Southeast Missouri State University

Why Should I Study Applied Chemistry at Southeast?

The Master of Natural Science in Applied Chemistry at Southeast Missouri State University is designed to give students broad exposure to the instruments, techniques, and methods favored by today's forensic, environmental, industrial, and research labs. One hundred percent of our graduates are successfully employed or are pursuing doctoral degrees in their degree field. Our graduates and their employers regularly praise the solid educational background and practical training that our program offers. Our Forensic option curriculum and training is unique among universities nationwide and has established a solid and growing reputation in the field of forensic science.

Options / Areas of Emphasis

  • Traditional Chemistry option: focuses on one of the four traditional areas of chemistry: analytical, inorganic, organic, or physical chemistry.
  • Forensic Chemistry option: emphasizes laboratory skills and modern instrumentation used by forensic scientists. These instruments are used to identify and characterize physical and biological evidence obtained by law enforcement agencies.

Admissions Policies / Requirements

Applicant must meet all requirements of the School of the Graduate Studies. Consult the Graduate Bulletin for additional requirements.


Advising procedures/information

All students admitted to the Mater of Natural Science in Applied Chemistry program are advised by the Department of Chemistry Graduate Committee Chair until a thesis advisor is chosen.

Capstone Requirements

Most students in the Master of Natural Scienceprogram complete an original research project and submit and orally defend a written thesis document. Students may choose to complete a comprehensive scholarly paper and a comprehensive examination in the area of emphasis in lieu of the thesis requirement.

Career Opportunities

More than 95 percentof our graduates have found employment as forensic scientists in federal, state, regional or metropolitan crime laboratories throughout the United States. Those who are not working in crime laboratories are typically employed in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry or are seeking doctoral degrees in chemistry.

The chemical industry employs more than 60 percentof all chemists, with the majority being involved in research and product development (R&D), sales, or marketing. Many work in quality control analysis and product testing. Others may work in areas such as industrial hygiene and safety or regulatory work for environmental compliance. The remaining 40 percentof chemists are typically employed by government agencies or academic institutions, although Ph.D. degrees are required for most academic positions.

Chemists and materials scientists held approximately 92,000 jobs in the United States in the year 2000. This number is expected to grow by 10 to 20 percentby the year 2010. Similar trends are projected for both traditional chemical and pharmaceutical positions and for forensic positions in crime laboratories.

Real-World Experiences

All of our students have a number of opportunities to gain real-world experience. Our first-year students each have the opportunity to experience our own Southeast Missouri Regional Crime Laboratory--first as an acculturation and job-shadowing experience and later in working hands-on with a limited range of forensic casework. We have also recently implemented a pilot program in which our graduate students receive training in marijuana analysis, complete written and proficiency testing and a mock trial, and are allowed to open marijuana cases, analyze plant material evidence, write reports of their findings, and testify to their findings in a court of law. We are proud of this unique real-world experience we are able to offer our students. In addition to this extensive "in house" real-world experience, all of our students complete internships, typically in another crime laboratory. Many of our students attend professional meetings such as American Chemical Society regional meetings, American Academy of Forensic Sciences meetings, and Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists meetings.

Graduate Assistantship Opportunities

There are currently six graduate assistant positions in the Mater of Natural Science in Applied Chemistry program. These assistantships include waiver of course fees for up to 24 hours of graduate coursework annually, as well as a stipend of $7,100 per year. Please contact the Department of Chemistry Graduate Committee Chair to be considered for the award of a graduate assistantship. For more information, please see the graduate assistantships web site.

Student Organizations

Professional Certifications & Organizations


Most of our graduate courses are taught in MaGill Hall of Science, with one lecture room and one instrumentation laboratory being located in the adjoining Rhodes Hall of Science. We maintain four chemistry lecture rooms, four chemistry instructional laboratories, four instrumentation laboratories, six research laboratories, one departmental computer laboratory, a well-equipped chemistry stockroom, and a graduate student office space. Our instrumentation laboratories feature a Thermo-Nicolet Nexus 670 FTIR ESP Fourier transform infrared spectrometer with a Smart Orbit diamond ATR crystal accessory for attenuated total reflectance measurements; a Thermo-Electron Trace PolarisQ tandem gas chromatograph-ion trap mass spectrometer; a Perkin-Elmer Optima 3000DV inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer; a Bruker DPX 300 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer; and a Nonius KappaCCD single-crystal x-ray diffractometer as well as a variety of other standard instruments for spectroscopy, microscopy, chromatography, and thermal, kinetic, and electrochemical analysis. Additionally, our faculty and students have regular access to a fully equipped and functioning crime laboratory--the Southeast Missouri Regional Crime Laboratory--which serves as an invaluable real-world learning laboratory.

Research Opportunities

Any student wishing to participate in graduate research in forensic chemistry or one of the traditional areas of chemistry has ample opportunity to do so. The thesis option of our degree program--thus far chosen by 100 percentof our students--requires that students complete an original research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. We also strive to encourage an investigative component to each student's internship experience and work with students and internship facilities to arrange for that opportunity whenever possible.

Teaching Opportunities

All of our graduate assistant positions are teaching positions. Due to the inherent dangerous nature of chemical laboratories, chemistry faculty members closely supervise the activities of most of our graduate teaching assistants, but exceptional students who have demonstrated an interest and an aptitude for teaching are permitted and encouraged to take on more autonomy in their roles as teaching assistants. These teaching assistants may give pre-laboratory lectures, supervise students in the laboratory, and grade student work with minimal supervision from a chemistry faculty member.

Related Links

Online Application
Graduate Bulletin
Department of Chemistry
School of Graduate Studies
International Students

Contact Us

Dr. Philip Crawford

Department of Chemistry
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza, MS 6400
Rhodes Hall 201A
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Phone: (573) 651-2166
Fax: (573) 986-6433