Jul 22, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Chemistry, Thesis, MS

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering

Graduate Faculty

Amacher, Jeanine, PhD, protein biochemistry, X-ray crystallography, peptide-binding domains, cell signaling.
Anthony-Cahill, Spencer J., PhD, protein folding, protein engineering, structural biology.
Antos, John, PhD, protein engineering, protein conjugation chemistry, organic synthesis.
Bao, Ying, PhD, analytical and material chemistry, functional nanocomposites.
Berger, Robert, PhD, computational solid-state and materials chemistry.
Borda, Emily J., PhD, investigation of college students’ development of epistemological beliefs about science.
Bussell, Mark E., PhD, surface and materials chemistry of catalytic and environmental processes.
Clark, Catherine, PhD, environmental aquatic chemistry with a focus on the  carbon cycle and the photochemical and biological processing of pollutants.
Cullati, Sierra, PhD, protein biochemistry, cell signaling, protein kinases, yeast genetics.
Duffy, Erin, PhD, assessment of teaching and learning in chemistry, design of evidence-based curricular materials.
Emory, Steven R., PhD, analytical chemistry, spectroscopy, nanomaterials.
Gilbertson, John D., PhD, inorganic synthesis, small molecule activation, nanoparticle catalysis.
Kowalczyk, Tim, PhD, theoretical and computational physical chemistry, energy conversion in photoactive materials.
Larsen, Mike, PhD, polymer chemistry, stimuli-responsive materials, and organic chemistry.
Lemkau, Karin, PhD, environmental chemistry, contaminant fate and transport, oil spills and petroleum degradation.
McCarty, Jay, PhD, computational biochemistry, molecular dynamics, statistical mechanics.
Murphy, Amanda., PhD, organic synthesis, polymer and materials chemistry.
O’Neil, Gregory W., PhD, natural products chemistry, organic synthesis.
Rider, David, PhD, electrochemistry, polymer and materials science, plastics engineering.
Scheuermann, Margaret, PhD, organometallic chemistry.
Smirnov, Serge, PhD, structure, dynamics, function and engineering of modular cytoskeleton regulating proteins and chemically modified DNA.
Spiegel, P. Clint, PhD, RNA and protein biochemistry, X-ray crystallography, ribosome structure and function, blood coagulation factors.
Stephenson, Norda, PhD, conceptual understandings of college chemistry students; chemistry students’ proficiency in the science and engineering practices; persistence of underrepresented students in STEM.
Vyvyan, James R., PhD, organic synthesis, natural products, asymmetric catalysis.

Program Advisor: Serge Smirnov


This program prepares students for technical careers in industry, or for further study toward a more advanced degree.


A bachelor’s degree and departmental approval. Applicants with an undergraduate chemistry degree are expected to have completed the following courses (or their equivalent) with a grade of B or better: CHEM 333, CHEM 434, CHEM 351, 352,353, CHEM 461, 462, 463, and CHEM 441 or CHEM 471, 472, 473. A student with lower than B may be required to repeat that course as determined under advisement with the graduate program advisor. Students with a bachelor’s degree in another science field will choose an appropriate set of chemistry courses, in consultation with the Department’s Graduate Committee, to provide a chemistry foundation for graduate study.

Application Information

Specific Test Requirements: Graduate Record Exam, General Test.

Supporting Materials: A statement of research interests and future goals, including identification of up to three potential faculty research advisors, must accompany application.

Course Work Requirements

Thesis Option

The Master of Science thesis demonstrates that you are capable of pursuing a program of original and independent research, that you can formulate and carry out a research project, and that you can report on the project in a proper scientific manner. The thesis option prepares students for technical careers in industry, or for further study toward a more advanced degree. This option requires advanced course work in chemistry, biochemistry, and research, with the latter culminating in a MS thesis. Shortly after entering the program students select a faculty advisor based on their research interests and agree on a research problem. Under the guidance of their faculty advisor, students carry out the research program, and write and defend the thesis in a final oral exam.

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