Master's Degree in Chemistry

As education costs continue to skyrocket, a great number of students find themselves graduating from college saddled down by the debt incurred from their education. When considering whether or not to obtain a master's degree, students must decide whether the cost of obtaining a graduate degree is worth the additional tens of thousands of dollars in student loans in which they must apply.

Benefits of Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Chemistry

While the opinion of financial experts remains split on the benefits of a master’s degree, they all tend to agree that grad school benefits individuals in highly specialized fields the most. A graduate with a master’s degree in chemistry can expect to earn a higher wage, which can help to offset the additional financial aid they must incur. In addition to earning more money, graduates with a master’s degree in chemistry can also qualify for positions of more responsibility and prestige when applying for jobs out of college. 

What Schools Have the Best Programs for Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Chemistry?

U.S. News and World Report listed a three-way tie for the best graduate chemistry programs when they released their 2010 rankings. The top ten graduate programs in chemistry were as follows:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  • Northwestern University
  • Scripps Research Institute
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Columbia University

As would be expected, ivy leagues schools dominate the top ten, but students who can’t afford a degree from one of these colleges should not despair. The University of Texas in Austin, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of California-Los Angeles are all public schools ranked in U.S. News and World Reports top 20 programs.

Questions to Ask When Applying to a Grad School to Get a Master’s Degree in Chemistry?

Before a student selects a program, they should ask some of the following questions to determine the right school for them.

How many years does it take to graduate?
- How long it takes you to graduate from your grad school program can depend on how any classes you can take each semester, and how many credit hours a program requires you to complete. Some schools may not offer the classes you need every semester, which can also extend the amount of time you need before graduating. If you have a two year plan, but find it will take you three or four years to graduate from your first choice of schools, than you may want to reconsider where you apply.

How much teaching does the program require you to perform at the college?
- Many students return to college several years after obtaining their bachelors degree, and may not have the ability to commit to a program that demands a high teaching load of them. Be sure you know what your requirements will be in any program before you apply.

What kind of jobs did the previous graduates from the program obtain after leaving school?
- This can be a good indicator of how your potential school is viewed in the job market, and of the type of potential jobs could await you out of college. 

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