Program Overview:

The Departmental Scholars Program (DSP) is designed for exceptionally promising undergraduates in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. As an accelerated master’s program, the DSP allows students to earn their Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees simultaneously after completing one additional year of graduate level coursework and research.

To qualify for the DSP, students must already be conducting research with a faculty member in the department. While in the program, Departmental Scholars will maintain undergraduate status even though they are taking graduate level courses.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 3.5 cumulative GPA, major GPA, and upper division GPA (you can check this on your Degree Audit Report under the “Major Upper Division Courses GPA Requirement” heading)
  • Completion of 24 courses (96 units) at UCLA or a similar institution. If any of these courses are from another institution, a copy of the transcript from the other institution must also be submitted in your application.
  • Completion of preparation for the major
  • Research with a Chemistry/Biochemistry faculty member

Note: If you are double majoring, your GPA for each major must meet these requirements. However, please reach out to the Undergraduate Office to discuss your options if you do not meet the requirements for your non-Chemistry department major.

How to Apply:

Eligible students must submit a completed application, including letters of recommendation, by December 15th of their final year of undergraduate study. For example, a student planning to graduate with their bachelor’s degree in Spring 2025 should apply by December 15, 2024.

A completed application should include the following:

  • Nomination form
  • Statement of purpose (1-2 pages long, PDF format)
  • Research Abstract (1-2 pages long, PDF format)
  • Unofficial transcript (the PDF version of your unofficial transcript downloaded from MyUCLA)
  • Two letters of recommendation (submitted directly by the faculty member)
    • One letter from your faculty advisor
    • One letter from a tenure-track faculty member

Students should submit their application materials to the Undergraduate Office ( Applications will then be reviewed by area advisors. If/when the application has been approved, an email notification will be sent to the student and their faculty mentor.

For a full overview of the program, click here. To learn more about the program, please contact the Undergraduate Office (

Our Departmental Scholars Program features two graduate MS programs: the Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology Graduate Program (BMSB) and the Chemistry Graduate Program.

Departmental Scholars must declare a specialization from one of the following research areas:

For a list of our 2024-2025 Tentative Course Offerings, click here.

Enrolling Into Courses:

Once your enrollment window is active, please email Mark Banderas ( your requested courses along with your full name and UID number.

Attend A Thesis Filing Workshop:

All DSP students are required to attend a Master’s Thesis & Doctoral Dissertation Filing workshop during winter or spring quarter.

*If the spring quarter dates are not yet posted, please check closer to spring quarter.

Graduation Paperwork:

Students must submit the following forms prior to completing the Departmental Scholars Program:

  • Nomination of Master’s Committee Form
    • The thesis committee must be appointed at the beginning of the spring quarter. Your faculty advisor will serve as your committee chair, and you’ll also need to select a minimum of two additional faculty members. It is important that you review the committee requirements and regulations (detailed on the form) to ensure that your committee meets all of the requirements set by the Division of Graduate Education (DGE). Please submit this form to the Student Affairs Office.
  • Petition for Advancement to Candidacy Form
    • Once your committee has been appointed by DGE, you must complete a “Petition for Advancement to Candidacy” form. This must be completed by the second week of the Spring quarter. To allow sufficient processing time, it is recommended that you turn in the form to the Student Affairs Office by Week One of your intended graduating quarter.
  • The Master’s committee has the responsibility of approving your Master’s Thesis online using ETD (online filing) by the required deadline.