Frequently Asked Questions

Egg head outside of Shields Library

The following are frequently asked questions about applying for our program. You may also wish to check out the FAQ page from the Office of Graduate Studies for application system-specific help. If after reviewing our website you still have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our Graduate Affairs Officer.

What is your minimum GPA requirement?

3.0/4.0 (or equivalent) undergraduate GPA or 3.5/4.0 graduate GPA. The average GPA of each new class, though, is typically between 3.4 and 3.5.

Where should I have my transcript(s) sent?

Students no longer need to send hard copies of transcripts with the initial application. Instructions for preparing your transcript for digital upload is available here.

What is your minimum GRE General Test score requirement?

We do not have a minimum score requirement for the GRE, although the average scores of those offered admission tend to be above the 60th percentile for Verbal and 70th percentile for Quantitative.

Do you require the GRE Subject Test?

No, but a strong score on the Chemistry Subject Test may help strengthen your application.

How do I report my GPA if my university uses a different grading scale?

You may report your GPA as your university would. Please do not attempt to convert your GPA from, for example, a 5.0 scale to a 4.0 scale, or if your university uses an entirely different system.

What is your minimum TOEFL score requirement?

100 for the TOEFL iBT or equivalent. Applicants with a score below 90 are unlikely to be considered.  Strong English proficiency is critically important in order to be an effective TA to the large and diverse number of undergraduate students who enroll in our courses. We do not have minimum score requirements for individual sections on the TOEFL.

Who is exempt from submitting TOEFL scores?

International students whose native language is English or those who have completed two full years at a university where English is the primary language of instruction at the time in which they apply.

May I apply if I score lower than 100 on the TOEFL?

We evaluate applicants by more than just quantative measures. If you are serious about pursuing graduate study in our program, we encourage you to put forth the best application you can.

What is my probability of admission if I have "x" GPA, etc.?

Your probability of admission depends on the strength of your application relative to the current application pool, as well as when you submit all required materials (your chances are higher the earlier you apply in the season). This varies from year to year. We are unable to evaluate your credentials outside of the formal application process.

Who should my letters of recommendation be from?

Your letters should be from science-related faculty or employers who can comment on your research and academic abilities. Letters from soccer coaches or family members, for example, are not valuable and have little merit.

Do I need to make contact with faculty before submitting an application?

This is strongly encouraged if you are applying for the M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry program. Applicants to the Ph.D. program, on the other hand, are welcome to inquire with various faculty members about their research, but it is not a requirement for admission. Students admitted for the Ph.D. will have the opportunity to individually meet with faculty and select a research lab to join within their first quarter in the program.

Do you offer a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Chemistry?

We do not offer a terminal M.S. degree in Chemistry. Students apply and are admitted for the Ph.D. only. You may earn a M.S. along the way to a Ph.D. or in the rare case that a Ph.D. cannot be acquired. The M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry is a separate degree program with different admission requirements.

How can I learn more about the M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry program?

You may download the degree requirements for the M.S. in Pharamceutical Chemistry program from the Office of Graduate Studies. This document details the admission procedures, including prerequisite courses.  If you still have questions after reviewing this document, please do not hesitate our Graduate Affairs Officer. Please do not submit an application online prior to contacting us, as space in this program is currently limited to only 1-3 students per year.

Do you offer rolling admissions?

No, students may only apply to begin their studies in the Fall. Exceptions are made only in rare circumstances.

May I mail in an updated transcript after the priority deadline to reflect newly earned grades?

We unfortunately must discourage you from mailing in updated transcripts after the application deadline. Not only is our online application system not equipped to replace previously processed transcripts, but also it would have very little impact on our final decision.

If I am admitted and decide to take a year off, may I defer admission?

We do not offer the option of deferring admission. Exceptions may be made in rare cases of personal hardship, but you will likely be asked to reapply the following year as a new applicant. 

If admitted, will I have the opportunity to visit the Department?

Yes, we have two visitation weekends, which are typically in February and March. Students traveling from within the United States are invited to tour the department and campus, as well as meet with faculty and current students.

When will I receive a decision on my application?

Applications are reviewed only after all required materials have been received. The bulk of our offers will be extended in late December to mid January and early-to-mid February.  Due to the large volume of applications we receive, denials are typically not processed until after April 15.

Application Tips

  • Review our website. Take the time to learn about our program and faculty to find out if we are conducting research in areas of interest to you.
  • Apply early. We encourage you to start your application as early in the admissions season as possible to give yourself ample time to get all of your required materials together.
  • Follow up with your letter writers. Sometimes they need a gentle reminder to submit your letter of recommendation.
  • Take the GRE General Test (multiple times if needed). You should have already taken the GRE by the time you submit your application.