Master of Chemical & Life Sciences

Advising & Overview

Advising | Overview | General Courses | Lab Experience | Scholarly Paper


Mentoring and advisement is an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the program director to ensure that educational goals are being met. Prospective students are urged to consult with Dr. Bretton W. Kent, MCLFS Director, via email:

Provisionally admitted students with a GPA below 3.0 are required to register for one course in their first term and earn a letter grade of B or better to remain in the MCLFS program.

Admitted students are required to maintain continuous enrollment for courses as outlined in the plan of study. Graduate School policy stipulates a five-year Time Limitation for completing a master’s degree. Circumstances may arise when students cannot continuously dedicate time to the program. In such cases, students making satisfactory progress may receive a Waiver of Continuous Registration or Leave of Absence. The time taken on an approved leave of absence is not included in the time limitation for degree completion.


Designed for teachers, the Master of Chemical and Life Sciences (MCLFS) is a 30-credit, content-based, graduate program that provides in-depth knowledge of current research areas in the biological, biochemical, and biomedical sciences.  To satisfy the program’s requirements, students complete 30 credits of coursework within the categories described below.

MCLFS features the convenience and flexibility of online instruction provided by UMD faculty and experts in the field.  Online content is delivered through UMD’s online learning environmentMCLFS uses the term academic calendar. There are four 12-week terms: I (fall), II (winter), III (spring), IV (summer).  Students complete course work in 11 weeks; week 12 is reserved for finals.

20-22 Credits of General Courses

CLFS609A Food Safety and Genetically Modified Foods
CLFS609B The Biology of Reproduction
CLFS609C Emerging Infectious Diseases
CLFS609D Microbiology
CLFS609E Immunology
CLFS609F Principles of Paleobiology
CLFS609G Biology of Cancer
CLFS609J Evolutionary Biology
CLFS610 Natural Products Chemistry
CLFS619A Molecular Spectroscopy
CLFS619B Environmental Chemistry
CLFS619D Forensic Chemistry
CLFS620 Modern Molecular Genetics
CLFS630 Principles of Transmission Genetics
CLFS640 Human Physiology
CLFS655 The Chemistry and Application of Electrochemical Cells
CLFS660 Biodiversity & Conservation Biology
CLFS665 Ecology and Global Change
CLFS680 Chemical Ecology
CLFS690 Biochemistry

2 Credits of Experimental Design and Statistics

CLFS725 Experimental Design and Statistics

3-4 Credits in a Practical Experience

The Practical Experience is based on applications of research techniques to specific experiments.  The Practical Experience can be satisfied with pre-approved laboratory or field experience as follows:

  1. Courses at local colleges, universities or field stations. To be acceptable, the course (i) must be offered for graduate credit, (ii) focus on biological or chemical techniques (rather than pedagogy), and (iii) have a credit level appropriate to the contact hours in the class.
  2. Internship with established researchers at local colleges or universities. If internships have a grade and graduate credit assigned to them by the college or university, the internship can be transferred into the MCLFS program. If no graduate credit is assigned to the internship, credit and a grade still can be awarded in the MCLFS program after a written summary of the internship activities are evaluated by a member of the UMD faculty. As with classes and workshops, credits are awarded in compliance with UMD Graduate School regulations.
  3. Independent research project with established researchers at local colleges or universities. Independent research requires collaboration between the student and a research committee consisting of the local researcher and two members of the UMD faculty assigned by the MCLFS Director. The committee is responsible for approving the research protocol and evaluating the final written description of the research. As with the other applications alternatives, credits are awarded in compliance with UMD Graduate School regulations.

3-4 Credits in a Scholarly Paper

The Scholarly Paper (CLFS608) is the program's capstone experience, and often takes more than one term to complete. No more than four credits CLFS608 may be counted towards the required 30 credits. The Scholarly Paper allows teachers sufficient time to explore a subject in greater depth and breadth, critically evaluate articles in the primary literature, compare differing interpretations of these articles, and develop a consensus view on the state and future direction of their subject area. The Scholarly Paper is a mentored project done in consultation with a UMD faculty member. Students must first identify a topic of interest with the program's academic director. Once confirmed, you'll work on the project with the mentor who is responsible for guidance and assigning the final grade. There are 2 options to select a mentor:

  • Contact Dr. Kent ( with your topic information and he will assist in locating a mentor.
  • Identify a possible topic and contact an MCLFS faculty member. Upon agreement, e-mail Dr. Kent with complete information including topic and mentor information.

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