McMaster University will continue to host undergraduate academic activities remotely for the Spring/Summer/Intersession term with only a few exceptions for courses that need student access to specialized equipment.

Current Students

Current students can find useful information related to their studies below.
For any further inquiries please email Graduate Studies - Chemistry.

Graduate Handbook & Scholarship Information

Explore our Guide to Graduate Studies in Chemistry and discover the exciting opportunities our Department can provide.

Graduate Courses

Most of our graduate courses are offered on a two-year rotation. To see which courses are offered in a particular year and learn other details, consult the Current Graduate Course Timetables - Term I, Term II. Please refer to the current Graduate Calendar or Mosaic for the most complete information.

  • Courses available for graduate credit are numbered 700 or 600 level (eg, CHEM 771 or CHEM 6113)
  • Courses at the 700 level are normally restricted in enrollment to graduate students
  • Courses at the 600 level are senior undergraduate courses that are available to graduate students
  • Only one 600-level course may be taken for credit; graduate students taking 600-level courses are typically required to do extra course work, as determined by the course instructor

  • 700 level courses are modules, which are 6 weeks in duration, typically with 3 hours of lectures per week
  • 600 level courses are 1 term (approximately 12 weeks) in duration, typically with 3 hours of lectures per week
  • Both 700 and 600 level courses count as 1 module credit

Brief descriptions of all graduate modules are available below. Note that not all graduate courses are offered in a given year. Students are free to include Education *750 (Principles and Practice of University Teaching) in their program, but this cannot be counted towards their course requirements for the degree.

Approximately 15 different 6-week graduate modules are offered every year in three time slots: the 2nd half of the Fall term, and both halves of the Winter term. The detailed course requirements for the MSc and PhD degrees are described in the  Guide to Graduate Studies in Chemistry and Graduate Calendar (for Chemistry M.Sc. or Ph.D. students). Modules marked with a (+) sign may be taken more than once for credit, so long as the topic is substantially different.

  Level 600

600-Level Courses

  Level 700

Required Course for all New Graduate Students

Prescribed Courses in Analytical Chemistry

Prescribed Courses in Inorganic Chemistry

Prescribed Courses in Organic Chemistry

Prescribed Courses in Physical Chemistry

Other Available Courses


Required for All New Graduate Students

Chem 700 – Tools for the Chemical Profession

Instructor: Moran-Mirabal

Chemistry is a discipline that involves creativity, imagination and fundamental knowledge of the properties of matter, and the how and why matter undergoes certain changes. A degree in chemistry provides a foundation of knowledge and skills with which to pursue a career in this area. Nevertheless, the modern chemist requires an expanded set of skills to work effectively in industry, government, biomedical and clinical labs, academia and other workplaces. These are often called “soft skills”, “student skills”, or “professional skills”, and they are the skills that take chemistry graduates beyond knowledge acquired in the classroom and research laboratory and turn them into chemistry professionals.

The main objective of the course is to provide an introduction to a range of professional skills that will be useful to students not only throughout their graduate degree, but also in their future careers. The course will focus on the topics of Graduate School, Safety, Ethics in Science, Equity Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Scientific Literacy, and Effective Written and Oral Science Communication. The course will be delivered in the form of presentations, panel discussions, and interactive activities, and will also involve the discussion of recent cases and publications.

Analytical Chemistry

Chem 708 – Analytical Separation Science

Instructor: Britz-McKibbin

The principles and applications of modern chromatographic separations, including the interfacing of separations techniques with spectroscopic and mass spectrometric detectors. This course will focus primarily on gas chromatography and liquid chromatography, recognizing that these methods are still the principal separation techniques used today. The course will also discuss recent developments in chromatographic methods. Since the majority of the students who will take this course are non-specialists in this area, the course will focus on practical applications with a lesser emphasis on detailed theoretical aspects of chromatographic processes.

Chem 711 – Chemometrics

Instructor: Britz-McKibbin

The aim of this module is to introduce some modern statistical methods in chemistry. In many cases, we have masses of data, but the main problem is analysing and understanding it. With spreadsheet programs and other accessible software, it is now possible to do this routinely. Topics to be covered will include data acquisition, experimental design, filtering and fitting data to mathematical models. The approach will be fairly simple and open to students without a lot of sophisticated mathematical background.

Chem 757 – Applications of Lab-on-a-Chip Devices

Instructor: Moran-Mirabal

Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices are miniaturized systems that provide the ability to synthesize, process, separate, detect and quantify compounds (eg, small molecules, biomolecules or cells) of interest using small volumes. These devices typically convey the advantages that small amounts of reagents are consumed and can lead to high sensitivity, selectivity and fast response times in analytical applications. Thus, LOC devices have garnered significant attention for analytical separations, sensors and point of care diagnotics. The main objective of the course is to provide an overview of LOC technology, from the design and fabrication of microfluidic devices to elements used for processing samples within the LOC devices and integrated detectors that enable the quantitative measurement of analyte levels in the sample. The course will focus on current applications and innovative techniques arising from LOC technology. The course will also involve the review of current literature and the discussion of scientific papers in a discussion-panel format, where the discussion leader will introduce the manuscript, guide the discussion and critique of the scientific content and LOC technology.

Inorganic Chemistry

Chem 716 – Transition Metal Chemistry

Instructor: Emslie

This course is focused on the redox chemistry and solution electrochemistry of transition metal and f-block complexes. Specific topics for discussion include mixed valence compounds, radical and redox active ligands, stoichiometric organometallic reactivity involving redox chemistry, and catalysis involving redox reactivity. The section on electrochemistry will focus on the basic theory and techniques relevant to synthetic chemists.

Chem 717 – Main Group Chemistry

Instructor: Schrobilgen

The course content varies from year to year and is meant to reflect current developments in the field. Among the topics considered are main-group clusters species, hetero- and homo-polyatomic chalcogenide cations and anions of groups 3 - 5, sulfur-nitrogen rings and cages, multiple bonding among the main-group elements, weakly coordinating anions of the main-group and noble-gas chemistry.

Chem 725 – Group Theory

Instructor: Vargas-Baca

The principles of group theory and its application to atomic and molecular electronic structure. Basic Aspects: symmetry elements and operations; matrix representations; great orthogonality theorem; character tables; special groups. Techniques: reduction of representations; symmetry aspects of wave functions and quantum mechanical integrals; direct sum and direct product representations; projection operators; SALCs. Applications to Electronic Structure: atomic symmetry; angular momentum coupling; irreducible tensor methods; Wigner-Eckart theorem; p-MO theory; s- & p-treatments of small organic molecules; M.O. theory of organometallic compounds. The different instructors place emphasis on different applications of group theory in chemistry, such as molecular orbital theory of inorganic compounds, electronic spectroscopy, or vibrational spectroscopy.

Chem 727 – Symmetry, Physical Properties and Electronic Structure of Solids

Instructor: Mozharivskyj

This module will focus on advanced aspects of symmetry and electronic structure and their relationship to the physical properties. Topics to be covered will include electronic instabilities and the associated symmetry-breaking phenomena. The module is primarily aimed at Chemistry students but may also be of interest to students in Physics or Materials Science. Basic knowledge of solid-state chemistry is expected but not a pre-requisite.

Chem 743 – Inorganic Problems

Instructor: Schrobilgen

The NMR spectroscopy of the less common nuclides (excluding 1H, 2H, 13C, 31P, 19F) is treated. The factors influencing chemical shifts and coupling constants among heavy nuclides are discussed and illustrated. Special consideration is given to factors influencing the observation of quadrupolar nuclides and their couplings and to the interpretation of first and second order spectra arising from isotopomeric distributions in which spin-spin coupling is observed.

Organic Chemistry

Chem 753 – Organic Photochemistry

Instructor: Leigh

Prerequisite: Chem 780 - Molecular Photophysics.

Techniques and Methods in Experimental Organic Photochemistry; cis,trans-Photoisomerization of Alkenes and Dienes; Inter- and Intramolecular Photoreactions of Aromatic Ketones; Photopericyclic Reactions; Photochemical Cycloaddition Reactions; The Di-pi-Methane Rearrangement; Photoinduced Electron Transfer Reactions.

Chem 754 – Physical Organic Chemistry

Instructor: Leigh

An introduction to basic concepts in physical organic chemistry and the study of organic reaction mechanisms: kinetics and thermodynamics; thermochemistry; isotope effects; acid/base catalysis; linear free energy relationships.

Chem 758 – Bio-organic Chemistry

Instructor: Harrison

The Chemistry of Natural Products is described with particular emphasis on the biosynthetic pathways used by cells to assemble this large group of organic compounds. The course is offered in two parts, either of which may be taken individually. Students should be aware, however, that both parts should be taken in order to cover the field comprehensively. Students taking a second credit in this course may be evaluated by a modified method from those who take the course for the first credit. The two parts will normally be offered in alternating years. Part A covers an introduction to natural products and their biosynthesis, as well as the techniques used to determine biosynthetic pathways experimentally. Metabolites derived from acetate are then examined. These include the fatty acids, prostaglandins and the arachidonic acid cascade, the polyketides and the terpenoids and steroids. Part B covers the same introductory material and techniques section as for Part A. Metabolites from the shikimic acid pathway, those derived from amino acids including penicillins, the alkaloids, and porphyrins including vitamin B-12 will then be examined.

Chem 760 – Principles of Organic Synthesis

Instructor: McNulty

Introduction to synthesis; definitions, typical reagents, functional group interconversions; simple examples. Carbon-carbon bond forming processes; retrosynthesis and acceptor-donor approach. Examples of syntheses employing different strategies for molecules of medium complexity.

Chem 765 – Polymer

Instructor: Stover

This course focuses on living polymerizations, including ionic polymerizations as well as living radical polymerizations such as Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP) and Stable Free Radical Polymerization (SFRP). It also includes aspects of polymerizations in suspended phases and in interfacial systems.

Physical Chemistry

Chem 703 – Numerical Methods and Computational Chemistry

Instructor: Dumont

This course introduces problems of computational chemistry and their solution via numerical methods. Simple programming is used to implement these solutions. Simulation of molecular dynamics, optimization of molecular geometries, and Hamiltonian diagonalization are treated.

Chem 749 – Introduction to Biomolecular NMR

Instructor: Melacini

The goal of this module is to provide the basic conceptual tools necessary to read critically the current literature in biomolecular NMR. A basic understanding of one and two-dimensional NMR is assumed. This module will focus on the product operator formalism analysis of the most common multinuclear 2D and 3D NMR pulse sequences used for investigating biomolecules in solution, particularly proteins. After this course, students will be able to implement published experiments and/or to design pulse sequences for their own research. The focus is on macromolecules in solution, but it will also include experiments useful for small ligands.

Chem 770 – Molecular Electronic Structure Theory

Instructor: Ayers

Modern theoretical and computational approaches to the electronic structure problem will be presented. Topics will include wave-functional based methods (Hartree Fock, Configuration Interaction, Coupled Cluster, Many-Body (a.k.a. Moller-Plesset) Perburbation Theory), denisity-functional theory, and density-matrix based approaches. At the end of this course, students should be able to understand journal articles in quantum chemistry.

Chem 776 – Spectroscopy

Instructor: Hitchcock

Experimental methods to probe the kinetics of surface reactions, including adsorption/desorption, and the theoretical interpretation of these results.

Chem 778 – Solid State Surface Science

Instructor: Kruse

This module deals with the theoretical and experimental aspects of modern techniques for the characterization of the goa-solid interface. Several long range crystallographic and short range spectroscopic techniques will be discussed, selected from a list that includes LEED, AES, XPS, E:S, XAS, ion scattering and Rutherford backscattering.

Chem 784 – Physical Chemistry of Materials

Instructor: Saravanamuttu

This course includes topics such as: Physical chemistry of materials, Forces governing molecular organisation and interactions in materials, Differences between molecular and colloidal systems, Consequences of molecular to submicron-scale organisation on the electronic and optical properties of materials ranging from crystals, colloidal crystals to polymers, Phase transitions of bulk and nanoscale systems, and Bandstructure of ordered materials: from electronic to photonic bandgaps.

Other Graduate Courses

Chem 730 – X-ray Theory

Instructor: Mozharivskyj

The study of single crystals, how they diffract X-rays, and how the diffraction patterns can be analyzed to provide the molecular and crystal structures of organic, organometallic, and inorganic solids.

Chem 736 – X-ray Structure Determination

Instructor: Britten

Pre-requisite: Chem 730

This module will show the student how to determine the structure of an unknown compound (preferably from the student's own research) using single crystal X-ray diffraction methods, how to prepare a report for publication, and how to critically examine published structures.

Chem 737 – Mass spectrometry Instrumentation and Applications

Instructor: Green

This module covers the basic theory, operation and performance of mass spectrometry instrumentation, as well as brief discussions of selected applications. Both ionization (EI, CI, API, MALDI) and mass analysis (sector, quadrupole, ion trap, time-of-flight, FTICR) techniques are discussed. This module aims to provide the specialist and non-specialist student with the tools to choose the most appropriate mass spectrometric approach for their problems, understand the experiments and interpret the results.

Chem 740 – Basic Theory of NMR

Instructor: Berno

An introduction to the concepts and applications of pulsed Fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The module begins with a review of the basic NMR experiment and then proceeds to a description of the pulsed NMR technique and the use of Fourier transformation to generate the spectrum. The next section deals with a general description of the pulse NMR spectrometer and the parameters used in data acquisition and processing. The final section covers more traditional topics dealing with 1H and 13C chemical shifts, coupling constants and relaxation times with the emphasis on the structural information these parameters provide. This section will also illustrate some of the essential one-dimensional techniques used in analyzing NMR spectra (T1 measurements, spin decoupling, NOE difference spectra and 13C spectral editing).

Chem 799 – Special Topics

Instructor: Various

Various special topics courses are offered based on demand and instructor availability. Topics in recent years include: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications of Bioconjugates (Wylie), Organometallic Chemistry (Emslie), Computational Methods (Vargas-Baca), Conformational Analysis (McNulty), Special Topics in Polymer Chemistry (Stover), Silicon Chemistry (Brook), X-ray and Electron Spectroscopies (Hitchcock), 2 Dimensional Materials (Kruse), Elementary Python Programming for Scientists (Ayers), Numerical Optimization in Computational Chemistry using Python (Ayers), and Optics in Soft Materials (Saravanamuttu).

Go Back
McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Chemistry & Chemical Biology