What are the requirements for a chemistry graduate degree?

You must have a bachelor's degree in chemistry or closely-related field.

How do I apply?

You apply to our chemistry or chemical physics graduate programs through the University of Minnesota Graduate School website. That comprehensive site walks you through the application process.

There is a supplemental application for our chemistry or chemical physics programs. Applicants should apply to either the chemistry or the chemical physics program but not both. Applying to both does not increase an applicant’s likelihood to get accepted.

Resource information for graduate students is also available through the College of Science & Engineering.

What does the application include?

Items that need to be completed in the application process are outlined in the chart. The entire application and materials must be submitted online. Also, complete the supplemental application for our chemistry or chemical physics programs. We cannot review your application until all of the required materials are submitted successfully. The deadline is December 1.

We will not consider the general or subject GRE scores in making admission decisions; do not submit them.


How to submit

Application Personal Information, Application Information, Educational Background, Languages, Awards & Activities, Employment/Residence Information, Financial Support, Applicant Statements (Personal Statement, Description of Research, and Diversity Statement), and Recommendations. Under Other Materials (information below), we need the Personal Statement, Description of Research, and Diversity Statement.
Application fee A separate application fee must accompany each program application for admission. Pay the application fee by using a valid credit card. For information on application fee waivers, see Common Questions below.
Transcripts Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. Do not mail paper copies of your transcripts: there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review. If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of these materials.
Letters of recommendation Acceptable recommendations can come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work, and employers. Paper copies are not accepted.
English language test scores The TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS is generally required of all applicants whose first language is not English, regardless of U.S. citizenship status.
Program application Complete the chemistry/chemical physics program application. You will be asked your area of interest and which faculty you are interested in. You will need to upload a statement about your research experience and future research interests (this would be specific to our program). You will be asked for a listing of honors/awards, publications, and scientific presentations. You do not need to send a resume or vita.
Other Materials

There is a lot of overlap in  statements (Personal Statement and Description of Research). Many applicants write one Personal Statement that they make minor changes to when applying to many different schools. The Description of Research statement can also be something that is used for all applications and tends to cover what research you have done and what area of research you hope to study during your doctorate. The research statement in the program portion of the application tends to address those faculty at our school that you see matching your interests. We do not have prompts or word limits.

Required Material: Personal Statement, Description of Research, Diversity Statement

Optional Material: Extenuating Circumstances Statement

Not Needed:  Resume/CV, Writing Sample, no additional program material

When is the application deadline?

December 1

When will I know that I have been admitted?

Your application will be reviewed as soon as all the application information is received. You will be notified when the decision is made. Typically, we admit graduate students for fall semester only.

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Application Fee & Waivers

Can I receive a waiver for the application fee?

The department is glad to provide need-based application fee waivers to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who cannot afford the application fee.

Fee waivers are also given to McNair Scholars, past participants of the Lando–REU program at the University of Minnesota, and to applicants who have presented at National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), or Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCAMS) conferences or are student members of those organizations. McNair Scholars, please directly contact the University of Minnesota Graduate School at McNair Scholar Resources.

We also encourage applicants to seek external sources of support to cover application fees. For example, the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) FreeApp program offers fee waivers for selected individuals. To receive the BTAA fee grant, a student must have participated in one of these programs: McNair Scholars, Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC), Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS)-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program (RISE)(MBRS/RISE), Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), Meyerhoff Scholars Program, North Star STEM Alliance, or Career Opportunities in Research (COR).

Eligible applicants may also find fee waivers and other benefits through programs such as the GEM Consortium.

All other requests for an application fee waiver should be sent by email to with a brief statement explaining your situation. Attach to that email a transcript (an unofficial one suffices) and, if applicable, copies of recent financial aid awards or similar evidence for financial need. Any questions about fee waivers are welcome.

Can I defer payment of the application fee until the department makes a decision?

No, the application fee cannot be deferred. All offers of financial support are pending completion of the application. To be eligible for a Graduate School Fellowship, you must submit the application and pay the fee by December 1.

Can I have a friend or relative in the United States pay the application fee for me?

Yes. The payment must be made by credit card.

English Language Tests

Is it necessary for me to take an English language examination?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required of all international applicants whose native language is not English, except those who will have completed 48 quarter credits/32 semester credits (within the past 48 months) in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States before entering the University of Minnesota.

What is the minimum score accepted for English language examinations?

At least 90 on the Internet-based TOEFL with section scores of 21 on writing and 19 on reading (550 on the paper based TOEFL), and 23 on speaking, 6.5 on the IELTS or 80 on the MELAB examinations.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Is it necessary for me to take/submit my subject Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score?

No. Our department no longer considers the general or subject GRE scores in admission decisions.

Is there a minimum GRE/GPA score required for admission to the chemistry graduate program?

No. All of the application is taken into consideration.

Education Testing Service (ETS)

What codes do I give ETS when requesting my TOEFL to be sent?

TOEFL: The Institution Code is 6874, and the Department Code is 62.

Letters of Recommendation

Should I send letters of recommendation to the department or the Graduate School?

Only the Graduate School receives those letters. When you apply to the Graduate School, you list your references and their contact information. Letters are submitted electronically. We receive copies of the letters of recommendation from the Graduate School. Do not send hard copies; this creates confusion with duplicate submissions.

Do the letters of recommendation need to be from faculty in my undergraduate institution? What if I am currently enrolled in another graduate program?

Yes, letters should be from your faculty at your undergraduate institution, or a combination of both undergraduate and graduate faculty, if you are enrolled in a graduate program. You may also include additional letters from industry. If enrolled in a graduate program, one letter must be from your research adviser.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

Graduate School

Application Information
(612) 624-8008
Fax: 1-612-624-5724

Stephanie Stathopoulos
Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies
135 Smith Hall
(612) 624-8008

Director of Graduate Studies in Chemistry

Professor Aaron Massari
245 Smith Hall
612) 626-8416

Director of Graduate Studies In Chemical Physics

Professor Renee Frontiera
233 Smith Hall
(612) 624-2501