Frequently Asked Questions

Where should the application materials be sent?

All materials need to be sent to the CSUF University Admissions office.

How many letters of reference are required?

Three letters of recommendation are required.  Once you begin your application through the Cal State apply website you will be asked for the names and contact information for people that will submit letters of recommendation for you electronically.

How is the evaluation of applications conducted?

The University Admissions Office evaluates the application first. If it meets University standards, it will be forwarded to the Department at which time our admissions committee will evaluate the applicant's file and a decision is made. The Departmental evaluation process usually takes about 2-3 weeks. Note that our Department has a higher standard for admission than the University; we require a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 as well as a GPA of 2.75 or above in chemistry and biochemistry classes.  The committee also takes into account the letters of recommendation, research experience, etc to make a recommendation of accepted without conditions, accepted with conditions, or rejected. We will be in touch with the applicant via email once the decision is made. At any time during this period if you have a question, feel free to contact the Graduate Advisor. 

What GPA does the University Admission Office consider for admission into a graduate program at CSUF?

The University evaluates files by looking at the overall GPA (a GPA of 2.5 or better is required in order to meet University requirements). When you report your GPA, you need to report the overall GPA.

When your application arrives in our Department, we will look at your science classes as wel as your performance over time (sometimes students start off poorly but do better towards the end of their undergraduate studies so this is a more reliable way to look at student performance. In other cases, students take classes after obtaining their undergraduate degree and then those grades are taken into consideration as well). Your evaluation will take everything into account, however, note that our Department has a higher standard for admission than the University; we require a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 as well as science GPA of 2.75 or above in chemistry and biochemistry classes.

What if the student's GPA is lower than the minimum GPA required for admission by the University?

The University admissions office reviews applications first and they have a California State mandated requirement of a minimum overall GPA of 2.5. Applicants trying to enter a graduate program with a GPA lower than that will be rejected. Since this requirement is a State regulation, there is no way to admit students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement. The only way to get into the MS program at CSUF (or any other Cal State) would be to raise your GPA to at least 2.5. This can be done by taking classes at a community college or at a University. However, we would like to see those to be science courses in chemistry and/or biochemistry. Alternatively, you could repeat science courses that you took as an undergraduate and performed poorly to elevate your GPA. The Department's standards are higher than those of the University so at least a 2.75 GPA in your science courses would be required to get accepted.

Are there assistantships available for graduate students?

The MS program at CSUF does not offer stipends like those of a PhD program.  There are some opportunities such as teaching assistantships that can provide limited financial support. Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week and the maximum amount one could earn through this mechanism is approximately $12,000 per year. This does, however, take away a significant amount of time from your research activities and coursework. Also, securing a teaching assistantship is not guaranteed; they are assigned every semester by the Vice Chair of the Department, based on the departmental needs for that specific semester.

Is there any Tuition Waiver available for graduate students?

If you are an out-of-state student the Department will attempt to see if a tuition waiver can be obtained; however, this is a competitive process so the Department cannot guarantee anything.

What undergraduate level chemistry courses are required for admission to the MS program in Chemistry?

In order to be eligible for admission to the MS program in Chemistry you must have taken the following chemistry classes:    General chemistry plus lab (1 year), Organic chemistry plus lab (1 year), Quantitative (analytical) chemistry plus lab (1 semester each), Physical chemistry (1 year; no lab requirement).  Ideally, at least one semester of biochemistry is needed if you are interested in biochemistry research at the graduate level.

Is the subject GRE required?

The GRE subject exam is not required.

How long does the MS Chemistry program take to complete?

The MS degree in chemistry is a research-based degree, which means that you will spend a significant amount of time in a research laboratory doing experiments as well as writing a thesis. You should count on one full year including a full summer for the actual research portion of the degree. If you add on the required classes and thesis, it will typically add up to at least two years for a full-time student. This means that if you are a part-time student, it will take you proportionally longer to complete the M.S. degree.