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Program Resources

Introduction to Penn's Master of Chemical Sciences

This video introduces Penn's Master of Chemical Sciences program. Hear from program staff, faculty and graduate students about the program, Penn's facilities, and research experiences.

If you have a problem viewing this video, you can watch this on YouTube.

Virtual Information Session

Associate Program Director, Dr. Ana-Rita Mayol dives into more detail about how the Master of Chemical Sciences at Penn is different from other chemistry programs, the program requirements and curriculum, career opportunities, the city of Philadelphia and more.

If you have a problem viewing this video, you can watch this on YouTube.

Chemistry at Penn

Our diverse student community works side by side with Penn's Department of Chemistry faculty of leading academic researchers and experienced industry consultants to create opportunities for learning and discovery, community, and professional experiences. The Department of Chemistry facilities include over 120,000 square feet of research space.

Research partners and opportunities

Campus facilities and industry partners offer opportunities to complete capstone research or prepare for new experiences and careers. Students may be paired with a Penn laboratory on campus or with an off-campus location that offers a research project that matches the student’s academic and professional goals. With approval from the Program Director and off-campus project supervisor, the student may meet the capstone requirement by preparing a scientific report based on their research project.

The MCS program collaborates with off-campus organizations and companies to arrange student research opportunities in areas such as pharmaceuticals, industrial coatings, food chemistry, and more. Off-campus locations include Axalta Coating Systems, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, ExxonMobil, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the Monell Chemical Senses Center and the United States Department of Agriculture.

The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute is an independent nonprofit research institute that was established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to advance its research mission. The Blumberg Institute supports programs dedicated to drug discovery, biomarker discovery and translational biotechnology around common research themes such as chronic hepatitis, liver disease and liver cancer in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus. Students selected to work at the Blumberg Institute may have the opportunity to complete research in medicinal chemistry, computer-aided molecular design, computational chemistry, bioinformatics and natural products chemistry related to pharmaceuticals, drug discovery and biotechnology.

The Blumberg Institute operates within, and manages, the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center. The Biotech Center is an incubator for academic entrepreneurs, offering state of the art laboratory and office space for scientists who come to the Center to spin new ideas into startup companies. The environment is an exciting knowledge culture of discovery, mixed with entrepreneurship. Regular scientific seminars, special programs and services for entrepreneurs and graduate programs are all available at the Center. Students are encouraged to attend the seminars and special events each week to make the most of their time at the Center.

Masters-level students typically spend 10 months completing their research at Blumberg Institute. Specific project assignments are based on student interest and organizational needs, and may include: antiviral medicinal chemistry focused on hepatitis B (Department of Medicinal Chemistry), natural products discovery (Department of Natural Products Discovery), company creation based on new therapies (Department of Translational Research and Experimental Therapeutics), regulated cell death (Department of Molecular Pathogenesis) or discovery of biomarkers to track disease progression (Department of Early Detection).

ExxonMobil is a global provider of the energy that is critical to driving progress and improving the lives of people around the world. Located in Clinton, New Jersey, ExxonMobil’s Research and Engineering (EMRE) Technology Center is comprised of 432 labs, 92 pilot plants and 850 offices. It employs some of the world’s leading minds in their respective fields, with over half of the workforce holding advanced degrees in engineering, chemistry and many more areas. The EMRE Technology Center provides R&D support for three main business divisions: Downstream, Chemical, and Upstream. They research, develop and deliver differentiated, high-impact, game-changing technologies and products, which are the foundations of their competitive advantage.

Penn's Masters of Chemical Sciences program is partnered with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to provide students with an exclusive opportunity to conduct research for their capstone projects. GSK is one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. Through our formal agreement, students are exposed to all stages of the pharmaceutical R&D process from early discovery to clinical manufacturing at two research sites in the Philadelphia region.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) provides research opportunities for MCS students who are interested in completing a PhD degree upon completion of the MCS degree. Located at the edge of the Red Sea, KAUST provides a unique nurturing and international research environment for scientists to conduct high-impact research in an interdisciplinary setting. With state-of the-art facilities and abundant resources, students can engage in projects that address the main challenges in society: energy, food, water and sustainability.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is a nonprofit research institute that focuses on taste and smell. Projects are funded both through governmental agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and by corporate sponsors in the food and flavor domain. Current projects include:

  • Nutrient sensing mechanisms in the taste buds and gut
  • Genetics of human smell and taste
  • Effects of smell on mood and health
  • Volatile molecules as chemical signals of health and disease 
  • Sugar reduction strategies to improve well-being 

Campus resources

Master of Chemical Sciences students are part of Penn's vibrant intellectual community, with access to a wide range of academic resources.

In the news

Chemical and Engineering News explores a roadmap for helping students decide if graduate school is right for them. Dr. Ana-Rita Mayol, Associate Director of the Master of Chemical Sciences program, says that without some research experience and a high grade point average, getting into a competitive PhD program is challenging.

 Read more at C&EN: Chemical & Engineering News >

Student handbook

Current students: for guidelines on getting started in the Master of Chemical Sciences program, curriculum, policies and procedures, forms and more, refer to the MCS Student Handbook (PDF), or visit the MCS Canvas community website.

Theoretical and technical expertise


A blend of core concentration courses and electives allows students to create an individualized academic schedule.

See Courses and Curriculum >

Am I eligible to apply?

Admissions and Eligibility

Admissions to the master's program is highly selective. Learn more about applicant qualifications.

See Admissions and Eligibility >

Creating the right chemistry


See how our Master of Chemical Sciences program makes it possible for students to link their academics to industry experience.

Read the article >

Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

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