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Advising & Curriculum Overview


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. For a personal consultation about your career plans and how the MCLFS can empower you to meet your goals, contact the academic program director, Dr. Bretton W. Kent, via email:

Curriculum Overview

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. For a detailed course description, see Courses.

  • General Courses
  • Experimental Design and Statistics
  • Practical Experience
  • Scholarly Paper

General Courses

Students complete 20-22 credits in the following 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

Experimental Design and Statistics

Students complete 2 credits in CLFS725 Experimental Design and Statistics.

Practical Experience

Students complete 3-4 credits of Practical Experience which 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.

Scholarly Paper

The Scholarly Paper (CLFS608) is the program's capstone experience, and often takes more than one term to complete. Students take 3-4 credits and no more than four credits of 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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