Master's in Medicinal Plant Chemistry Online (MS in Chemistry)

Master of Science
A medicinal chemistry student works at their lab

With the addition of NEW coursework recently developed by the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, WPI’s online MS in Chemistry with an optional specialization in Medicinal Plant Chemistry is one of the few graduate programs available in the United States where one can receive an advanced degree specializing in plant-based chemistry. At a time when professionals with plant-based chemistry specializations are in high demand, this student-centric, non-thesis program offers participants the opportunity to devise an individualized course plan that will enable them to obtain the knowledge and skills they desire to excel in careers of modern, plant-based chemical industries.

The combination of convenient online programming in science and business, as well as optional on-site laboratory courses, will poise graduates to take on a wide range of leadership and entrepreneurial roles in the private sector, such as pharmaceuticals (e.g., medicinal cannabis), fragrances, and cosmetics.

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Learning Outcomes for Master’s in Chemistry with a Medicinal Plant Chemistry Specialization Online

By the end of this program, students will be able to:

  • Integrate fundamental, functional, and applied knowledge of plant-based medicinal compounds in their role as a professional scientist.
  • Demonstrate expertise in modern techniques for natural product isolation, characterization, and analysis.
  • Foster leadership and interpersonal skills required to excel in a diverse life science company.

Admissions Qualifications for the Master’s in Chemistry with a Medicinal Plant Chemistry Specialization Online

A B.S. degree with demonstrated proficiency in chemistry or biochemistry is required for entrance to Chemistry and Biochemistry graduate programs, or other relevant background or experience that provides students with the pre-requisite knowledge in general and organic chemistry, biochemistry and biology.

A BA degree will also be considered if the applicant has the appropriate math & science coursework.

For specific application requirements, visit our admissions for online programs page.

If you do not have a bachelor's degree, please view our list of undergraduate programs.

On-Demand Webinar

Medicinal Plant Chemistry Info Session

View our on-demand webinar to be introduced to our NEW online master's degree in Chemistry with a specialization in Medicinal Plant Chemistry. Get an overview of program logistics, what online learning looks like, the application process, and more!


Graduate Studies Series

Learn from our enrollment team members and other guests by attending quick and convenient 30-minute webinars we designed to highlight popular topics when starting grad school. Take a deep dive into specific areas of interest such as how to funding, how to ace your application, student services, and more!


Program Requirements

The student is required to complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours. Graduate credits must consist of 4000-, 500- or 600-level courses.

Credits should be distributed as follows:

  • At least 15 credits in CBC courses.
  • A maximum of 10 credits in electives in areas of engineering, science, management or mathematics. 
  • Students also may use up to 9 credits of CH 598 (Directed Research) toward credit hour requirements. 
    *Note: Online students will take additional CBC coursework to fulfill this requirement.

We recommend students choose at least four core courses from the list below:

  • CH 538. Medicinal Chemistry
  • CH 542. Drugs in the Brain 
    • This class will introduce the concepts of basic neuropharmacology and the action of major neurotransmitter families in the brain. The mechanisms of action of the major psychoactive drug families including cannabis, opioids, and psychedelics will be covered. The effects of pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety and depression on brain chemistry will be discussed as well.
  • CH 545. Plant Natural Products 
    • This class will cover the chemistry of a number of families of plant-derived natural products, including, terpenoids, phenolic compounds, and alkaloids. The coverage of aspects of the chemistry involving these natural products may include biosynthesis, chemical synthesis, and medicinal chemistry applications. The historical and current roles of select natural products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, taxol, heroin, and quinine, in society, may also be discussed.
  • CH 546. Natural Product Isolation and Analysis*
    • In this laboratory class, students will learn strategies to isolate and characterize natural products. Techniques used during this course will include solvent extraction, supercritical fluid extraction, NMR spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, gas chromatography, and liquid chromatography. *Requires on-site participation in Worcester, MA as part of the hands-on laboratory portion of the course.
  • CH 555 ST. Drug Regulations
  • CH 520. Cell Signaling and Physiology

Other technical coursework of interest may include:

  • BB 505. Fermentation Biology
  • CH 516.  Chemical Spectroscopy (Not currently offered online)
  • CH 536. Theory and Applications of NMR Spectroscopy
  • CH 554 Molecular Modeling

Course offerings are subject to change. If you are interested in enrolling, please contact us for the most up-to-date information.


In addition, due to the entrepreneurial nature of the industry, students may consider taking one or more of our business electives:

  • FIN 500. Financial Information and Management 
  • MIS 576. Project Management 
  • OBC 505. Teaming and Organizing for Innovation
  • OBC 506. The Heart of Leadership: Power, Reflection & Interpersonal Skills (not currently offered online)
  • OIE 542.  Risk Management and Decision Making
  • OIE 598.  Engineering Economics 

See all the events and webinars that the Graduate Studies team are hosting and attending.

View the Calendar

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