Apply to Graduate School


Applications for admission to the UVA Chemistry Graduate Program are reviewed by the Department Graduate Admissions Committee, which is composed of department faculty. Admission decisions are based on the review of the applicant’s undergraduate transcript, personal statement describing experiences and interests, and letters of recommendation.

While there are no formal minimum requirements for the GPA, or GRE score, it is expected that the application materials demonstrate that the applicant has a broad training in core areas of chemistry and is equipped to succeed in graduate coursework, teaching, and research. Core areas of chemistry include analytical, biological, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

In addition to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biochemistry, the Department also accepts students with training in biology, chemical engineering, physics, and other disciplines, who may not have completed study in all of these core areas, but who have completed a rigorous program in an allied discipline and have sufficiently strong training in chemistry. Prior research experience, relevant work experience, and participation in scientific organizations and/or meetings are considered favorably in the admissions process. Students are encouraged to submit complete applications for review before December; however, applications will be accepted through December 15.  

Application Requirements

Online Application

For a complete application you will need:

  1. unofficial copy of transcript uploaded to application
  2. 2 letters of recommendation
  3. The GRE Chemistry (or related) Subject test score is highly recommended for international applicants.  Any student who completed a 4-year Bachelor's degree in the U.S. is considered a domestic applicant, regardless of what country they are from originally, and therefore does not need to take the Subject GRE or the TOEFL exam.  
  4. TOEFL exam scores for international applicants

Our graduate program is targeted primarily toward the Ph.D. degree, and we do not generally admit students who are interested in a terminal M.S. degree. If you are interested in our self-financed non-thesis M.S. program click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I apply to the M.S. or Ph.D. program?

Our graduate program is targeted primarily toward the Ph. D. degree, and we do not generally admit students who are interested in a terminal M.S. degree. Exceptions are made in special circumstances; however, arrangements with a research advisor are generally made in advance of the application.  We do have a separate non-thesis master's program, which is a one year degree based primarily on coursework. More information about the non-thesis master's program is available HERE.

Can I contact faculty directly by phone or email to learn more about research opportunities in their particular laboratories?

Yes, you are welcome to contact individual faculty directly (contact information is available on individual faculty pages). In addition, many research groups maintain their own websites – those often list current research opportunities.

Do I need to apply directly to a particular laboratory, or do I apply to the Chemistry Department as a whole?  Where do I indicate which labs I find interesting?

You should apply to the Chemistry Department using the UVA Graduate Admissions portal (CLICK HERE TO APPLY).  Individual faculty members are not able to make admissions decisions. However, in your application to the department, there is a place for you to list two or three faculty with whom you might be interested in working. You can also indicate specific research groups that are of interest in your Statement of Purpose. This is a helpful indicator for the admissions committee of your interests, although you are not obligated to stick with those selections if you are admitted.

Question from international applicants - May I send copies of my GRE and TOEFL scores for the application process?

(NOTE: Due to challenges as a result of COVID-19, the GRE General and GRE Subject test (or related) score requirement is waived for applications during the 2020-2021 academic year).   Yes, but if you are offered admission you will need to send the originals.

Do I need to send the Financial Guarantee form for the application process (international applicants only)?

No, not until you are offered admission and you accept the offer.

Is there an application deadline?

Yes, the deadline to submit applications is December 15, and we strongly encourage students to submit their materials by this date. Applications after this date might be accepted. Late applicants should contact the Chemistry Graduate Program at to inquire about a possible submission.

Do you accept students for admission in the spring semester?

Most students are accepted for the fall semester; however, under special circumstances we can consider spring admission.

Can I begin research in the summer before my first semester of graduate school?

Students who will begin in the fall semester can begin research in the preceding summer if a research group sponsors them. If you are interested in this option, you should contact the faculty member(s) with whom you are interested in doing summer work. Doing research during the summer is a great opportunity to get oriented to graduate student life before classes start. Please note that there is no obligation to continue working in the same lab after that summer (although many students choose to do so), and the faculty member is also not able to guarantee summer students a permanent place in their lab.

What is the minimum TOEFL score?

For international applicants whose first language is not English, the minimum internet-based (iBT) TOEFL score for general admission to the Graduate School is 90. The breakdown of the minimum required TOEFL score is as follows: 22 for Speaking, 22 for Writing, 23 for Reading, and 23 for Listening.

If I am an international student graduating from a United States institution, am I required to submit a TOEFL score?

If you have an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution you do not have to submit a TOEFL score.

Is the GRE general test scored required or accepted?

No, the Chemistry Graduate Admissions committee will not consider scores from the General GRE exam. 

If admitted to the program, can I visit the Chemistry Department?

Yes, we offer a visitation event (generally in the middle of March) and coer all reasonable travel expenses. Upon admission to the program, you will receive information about this event. In addition, although we encourage you to attend the visitation event, we can arrange one-day individual visits to the department if you are unable to do so.

Does your department have a minimum GPA?

The Graduate School has set 3.0 as the minimum GPA for admission to the graduate program. However, in certain cases where warranted by extenuating circumstances, the Chemistry Department can request a waiver of the minimum required GPA. If your GPA is below 3.0 but you believe that there are circumstances that render your application competitive, you are encouraged to apply.

What is the average GPA for students who receive a favorable admission decision?

The average GPA of students who are offered admission changes every year. Since evaluation of applications takes into account many different factors, and the average GPA can change each year, we believe that the average GPA is not, on its own, a definitive metric to gauge an applicant's competitiveness.  

Is undergraduate research essential for admission into your program? Will a student's prior research area influence whether or not they are granted admission?

Undergraduate research experience is strongly encouraged for those who wish to pursue a research-based graduate degree in our program. However, we recognize that students are applying from programs with differing access to undergraduate research opportunities, and undergraduate research is not essential for admission to our program. To the extent possible, we aim to judge each applicant on the basis of their potential for future work in their stated area of research interest. Changes in research topics and areas of interest between undergraduate and graduate level research are to be expected.

How does financial support for Ph.D. students work?

All Ph.D. students who maintain good academic standing are provided support that includes a 12-month stipend ($27,500), the Graduate Student Support Plan for benefits (click HERE for details), and coverage of tuition charges. The support is provided through several mechanisms including department fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and external fellowships. Financial support is provided on a 12-month basis, which enables students to pursue their research throughout the year.

Can the IELTS exam scores be used in place of the TOEFL exam. 

Yes,  applicants may submit scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as an alternative to the TOEFL exam. For more information, see the following website: