Rice to offer new master’s degree in applied chemical sciences

Jeff Falk

Jade Boyd

Rice to offer new master’s degree in applied chemical sciences

Degree combines technical, management classes with hands-on training 

HOUSTON — (April 27, 2020) — Rice University’s Faculty Senate has approved a new professional master’s degree in applied chemical sciences that combines advanced coursework in science and management with business training and hands-on experience.

Marquee art for professional science master's degree in applied chemical sciences

Rice University’s new professional science master’s degree in applied chemical sciences combines advanced coursework in science and management with business training and hands-on experience. (Image by D. Mackey/Rice University)

The 16-month degree is the fifth in Rice’s professional science master’s program and is accepting applications for spring 2021. Professional master’s students take advanced graduate courses to extend their scientific expertise and develop cross-functional skills that are needed in modern industry and government.

“The applied chemical sciences program will prepare students with chemistry backgrounds for employment in the chemical, energy, medical and pharmaceutical industries as well as in government and the nonprofit sector,” said program advisor Michelle Gilbertson, assistant chair in Rice’s Department of Chemistry.

Unlike traditional graduate degrees that require an in-depth research project or thesis, professional master’s degrees require a three- to six-month internship that prepares students for work outside academia.

“Many jobs require skills that aren’t delivered through a traditional Ph.D. or master’s program,” said Dagmar Beck, director of the Professional Science Master’s Office in Rice’s Wiess School of Natural Sciences. “To provide better preparation for positions in the corporate world, this new degree program offers a more rounded academic and professional education.”

The applied chemical sciences degree program includes three areas of specialization: petroleum chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, and computational chemistry and data science.

Petroleum chemistry focuses on applications in the oil industry, with coursework that provides a molecular description of the processes that take place during oil extraction and processing.

Bioorganic chemistry focuses on the modern biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries, with coursework that examines the molecular structures of various compounds and the underlying mechanisms of the chemical reactions, syntheses and biological applications for which they are relevant.

The focus of computational chemistry and data science is on developing a theoretical understanding of complex chemical processes as well as skills in computer simulation development and data science analysis.

The applied chemical sciences degree program is overseen by Rice’s Professional Science Master’s Office, which also offers degrees in of bioscience and health policy, environmental analysis, space studies and subsurface geoscience. For more information, visit: profms.rice.edu.


This release can be found online at news.rice.edu.

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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 4 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.