There are some common questions to consider throughout each phase of the process.
Some questions will be answered easily, while others will take more time to explore.
Referring to a variety of resources and getting input from others will inform the process.
Graduate work in the chemical sciences is challenging. It requires a lively sense of curiosity, a passion for scientific inquiry, and a strong work ethic. To succeed in graduate school you must be willing to learn new things, committed to team goals and the hard work required to achieve success , and prepared to define and achieve your own goals in the context of your career plans. Depending upon your goals and the program in which you enroll, you will be making a serious commitment of at least two to five years.
As you determine whether your career pathway should include graduate school:
Honestly assess whether you like problem solving and whether you have the requisite skills and motivation to successfully complete graduate degree
With a bachelor’s degree, there are many places that you can go:
With a professional science master’s degree, you will be prepared specifically for:
Some programs are for students who are employed full-time.
Does a P.S.M. Pay Off?
With a master’s degree in chemistry, you could have a range of experiences (research, a library thesis, satisfactory completion of graduate level coursework, or a combination of all three options) that prepare you to:
With a doctoral degree in chemistry, you should be able to lead research projects of your own and help develop new knowledge. This prepares you to:
Chemistry is at the center of an increasing number of related disciplines called the “Chemical Sciences”. A molecular vision of science and connections among macroscopic and microscopic properties are shaping advances:
Considering where you might go right after graduate school and later in your career will help you identify goals, focus on experiences that develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities, and make the most of your graduate studies.
Substantial and sometime rapid changes in the chemical sciences landscape make it challenging to predict your career path. During your career you will face new challenges due to the continued changes in scientific knowledge, technology, the economy, politics, and many other aspects influencing the chemical sciences landscape. Your success will depend on the development of a wide range of skills. These include technical skills, the abilities to lead, communicate, and collaborate, and above all, being recognized as a problem solver.
Graduate programs in the chemical sciences offer doctoral and a range of master’s degrees. Specific requirements vary across graduate programs, but all will expect you to:
Although most graduate programs, like bachelor’s programs, involve coursework, your time in graduate school will be very different from what you experienced as an undergraduate student. Research is a primary component of doctoral and many master’s degree programs. There are also master’s programs focused on professions in which chemistry is used.
Graduate programs should broaden your horizons, providing experiences that prepare you for your career. Since their graduates pursue a range of careers in a variety of employment sectors, research-based doctoral programs focus on broadly applicable skills. Other programs, such as professional science masters programs, are focused on specific career options, often in industry.
Formal requirements and optional opportunities vary across graduate programs. The key is finding those programs with the right balance and flexibility to help you reach your goals. Consider opportunities to:
Some programs are changing what their graduate students are expected and encouraged to do, responding to workforce needs, requirements of funding agencies, and a collection of reports and recommendations.
Graduate school is also a time to cultivate a network. People with whom you work and interact during graduate school can continue to provide insights, connections, advice, and support throughout your career.