Applying to the PhD Program

Ready to apply! 

Check out application requirements below and click on this link: Apply to Graduate School


Application Requirements 

The Admissions Committee reviews applications to identify candidates with the broad training in core areas of chemistry necessary to succeed in graduate coursework, teaching, and research. In addition to applicants with bachelor degrees in chemistry or biochemistry, candidates with degrees in allied disciplines (such as biology, chemical engineering, or physics) and who possess significant training in one or more core areas of chemistry will be considered. Generally, students are admitted to the PhD program for the fall term. In some years, applications for the spring term can be considered. Applications and all supporting documents must be submitted through the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences' (GSAS) online application portal, which opens on October 1st. The deadline for PhD Applications is December 1

Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis between January and mid-April; given the size of our applicant pool, we are unable to provide status updates to applicants during this period.

Technical questions related to the application system should be addressed to the Graduate Admissions Office, by email ( or phone (434-243-0209).

The following items are required for an application to be complete:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Unofficial transcripts (students who accept an offer of admission must then have official transcripts sent directly from their university to the Graduate Admissions Office)
  • 2 confidential letters of recommendation submitted directly by the letter writers
  • An application fee of $85 

Additional materials for international applicants whose first language is not English

  • Self-reported TOEFL/IELTS scores from a test taken within the last 2 years (unless they completed a 4-year undergraduate degree in the U.S. or at an institution with English-only instruction); students who accept an offer of admission must then have official scores sent directly from the testing agency to the Graduate Office of Admissions).
  • International students are strongly encouraged to submit GRE Chemistry (or a related subject) test scores.

Admitted students residing in the U.S. will be invited to UVA Grounds for a visitation event in March.

For more information, please visit The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ website, including the page of Frequently Asked Questions about admission. 

Application Fee Waivers 

Due to the substantial volume of requests and the limited availability of departmental fee waivers, the Chemistry Department has implemented a two-step fee waiver policy:

Step 1: Applicants should first ascertain whether they are eligible for a fee waiver from UVA's Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS).

US citizens and permanent residents may qualify for GSAS fee waivers based on participation in specified organizations, training programs, and the United States Armed Forces; graduation from a Minority Serving Institution (MSI); and financial hardship. Click on the following link for eligibility requirements and directions for submitting a fee waiver application, .

International students may qualify for an automatic GSAS fee waiver based on their citizenship. Click on the following link for the GSAS Admission Requirements page,, then click on the “Fees” section for details and directions.

Step 2: Applicants who do not qualify for a GSAS fee waiver may request a fee waiver from the Department of Chemistry—though these are extremely limited and rarely granted—by sending a CV (and only a CV) containing the information below to  

  • Current address
  • Citizenship
  • Current position
  • Educational background (previous institutions, degrees, and GPAs)
  • Research experiences
  • Research interests
  • Publications, awards, honors, and presentations
  • UVA faculty members of greatest interest

Applicants will be notified by email when their application fee waiver request has been evaluated. Allow a minimum of two weeks for the review process.

Given the limited number of Departmental fee waivers available, we strongly encourage applicants to apply for our graduate program through the normal process if they are able to do so. This fee waiver application review is separate from the standard application review process, so if an applicant applies for a fee waiver and then later chooses to apply through the normal process, there will be no prejudice against their admission application.

Admission FAQs and Answers to Common Questions

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

Yes, contact information is available on individual faculty pages; additionally, many research groups maintain their own websites and list current research opportunities there.

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?

No, applicants apply to the Graduate Chemistry Program, not to a particular lab; however, you can list up to three faculty you hope to work with in your application and discuss the research group(s) you hope to join in your Statement of Purpose, although you are not obligated to stick with those selections if you are admitted.

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 entering the program during the fall semester may begin research in the preceding summer if a research group sponsors them. Admitted students may contact the faculty member(s) they are interested in working with to discuss possible options. Please note that there is no obligation to continue working in the same lab after that summer, and faculty members cannot guarantee summer students a permanent lap position.

If I am an international student and my native language is not English, am I required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores?

Applicants whose native language is not English but who have an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution, or from an institution whose instruction is entirely in English, do not have to submit TOEFL/ IELTS scores. All other international applicants self-report test scores on their application. If they accept an admissions offer, they need to have official scores sent from ETS (or IELTS) directly to the Graduate Admissions Office. For more information, see the following website:

What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores?

The minimum internet-based (iBT) TOEFL score for general admission to the Graduate School is 90, with minum scores in each component as follows: 22 for Speaking, 22 for Writing, 23 for Reading, and 23 for Listening. The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0 in each section. The date of the reported test must fall within two years of the application deadline.

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 cover travel expenses up to a specific amount. 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 attend the larger visitation event.

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 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 admitted changes every year. Since evaluation of applications considers 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?

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.