Master of Science in Chemistry




The Department of Chemistry was initiated in 1996 with the establishment of the Faculty of Education at the then Alemaya University. It started to run training with B.Ed. degree in chemistry the same year. In the year 2004 the Department launched a unique graduate program leading to M.Ed. degree in chemistry with the intention of playing a role towards fulfilling the Country’s needs for high-level qualified chemistry educators. The good experience of running the M.Ed. in chemistry greatly encouraged the Department for initiating taught curriculum that leads to M.Sc. degree in Chemistry. It is, however, a standard procedure for a department to ensure with sound evidences about the market demand before launching any training program, especially when it is at higher level of education like the one in question. Thus, the Department of Chemistry could be able to open up in 2007/08 the parallel program in M.Sc chemistry by ensuring its significance on the basis of the positive outcomes of an earlier needs analysis and feasibility study conducted on a wide range of stakeholders across the country that included experts, potential candidates, company managers & organizational leaders working in several government & non-government organizations, higher learning institutions, manufacturing industries and many others.

Currently, the Department enrolls several candidates both in the Regular & Summer M.Sc. as well as M.Ed. programs. They are all expected to take core chemistry courses as well as some topical and seminar courses. In addition, the M.Ed. candidates need to take some education courses including research methodology in science education in order to be able to undertake thesis research in the context of chemical education. The M.Sc. Candidates, on the other hand, are required to register for quantitative research methodology course that would eventually help them prepare for undertaking thesis research in basic or applied science areas that will address particular problems relevant to industrial, agricultural, health and environmental development as well as in knowledge generation.

Chemistry underpins research and development of the chemical industry, agriculture, health as well as the higher education institutions where chemistry, biology, pharmacy, medicine, agriculture and other related disciples require a strong knowledge base in the various branches of  chemistry. The demands of contemporary research and teaching are such that advanced training beyond undergraduate degree level is becoming increasingly necessary. Therefore, the postgraduate M.Sc & M.Ed. programs of the Department shall serve to upgrade the skills of scores of chemists with B.Sc/B.Ed. qualification from higher institutions of learning and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. The postgraduate program will help in part, to overcome the chronic shortage of qualified chemistry teachers faced by the higher learning institutions.

In recent years some young faculties or colleges in most senior universities, like the College of Natural & Computational Sciences (CNCS) in the Haramaya University, are being forced to admit more candidates in their postgraduate programs in spite of their current carrying capacity. This situation of massive enrollment may appear havoc, to many of the institutions, because of its adverse consequences that will have serious impact at reducing the quality of education in the particular programs. The impact may continue affecting the programs significantly at least for the first few years. However, the pressure developed this way will naturally diffuse, in due course; as the institution should have to look for a cope up means of easing the adverse effects of the expansion. Global experiences suggest that institutions who build their capacity for running several parallel programs simultaneously in a specific subject area not only can provide options for admitting more applicants at any one time to their postgraduate programs but also can maintain the quality of training by efficient use whatever limited resources they may have.

In this regard, the Chemistry department of HU is well ahead of time in building a strong base for delivering Master of Science training programs in various areas of chemistry specializations in both Regular and summer admission modes. However, the current trend of increasing graduate enrollment vis-à-vis the limited intake capacity of the Department is evidently manifested through extraordinary inflation of the teaching and research advisorship workload of the existing senior staff. The way forward for the department is therefore to look for an exit strategy that would help ease its additional burden due to increased enrolment of postgraduate students. The strategy in mind is streamlining of the existing M.Sc. programs that would provide candidates the choice between two training options both leading to essentially equivalent (if not identical) masters degree qualifications but with the training modality goes exclusively either via the Thesis-based approach or via the Project-based one. The basic differences between these two modalities are carefully worked out as outlined in the course profile section of this document.

Aims & Objectives of the Postgraduate Programs in Chemistry

The aim of the postgraduate programs in chemistry is to train experts that will fill a variety of positions in industries, government and non-government organizations, academic and research institutions and other related areas. Accordingly, the objectives of the programs are to:

  1. Train chemists at advanced level in both thesis-based as well as the project-based who can achieve a certain set of competence that would enable them to work in industries and other sectors as quality control, research, industry product development, sales and services, management or company leadership, teaching, environmental protection and information sciences;
  2. Develop chemical science experts who are knowledgeable in planning and executing research in chemical problems related to industrial, agricultural, health and environmental development or knowledge generation in the country;
  3. Produce experts who can understand the profound effects, both positive and negative, that chemicals have on our lives and environment, and who can solve the problems related to them;
  4. Produce qualified and skilled professionals who could be able to teach in the secondary & tertiary levels of education, if provided with a little methodological training in teaching the subject.

Graduate Profile

The parallel postgraduate curricula in Chemistry are designed on a sound basis of institutional interest and the commitment for contributing to the manpower development need of the country and in responding to the well articulated policy guidelines set by the Ethiopian Government to the effect that the higher education institutions such as the Haramaya University, to establish various postgraduate programs and train well qualified graduates that would meet the minimum quality standards set for higher education as well as contribute their share in overcoming the huge manpower demand of the nation for a high level of expertise.

The Department has set out certain levels of professional competency and graduate profile of candidates upon completion of their postgraduate studies in chemistry.

Thus, the graduates who complete their postgraduate studies in the various areas of specialization in chemistry via the Thesis-based (OPTION 1) or the Project-based (OPTION 2) M.Sc. Program would be expected to have the following professional profile:

  • Will have the competency for working as quality controlers, product developers, sales and service promoters and as manager or company director in industries or chemical processing plants;
  • Will be competent as research chemists in many other sectors of the economy such as in agricultural production & research stations, in power generation plants, and in environmental development & protection units;
  • Will have the expertise knowledge to operate many medical diagnostic instruments in health institutions or to work as forensic chemists;
  • Will have the practical knowledge & skills relevant for undertaking teaching & research assignments in higher learning institutions and preparatory schools;
  • Will have the cacity to work in metrological & environmental monitoring stations as researchers and information scientists.
  • Will be competent enough in understanding the profound effects, both positive and negative, that chemicals have on our lives and environment, and who can solve the problems related to them.

Duration of Study

For candidates joining the Regular PG programs in Chemistry via the Thesis-Based option i.e., OPTION 1, the time allocated for completing most of the course works shall be the whole Year 1 of their admission to the program and they are expected to undertake their thesis research work and complete during Semester I & Semester II of their second year. On the other hand,, for candidates opting the Project-Based training route i.e., OPTION 2 in the Regular Admission mode, the time allocated for completion of the course work will spread over the three consecutive academic semesters that would obviously extend to Semester I of the next academic year. In view of this and because of the limited extent of research work attributed to the graduate research project, the candidates are expected to fulfill this part of the graduation requirement within the remaining semester of their second year. In both cases, the average total duration of study in the Regular Program will be two academic years.

Graduation Requirements

Eligibility of candidates for the Master of Science/Education degree in Chemistry is subject to the fulfillment of all graduation requirements of the Program and the School of Graduate Studies of
the University. Generally, however, the following constitute the requirements for graduation from the program:

  • Successful completion of all required courses & a minimum of 32 total Cr. Hrs. including credit hours of electives,
  • Cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.00 & above considering all graduate courses taken
  • No “F” and no *D” grade in any course taken.
  • No “C” grade in more than of the courses
  • Successfully defended M.Sc. Thesis and/or Research Project Open Defense and positively evaluated M.Sc. Thesis manuscript and/or Project Report; and,
  • Fulfillment of all other graduation requirements of the CGS and/or the SGS of HU.