, Ilia (Director of the X-Ray Laboratory)
Hofstetter, Heike (Associate Director of the NMR Laboratory)
Shanks, Robert (Senior Instrument Technologist)
Vestling, Martha (Director of the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory)


Bates, Desiree (Computational Chemistry Leader)
Drier, Tracy (Master Glassblower)
McGuire, Paul (High Performance Computing Systems Administrator)
Silver, Alan (Computer Systems Administrator)