Bucknell offers a Master of Science as well as a Master of Arts in chemistry.

Michael Krout, Graduate Coordinator
Tim Strein, M.A. Advisor

Master of Science in Chemistry

The degree of master of science in chemistry is designed to ensure students a thorough foundation in their field and to prepare them to continue their graduate education elsewhere or to obtain attractive employment in industry, government, or education. Graduate-level courses are offered in analytical, biochemical, environmental, inorganic materials, organic, physical and polymer chemistry.

Courses and Requirements

The program normally requires two full years.

Graduate students must complete at least seven courses for graduate credit, including research and thesis and a graduate seminar, in which they are expected to participate each semester.

There is no uniform set of course requirements; the courses recommended to students depend on their backgrounds and interests.

Candidates for the master of science degree must satisfactorily pass a written examination in their area of specialization and must either pass a comprehensive examination or obtain a satisfactory passing grade in an approved graduate credit course in each of three additional areas. In all, the candidate must in some way show competence in at least three of the four traditional areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, or physical chemistry. Students must present and orally defend a master’s thesis summarizing the results of their research.

Financial Aid

Graduate teaching assistantships are awarded to nearly all chemistry M.S. candidates to support graduate study. In addition, summer research stipends are normally available for focused laboratory research during the summer months.


Research in the well-equipped laboratories of the Rooke Chemistry Building is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Faculty Research Interests

Hasan Arslan, Polymer chemistry. Synthetic macrocycles, reversible binding, photo-physical and redox properties

Dee Ann Casteel, Organic Chemistry. Organic synthesis, synthesis of peroxides, anti-malarial, anti-viral, anti-tumor agents, medicinal chemistry.

Karen J. Castle, Physical Chemistry. Laser spectroscopic studies of atmospheric cooling and heating processes.

Charles H. Clapp, Biochemistry. Enzyme mechanisms and enzyme inhibitors.

Dabrina Dutcher, Experimental. Heterogeneous, atmospheric chemistry, aerosols

William D. Kerber, Inorganic Chemistry. Redox chemistry of iron in natural waters; speciation of Fe(III) complexes; photochemical oxidation of carboxylates and phenols by iron(III).

Michael Krout, organic synthesis, reaction methods development, natural product chemistry, total synthesis

Molly M. McGuire, Environmental Geochemistry. Atomic force microscopy (AFM); analysis of colloids in natural waters.

David Rovnyak, Biophysical Chemistry. Application of magnetic resonance techniques to the study of biological macromolecules.

Brian Smith, Materials Chemistry. 2D/3D polymer frameworks, pharmaceutical polymorphism

Robert A. Stockland, Jr., Inorganic and Polymer Chemistry. Design and synthesis of transition metal complexes with useful catalytic properties. Use of transition metal complexes to control polymerization and to modify polymers.

Timothy G. Strein, Analytical Chemistry. Capillary Electrophoresis, Ion Mobility Spectrometry, Bile Salt Aggregation, Chiral Separations, Electrophoretic Stacking, NMR, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry.

Rebecca Fagan Switzer, Biochemistry. Enzyme kinetics and mechanisms, enzyme inhibition, DNA methyltransferase

Brian W. Williams, Physical Chemistry. Synthesis and spectroscopic characterization of solvatochromic molecules; fluores

Master of Arts in Chemistry

The M.A. degree program in chemistry is for high school teachers of chemistry. It is designed to allow high school teachers to experience chemistry as it is actually practiced. A goal of the department is to help the teachers see themselves as chemists as well as teachers.

Courses and Requirements

The program normally consists of three summers of work; a fourth summer might be needed depending on the background of the individual teacher. Candidates must complete seven graduate credits, including research and thesis. A graduate class open only to M.A. candidates is offered each summer. Course work for graduate credit at Bucknell during the regular academic year can be counted toward the seven credits needed. Transfer of credit from other institutions may be accepted at the discretion of the department.

In addition to course work, each student will choose a research adviser before starting the first summer of work. The student will normally conduct research with that adviser for the duration of the program; the research will culminate in a written thesis. Students will present and orally defend a master’s thesis summarizing the results of their research.

Admission Requirements

Students must be full-time high school teachers. A letter of recommendation and support from the principal of the school is required. An undergraduate degree in chemistry is not required; if the degree is not in chemistry, a significant number of chemistry courses must have been completed.

Typical Course Sequence

First Year

 Program LengthCreditsCourses
Summer Research (675) 8 weeks 4 1
Research Methods (677) 8 weeks 2 0.5
Course #1 3-4 weeks 2 0.5

Second Year

 Program LengthCreditsCourses
Summer Research (675) 8 weeks 4 1
Research Methods (677) 8 weeks 2 0.5
Course #1 3-4 weeks 2 0.5

Third Year

 Program LengthCreditsCourses
Summer Research (675) 8 weeks 4 1
Research Methods (677) 8 weeks 2 0.5
Course #1 3-4 weeks 2 0.5
Thesis (699) 8 weeks and independent study as needed 4 1

Financial Aid

Bucknell will provide free housing during the summer for all M.A. candidates. In addition, by applying to the Office of Finance, M.A. students who are teachers in service may obtain a substantial discount in tuition. Forms are available at the Graduate Studies Office. Research assistantships are awarded to M.A. students on the basis of availability of funds and on seniority in the program.


Courses Offered

613. Synthetic Organic Chemistry (I or II; 3, 0)
Modern synthetic organic chemistry, with examples involving complex natural products. Application of organic mechanism, synthetic strategy, and advanced transformations to total synthesis.

614. Mechanistic Organic Chemistry (I or II; 3, 0)
Thermal and kinetic aspects of organic reactions are discussed along with the effect of substituents, solvents, and stereochemistry on reaction pathways. Qualitative molecular orbit theory of organic compounds is covered in depth. Weekly problem sessions are held.

617. Special Topics in Organic Chemistry (I or II; R; 4, 0)
Available by independent study. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.

622. Inorganic Chemistry II (II; 3, 4)
Survey course in modern inorganic chemistry covering transition metal, coordination, organometallic, and bioinorganic chemistry. Laboratory will consist of synthetic and physical measurements as well as the manipulation of air-sensitive materials..

627. Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry (I or II; R; 4, 0)
Topics vary. Available by independent study.

632. Analytical Chemistry II (I; 3, 4)
Theory and practice of techniques of instrumental analysis including spectrophotometry, fluorescence, mass spectrometry, atomic absorption, chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, and dynamic electrochemistry.

637. Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry (I or II; 4, 0)
Available by independent study. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.

640. Biological Physical Chemistry (II; 3, 4)
Introduction to physical chemistry for life science students, with emphasis on thermodynamics, hydrodynamics and spectroscopy.

641. Physical Chemistry I (I; 3, 4)
Introductory physical chemistry with emphasis on thermodynamics, kinetics, and electrochemistry.

642. Physical Chemistry II (II; 3, 4)
Introductory physical chemistry with emphasis on quantum mechanics, structure and bonding, molecular spectroscopy and statistical mechanics. The customized laboratory experience will emphasize applications of spectroscopy and computational methods. Prerequisite: CHEM 341.

647. Special Topics in Physical Chemistry (I or II; 4, 0)
Available by independent study. Prerequisites permission of the instructor.

651. Biochemistry I (I; 4, 0)
Introduction to biological chemistry with emphasis on the structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids, kinetics and mechanisms of enzymes, bioenergetics, and metabolism.

652. Biochemistry II (II; 4, 0)
Advanced topics in protein structure and function, protein folding, enzyme mechanisms, electron transport and free-energy coupling mechanisms, biosynthesis, metabolic regulation, and supramolecular assemblies. Prerequisite: CHEM 351 or permission of the instructor.

657. Special Topics in Biochemistry (I or II; 3, 1)
Structure/function relationships and dynamics of biomolecules. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

658. Biochemical Methods (II; 2, 0)
A course in laboratory techniques including cell fractionation, protein, and nucleic acid analysis. Spectrophotometry, chromatography, centrifugation, electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry are emphasized. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.

660. Advanced Environmental Chemistry (I; 4, 0)
Chemistry of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. Natural processes and anthropogenic effects will be discussed. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

675 and 676. Research (I and II; R; 0; 6-12) One-half to two course credits

685 and 686. Seminar (I and II; 3, 0) Half course

699. Thesis (I or II or S; 6) Half or full course

Courses for the M.A. Summer Chemistry Program for High School Teachers

610. Advanced Organic Chemistry for High School Teachers

620. Advanced Inorganic Chemistry for High School Teachers

630. Advanced Analytical Chemistry for High School Teachers

645. Advanced Physical Chemistry for High School Teachers

650. Advanced Biochemistry for High School Teachers

665. Advanced Environmental Chemistry for High School Teachers

677. Research Methods for High School Teachers