Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry), MS

Set yourself up for sustained success in medical school, pharmacy school, or other higher education in the health care profession by taking advanced graduate coursework, gaining research experience and earning both your BS and MS degrees in five years.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry), MS

Students earning an MS in biochemistry with a concentration in medicinal chemistry from the School of Molecular Sciences are trained in the fundamental aspects of the discipline while joining transdisciplinary teams that work on larger, mission-based contemporary problems in areas such as:

  • fundamental chemical biology
  • medicine and health
  • structure function and dynamics

ASU ranked #6 in a study published in Thompson Reuters' Science Watch, which measured the world-wide impact of publications in chemistry in terms of the number of citations that papers received.


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.

Requirements Hours
Core Coursework 3
Required Coursework 9
Seminars 4
Research 6
Electives 6
Applied Project 2
Total Semester Hours Required 30

 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.

Courses and electives

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.

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 credit hours is required, including coursework, seminars, research, and an applied project consisting of a written research paper. Courses are selected by students in consultation with their supervisory committee based on the research area.

The Master of Science in biochemistry is awarded when the student has obtained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in coursework, demonstrated quality performance in the laboratory and completion of the research project, completed and presented an approved research paper at an oral defense to the student's supervisory committee, and met all deadline dates and requirements set by the Graduate College.

A program fee in the amount of $300 per semester is required in addition to the normal tuition.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in chemistry, biochemistry or a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement
  4. three letters of recommendation
  5. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Applicants interested in pursuing the accelerated degree program should review the requirements and submit a pre-application found on the School of Molecular Sciences website prior to submitting a formal Graduate Admission Services application to the degree program.

Career Opportunities

This program is intended for students who plan to continue their educational training in pharmacy or medical school or in a related field and want to expand their background knowledge in biochemistry before beginning their professional education.

Professionals with training achieved in pursuit of a graduate degree in chemistry or biochemistry have opportunities in five general areas: industry (R&D, quality control), academia (high school and higher education), government (research, policy), nonprofit (policy, public education) and entrepreneurship (consulting, startups). In addition to specialized technical skills, graduates possess vital, high-demand skills, such as critical thinking, teamwork and collaboration, and time management.

Some career examples include:

  • chemistry lecturer
  • drug discovery scientist
  • high school teacher
  • medical doctor
  • medical lab technician
  • pharmacist
  • pharmacology scientist
  • research and development scientist
  • veterinarian

The American Chemical Society also provides helpful resources and a more exhaustive list of possible careers on their website at

Core coursework

Course Title Credits
CHM 535 Medicinal Chemistry 3

Required coursework

Students are required to complete an additional three graduate (500-level or above) courses. Some of the available courses are listed below.

Course Title Credits
BCH 520 Chemical Biology 3
BCH 564 Bionanotechnology 3
BCH 598 Structure Discovery in Biophysical Chemistry 3
BCH 561 Advanced Topics in Biochemistry 3
BCH 598 Biochemistry of Cancer 3
BCH 598 Peptides and Proteins 3
BCH 598 Electron Microscopy of Biological Macromolecules 3

A full listing of courses can be found in the catalog under the CHM and BCH course prefixes.

In addition, students may take one course in a related area from another unit with the approval of the research advisor and Graduate Programs Committee.


Students should complete one seminar per semester only. In cases where enrollment in a seminar is not feasible due to course schedule, an additional graduate course may be substituted.

Course Title Credits
BCH 501 Current Topics in Biochemistry 1
CHM 501 Topic: Inorganic Chemistry 1
CHM 501 Topic: Physical Chemistry 1
CHM 501 Topic: Organic Chemistry Seminar 1
CHM 501 Topic: Geo/Environmental Seminar 1
CHM 501 Topic: Analytical Chemistry Seminar 1
CHM 501 Topic: Science Policy for Scientists and Engineers 1


Students should be engaged in research and register for Research credit, BCH 592, 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.


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

Applied project

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. There are two options.

  • 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.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

BS - Biochemistry

Want to explore and learn about life from a molecular perspective at the atomic level? You can do that and build problem-solving skills through a range of courses in the physical, quantitative and life sciences. You will be prepared for a wide variety of careers.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry)

Learn about the molecular processes of life, how medicine works at the molecular level to benefit human health, and build your problem-solving skills. The skills you gain through the molecular and life sciences courses in this program help prepare you for a variety of careers.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Chemistry

Chemists investigate matter to help solve important societal problems. In this chemistry program, you will develop the skills to find global solutions in the fields of medicine, energy, technology, environmental quality and more.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology

Do you want to make a difference in the world? In molecular biosciences, you can help produce ground-breaking research in biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, genomics and immunology.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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Program Contact Information

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