Reach the next level

in your teaching career

How the Program Works

Overview | Advising | Plan of Study | Course List | Lab Experience | Paper | CREST

Program Overview

The Master of Chemical and Life Sciences (MCLFS) is a 30-credit graduate program designed for middle and high school teachers, offering broad academic guidelines with the flexibility to select the courses in which you are interested. The largely online program offers courses using a 12-week term format benefitting working professionals with flexibility, convenience, and accessibility. The sole face-to-face element is a laboratory experience designed to expose students to the problems and rewards of scientific investigation. UMD faculty with academic credentials and experience deliver a better understanding of major science concepts in an interactive environment. MCLFS is offered through the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland.

Academic Director & Advising

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 e-mail:

Plan of Study

To satisfy the program’s requirements, you’ll need 30 credits of courses within the categories described below. The program may be completed in as little as 18 to 24 months if a student maintains enrollment of two courses per 12-week term. Information on UMD’s online learning environment may be found here. Students should visit Calendars & Deadlines to determine the term schedule start and end dates as well as deadlines for cancellation or withdrawal. In a 12-week term, students complete course work in 11 weeks; week 12 is reserved for finals. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required to maintain good academic progress towards graduation. Students are responsible for keeping track of their progress and should review their academic record to ensure accuracy.

Courses: 21 credits from the menu of available courses, click here. Provisionally admitted students with a GPA below 3.0 are required to register for either CLFS 510 or CLFS 520. Neither course may be used to meet the credit requirements of the MCLFS program.

Laboratory Experience: 6 credits that can be fulfilled as follows:

  • Take CLFS 710 offered at College Park during Summer Session, or
  • Enroll in a pre-approved laboratory course at another institution and transfer those credits in AND taking CLFS 725, a 2-credit online course. For more information, click here.

Scholarly Paper: 3 credits. The Scholarly Paper is the program's capstone experience and often takes more than one term to complete. No more than four credits CLFS 608 may be counted towards the required 30 credits. For more information, click here.

Course List

Click on the course to view the course description and other information.

CLFS510 Concepts of Modern Biology
CLFS520 Concepts of Modern Chemistry
CLFS608 Scholarly Paper
CLFS608A Independent Research
CLFS609A Food Safety and Genetically Modified Foods
CLFS609B The Biology of Reproduction
CLFS609C Emerging Infectious Diseases
CLFS609D Microbiology
CLFS609E Immunology
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
CLFS710 Experimental Biology
CLFS725 Experimental Design

Laboratory Experience

Students must take 6 credits of practical experience on the methodologies and techniques used in research within biology and chemistry. The Laboratory Experience has two components, (1) experimental design and statistical analysis, and (2) applications of research techniques to specific experiments which can be fulfilled in one of two ways.

  • CLFS710 (Experimental Biology) or CLFS720 (Experimental Chemistry). Six-credit resident course that meets daily for six weeks during the summer at the University of Maryland. The University has limited on-campus housing available during Summer Session. Please contact the Department of Resident Life at 301-314-2100 or for accommodation concerns.
  • CLFS725 (Experimental Design and Statistics, 2 credits online) and four credits of a 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.

Scholarly Paper

The program's capstone experience 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.

Find Out More