Getting into chemistry grad school with no chemistry background?
April 29, 2012 1:00 PM Subscribe
I would like to pursue research in supramolecular chemistry, but I am a couple years out of school and do not have a chemistry background. Also, I lack letters of recommendation. I am certain I cannot get into a decent Ph.D. program, but do I have a shot at getting in a Master's program? Or must I resort to taking classes at a university somewhere?
posted by nhamann to education (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some background: I graduated in May 2009 with a B.S. in electrical engineering. I graduated summa cum laude (3.95 GPA) and attended on a full-tuition academic scholarship.
I took a semester off and went back to school for two semesters starting in January 2010. I took classes in Math and CS and was in the process of applying for the Master's program in Math, but halfway through the second semester I realized that my interests were not in math. Demoralized, I stopped attending classes. So I got a 4.0 my first semester, and something bad my second semester (two C's, an F and an incomplete, last I checked). My cumulative GPA is at 3.8.
Since then I've been working in IT and studying in my free time.
Given my lack of background in chemistry (the last chemistry class I took was in sophomore year of high school), I'm assuming I can't get into any Ph.D. program. Getting into a terminal Master's program seems potentially doable, but I did not cultivate a network while in school, so my letters of recommendation will be either crappy or non-existant. How competitive are terminal master's programs in chemistry? Will I be fine with bad letters of recommendation if I kill the GRE subject test?
A last resort I have thought of would be either sitting in on or taking chemistry classes at a university somewhere in order to get letters of recommendation, but I enjoy self-study and would like to avoid having to pay for expensive chemistry courses if at all possible. Are there other options here that I have not considered?