Med Chem (BS/MS) Program

An MS degree in biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry), is your next step towards a rewarding career in health sciences, biotechnology or medicinal science. The training you will receive in the Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry), M.S. degree program will prepare you for entry into a wide range of graduate and pre-professional programs.

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Biochemistry with a Concentration in Medicinal Chemistry is designed for students who are in the final year of their Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, biochemistry, biochemistry (medicinal chemistry), or molecular biosciences and biotechnology, who want to enhance their background in chemistry and biochemistry before entering schools of medicine, pharmacy and other health sciences. Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 semester hours. Detailed coursework information can be found below.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but in order to streamline the process, applications should be submitted by November 15 for spring admission and April 15 for fall admission.

The School of Molecular Sciences utilizes a two-part application process and both parts are required. The first part is the Pre-Application to the School of Molecular Sciences. The second part is the formal application through Graduate Admissions. This application should only be submitted after receiving notice of acceptance.

Step 1: 

Complete the SMS Pre-Application

Step 2:

Apply Now

(To be submitted only after notice of acceptance)


Minimum Requirements for Admission

  • Enrollment in one of the following BS degree programs: chemistry, biochemistry, biochemistry (medicinal chemistry), or molecular biosciences and biotechnology with no more than two semesters (fall/spring) remaining. 
  • Completion of 85 semester hours with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or better on a 4.0 grading scale
  • Completion of BCH 461 and completion of or enrollment in BCH 462 the semester the program is initiated. (Recommended)
  • Agreement from a research advisor from the School of Molecular Sciences. All faculty within the School of Molecular Sciences are approved to serve as research advisors. A co-advisor may be added with approval from the School of Molecular Sciences.
  • Establishment of a research project that has been approved by the research advisor, and plan for initiating the research.


You will need the following information to complete the Pre-Application:

  • Personal statement that includes your professional goals and how they relate to the medicinal chemistry program
  • Two letters of recommendation. One letter from your current research advisor and one from the selected MS research advisor. In cases where the current and future advisor are the same, or in the absence of a current research advisor, a letter from a course or laboratory faculty instructor can be substituted. Letters must be submitted electronically. Email addresses are used to track the letters, so applicants must be sure to enter the correct email address for each person listed. These email addresses will be entered within the online Pre-Application.
  • A personal interview with the Admissions Committee or a member of the Admissions Committee may be required if additional information is needed to determine eligibility for admission to the program

You will need the following information to complete the general application:

•  Beginning/ending dates and location(s) of your academic degree(s);
•  Grade point average (GPA) - Information on calculating overall, junior-senior undergraduate and graduate GPA is found on the Graduate Admission FAQ.
•  Arizona Residency information if you are a resident in the state of Arizona (general tax and employment history)

The GRE is not required for the Accelerated BS/MS degree program.

All applicants are required to pay the application fee ($70 – domestic / $115 – international). As a courtesy to applicants, this application fee is only required after you have received notice of acceptance based on the Pre-Application. There is no charge for the Pre-Application.


The Biochemistry MS program is a research-focused degree program for students wishing to take additional coursework and gain additional research experience prior to medical school or other professional degree program. Enrollment for at least one graduate credit (500-level or above) is required from the semester or initial admission, including prior to the completion of the BS degree.

The Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry) MS degree combines graduate coursework and research to create an extension of the BS degree to create more well-rounded students with the critical thinking skills necessary to be successful in professional programs in the health sciences. The 4+1 arrangement allows for the two-year MS to completed with only one year beyond the BS degree, by allowing for the overlap of the final year in the BS program.


Credit Hours

Required Coursework
CHM 535 Medicinal Chemistry - required


Additional Coursework (other 500-level courses)
Students are required to complete an additional three graduate (500-level or above) courses.


Seminars (CHM/BCH 501)
Students should complete one seminar per semester only. In cases where enrollment in/completion of four seminars is not feasible, an additional graduate course may be substituted.


Research (BCH 592)
Students should be engaged in research and register for research credit each semester. The number of credits will vary dependent upon the other coursework being taken. Four hours of lab work are required per credit hour of research.


Electives (additional courses or research)
Students can complete additional graduate courses or research credits in accordance with the guidelines outlined above.


Applied Project (BCH 593)
The culminating experience is an applied project in the area of medicinal chemistry in which the student is required to prepare and defend a written research paper to his/her supervisory committee. This paper must be an original research paper written in publishable format by the student.

  • The research paper on the applied project must be at least 50 pages in length, double-spaced and typed in a 12 point font. The 50 page length can include the abstract, references list, and any tables or figures.

Two (2) credits of Applied Project, BCH 593, must be taken to satisfy the degree requirements. These should be taken in the final semester.


Total Semester Hours Required


A maximum of 12 credits can be taken as an undergraduate student and counted toward the MS degree. A maximum of nine (9) credits can be shared between the BS and MS degrees.

There is a $300 program fee for the Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry) MS degree, but it does not apply until the BS degree has been completed.


The School of Molecular Sciences values a diverse student population and welcomes applications from international students. The University sets English proficiency requirements for admission for international students whose native language is not English, or for whom the official language of the country of origin is not English.

Applicants for the 4+1 BS/MS Medicinal Chemistry MS will likely meet the English Proficiency requirement through the progress in the BS degree, so an additional TOEFL or other English proficiency exam should not be necessary.


There is no guarantee of funding for the Medicinal Chemistry BS/MS program and MS students are not eligible for TA positions. It is possible some student hourly positions may be available to support the teaching responsibilities. Research advisors do have the ability to hire MS students in a RA role, but most will prioritize PhD students for these positions.

Students are encouraged to apply for eligible scholarships. The Graduate College maintains a page of funding opportunities and includes both internal and external scholarship/fellowship opportunities.

The undergraduate tuition rate will remain in place until the BS degree is completed. Once the BS degree has been completed, you will be assessed the graduate tuition rate and will be subject to the $300 program fee.


The 4+1 BS/MS Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry) degree program is only available to current ASU students in following BS degree programs: chemistry, biochemistry, biochemistry (medicinal chemistry), or molecular biosciences and biotechnology. In order to receive consideration, you would first need to transfer to one of the BS programs listed above.


I missed the deadline for application. Can I still apply?

Applications received after the deadline may be reviewed and considered for admission if space permits and timing allows. Everything needs to fully processed and completed by the start of the semester.

When should I apply for the 4+1?

The best time to apply is at the end of the junior year (or when you have only two semesters remaining in the BS degree). Applications are accepted for both fall and spring starts. This will afford a full year of overlap and two years of research toward the MS degree.

How does the 4+1 program work?

Enrollment in the 4+1 BS/MS program affords students the opportunity to work toward both the BS degree and MS degree at the same time. After being admitted to the MS program, the Graduate College inactivates the program leaving the student enrolled in only the BS program (this is to prevent confusion for Financial Aid and other university systems) until the BS degree is completed. Following the completion of the BS degree, the MS admission is reactivated for the original semester of application, allowing for the graduate courses taken while in the BS program to be counted toward the MS degree.

Utilizing the 4+1 framework, students are able to complete the two-year MS degree with only one additional year beyond the completion of the BS degree.

Is the 4+1 BS/MS program a good fit for me?

The 4+1 program was created with pre-med and other pre-health related majors in mind as a way for them remain engaged academically during the gap year between the BS and the start of the other program, while also allowing for them to earn an MS degree during that time. The 4+1 program can also be beneficial for students who are considering pursuing a PhD degree, but may need more research experience prior to applying.

Do I have to take the GRE?

The GRE is not required for the 4+1 degree program.

Will my scholarships/grants apply to the 4+1?

Students with the New American scholarship will be able to utilize any remaining eligibility for the 4+1 program. For other scholarships, you will need to check the eligibility requirements. Most scholarships awarded toward the completion of the BS will terminate upon completion of the degree.

For grants, you will need to check with the awarding agency.

Are there scholarships/grants for the 4+1 program?

There are not a lot of scholarships for graduate study, but the Graduate College does maintain a website with opportunities for which you might be eligible.

Who can submit letters of recommendation? Do they all need to be ASU professors?

One letter of recommendation must come from the faculty member who will be your research advisor for the MS degree. This should be a faculty member from SMS. The second letter can come from a previous research supervisor or instructor from a class. Letters from supervisors not related to the degree are not especially helpful as the committee will be looking for guidance on your potential success in both the research part of the program, but also with the graduate coursework.

Where can I find the form for recommendation letters?

There is no form for recommendation letters; they are submitted electronically. Within the Pre-Application you will provide email addresses for your recommendation writers and an email will be sent to each recommender with instructions on how to submit a letter in support of your application. We can only accept letters of recommendation that are submitted electronically using our system.

What is the best way to secure a research lab for the 4+1?

Professors' group requirements change constantly and we are not able to provide a list of actively recruiting faculty. You should reach out to faculty with whom you have an interest in working and determine if they are taking MS students and if they would will be willing to serve as your research advisor.

Can the supervisory committee consist of individuals outside of SMS or outside of ASU?

The research advisor should be from the School of Molecular Sciences. The research being conducted for the MS degree should be biochemistry in nature. If you are working in a lab outside of SMS, but conducting biochemistry research, finding a co-advisor from SMS may be allowable. Faculty from outside SMS may serve on the supervisory committee, but at least 50% must be from SMS.

When will a decision be made on my application?

The School of Molecular Sciences Admissions Committee will begin their review of applications close to the deadline. Every effort will be made to provide final decisions by at least a month before the start of the respective semester.

Where can I find information about the graduate admission services application and how do I contact them if I have a question?

Information on the Graduate Admission Services application can be found on their website or you can contact them by email or by calling 480-965-6113. Additional information can be found on their Contact page.

Do I have to pay the application fee?

Yes. The application fee is paid with the general graduate application. The fee is $70 for domestic students and $115 for international students. You should not apply through the Graduate Admission office until you receive notice of acceptance from SMS. There is no fee for submitting the Pre-Application.