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Graduate Application Information


To apply: Applications should be submitted directly to the Purdue Graduate School at Information about the logistics of the application is available at You do not need to contact Chemistry faculty directly, or send anything directly to the Chemistry Department. Faculty and admissions staff will not be able to review or comment on application materials that are not submitted through the Graduate School Website.

Complete applications: We will not review or consider partial applications. A complete application includes all required components (see below), including the letters of recommendation. The application fee must be paid or waived by the Graduate School for the application to be considered complete.

Deadline: All applications that are complete by December 15, 2021, will receive full consideration from the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee. Applications received after that date may or may receive full consideration, depending on timing, application quality, and our departmental needs. You are strongly encouraged to make sure that your application is complete by the Dec. 15 deadline, in order to ensure your greatest opportunity for a successful application.

Entry Date: Except in very unusual circumstances, all students joining the PhD program will start at the beginning of the fall semester. Students who apply for spring or summer admission will be asked to amend their application for fall admission. The fall semester typically starts in early- to mid-August.

Admission Decisions: We release decisions as soon as they are available. The Graduate Admissions Committee reviews the majority of applications from November through January. Our goal is to have most admissions decisions shared with applicants by January 15.


Undergraduate studies: Applicants should be on track to complete at least a Bachelor’s Degree prior to matriculation in our program. We accept and consider applications from students with a wide variety of undergraduate majors; it is not required to have an undergraduate degree specifically in Chemistry. It is recommended that you have a minimum of 35 semester hours of undergraduate credit in chemistry courses as a basis for graduate work. These 35 hours should include the basic undergraduate courses in general chemistry, quantitative analysis, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry.  In addition, the student should have credit in mathematics through integral calculus and one year of physics.  Additional courses in mathematics and physics are desirable.

Master’s degree: A Master’s Degree is not required for admission, and several students begin our program directly after completing a bachelor’s degree (B.S. or B.A.). However, it is typically required that you complete the program in which you are enrolled when you apply. The graduate school will require a final and official transcript showing the degree earned, preferably before you arrive on campus or register for courses.

Grade Point Average: For admission consideration, your grade point average from the most recent degree (undergraduate, graduate, or professional) must be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent from a different grading system; we are aware that many international universities use grading scales that may not be directly proportional to a US 4.0-scale, and will take that into consideration in our review of applications).


Complete application: A complete application must include the following:

  • Answers to applicable questions at
  • Transcripts from all universities that you have attended since you began your BS degree program (single courses that you may have taken in a non-degree program while you were still in high school do not need a transcript).
  • At least three letters of recommendation
  • A statement of purpose
  • A resume or CV
  • English Proficiency Scores (International students only)
  • Diversity Essay (optional)
  • Application fee received, or waiver from the Graduate School granted

Transcripts: You should include transcripts from all universities you have attended since you began to seek your Bachelor’s degree. Unofficial transcripts are accepted (though not printouts from the online student services portal of your university). We understand that you may still be completing your BS or MS degree at the time of application, so incomplete (but current) transcripts are accepted. English translations are required if the original transcript is in a language other than English (if the transcript was originally issued in another language, both the original and English translation should be submitted). If transcripts are being sent directly from your university, please allow sufficient time prior to the application deadline for mailing and processing. If you are accepted and choose to come to Purdue, complete and official transcripts will be required prior to enrollment and registration, but they are not required for the purposes of application.

Letters of Recommendation: The Chemistry Department requires at least three letters of recommendation. Your letter writers should send the letters directly to Purdue: in the application process, you will list names and contact information of letter writers, and then Purdue will reach out to them directly with instructions for submission. We strongly recommend that at least one of these letters come from someone who supervised your research efforts, and who can comment directly on your research experiences and/or potential. This includes research done while you were an undergraduate, or during a graduate level program, or during employment. You have the option to submit more than three letters of recommendation. However, if you have more than three letters, please be aware that the Graduate School’s application system does not automatically forward applications to Chemistry once the third letter is received. Instead, the system waits until all letters are received. If you would like to have your application reviewed with three letters – before a fourth or fifth is received – you will need to reach out directly to the Chemistry Department so we can manually move your application forward.

Statement of Purpose: Your Statement of Purpose is a critical part of your application; it should clearly convey your interests, experiences, motivations, and potential. This essay provides a valuable insight for the faculty evaluating your application. The statement should be approximately 500 words, and we encourage you to discuss your interest in undertaking or continuing graduate study, your reasons for wanting to study at Purdue, your professional plans, your career goals, and/or your research interests. You also may explain any special circumstances applicable to your background and elaborate on your special abilities, awards, achievements, scholarly publications, and/or professional history.

Resume or CV: You should submit a resume or CV as part of your application. A resume or CV allows you to present a brief, complete picture of your experiences and accomplishments.

English Proficiency Scores: English Proficiency Scores may be required for international students. Please see below for details on scores, acceptable tests, and potential waivers.

Diversity Essay: If you are a US citizen or Permanent Resident who has been significantly involved with any racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or educational communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, please consider submitting a diversity essay. This essay is optional. Submission of a Diversity Essay is required for certain fellowships offered by the Graduate School.

Application Fee: For all Purdue Graduate programs, a non-refundable application fee of $60 (for US citizens and permanent residents) or $75 (for international students) is required. There are some opportunities for waivers, either for attendance at certain recruitment events or (for US Citizens and Permanent Residents) with a request for an economic hardship waiver. More information, including a complete current list of recruitment events, is available at

Other common questions about application materials:

  • GRE: Purdue Chemistry does not consider GRE scores, either General or Subject test, as part of the graduate application. If you have taken the GRE, please do not send scores.
    Other supporting materials:
    Applications are reviewed holistically, so you have the option of adding other supporting materials that may help the admissions committee understand your experiences and potential. Including other supporting materials is optional. Supporting materials should be brief; the faculty on the committee are not likely to read entire articles.
  • Area of Interest: The application asks you to select one of eight areas of interest within Chemistry: Analytical, Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Inorganic, Materials Chemistry, Organic, Physical, or Theoretical. Please select the area closest to your goals and interests. This is not a binding selection (once students are admitted to the program, they are free to pursue any area of research), but it does help us ensure that faculty reviewing your application will be experts in your particular area of interest.
  • First Choice and Second Choice Program: The Purdue Graduate School application allows you to apply for up to three different Purdue programs. All timely applications listing Chemistry as the first or second choice will receive full consideration from the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee. Applications listing Chemistry as the third choice may or may not receive full consideration from Chemistry, depending on timing, application quality, and departmental needs.


Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee: Once your application is complete, the Graduate School will release it for review by a panel of chemistry faculty. These professors will make recommendations to either admit or deny your application, and will also make recommendations for potential Fellowship offers.

Review timing: The Admissions Committee completes the bulk of the reviews between November and January. Applications complete prior to the December 15 deadline may be reviewed early, and students will be notified as soon as an admission decision is final. Our goal is to have the majority of the decisions made and communicated to students by mid-January.

Notification: If the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee recommends admission, we will notify you via email. The email from the Chemistry Department will include details of a financial support offer. We will also contact you if there are any issues with the application that need to be addressed before the Graduate School can make a formal offer of admission. Notification will be delivered to the email address that you provide in your application. Unless a paper copy is requested, admission letters and financial support information will be provided only electronically.

Responding to an offer: Students receiving an offer of admission and financial support will be asked to respond to the Graduate School, through the application website, no later than April 15. If you accept our offer, we also ask that you sign to accept the terms of the financial support offer by that date. If you accept an offer from another program, we request that you to let us know as soon as possible.


Visiting / the Graduate Symposium: US-based students receiving an offer will be invited to our Graduate Symposium, which is a visitation weekend in early March. During this visit, students will have the chance to interact with the Chemistry Department faculty, students and staff. Travel expenses will be reimbursed up to a stated limit (usually sufficient to cover airfare for those living in the USA, but insufficient for overseas trips). Details will be provided following your admission.

Virtual visitation: Through February and March, there will also be opportunities for virtual visits and events. We will have at least one major virtual symposium, and also make opportunities available for you to talk one-on-one with faculty or current graduate students. Individual professors may reach out to you following our offer of admission (you have the option in your application to list up to five faculty of interest to you).

Summer start: If you accept our offer, students may also have a chance to work in a paid position in certain labs during the summer (we call these “zero-year” research opportunities). For US citizens and permanent residents, this is administered in a way similar to summer undergraduate research opportunities. For international students, visa requirements mandate that we update your starting term from Fall to Summer. This can take significant time, so international students interested in a zero-year opportunity should contact us as soon as possible.


Financial support: Offers to incoming PhD students include financial support for a period up to 5 years from the date of admission, presuming satisfactory progress and performance. This support may be in the form of a Teaching Assistantship or a Research Assistantship; the exact appointment may change every semester at the discretion of your eventual major advisor. Support typically includes a full tuition waiver (some fees are still assessed), and a stipend. For 2021-22, the TA stipend is $25,350 annually. The time commitment is up to 20 hours per week.

Fellowships: The Department and the Graduate School offer a number of competitive fellowships for exceptional students throughout their graduate career. A limited number of one or two year fellowships will be offered to new graduate students selected for Fall 2022 admission. We award these incoming fellowships based on the standard application; there is no need for an additional fellowship application. Students on fellowships may elect to supplement their income by teaching on a limited basis.

The MS program: Purdue Chemistry typically admits students only into the PhD program. An exception is granted for US military veterans and active service applicants who are fully funded by scholarships or other military programs, and are seeking an MS degree.


English Proficiency Exams: If you come from a country in which English is not a primary language, you must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores from a test in English competency taken within two years of your application. TOEFL iBT, iBT Home Edition, and TOEFL Essentials are all accepted. Both the standard IELTS (Academic Module) and the IELTS Indicator scores are accepted.

Minimum Scores: The table below shows the minimum scores for the Chemistry PhD program for the various test types. Note that some of these minimum scores are higher than Purdue Graduate School minimums.

(Regular or home edition)

TOEFL Essentials IELTS
(Standard or Indicator)
Writing 18 8 5.5
Speaking 23* 8 7.0
Listening 14 8 6.0
Reading 19 8 6.5
Overall 88 8 6.5

* Exceptional applicants with a TOFEL speaking sub-score of 22 may be considered.

Repeat examinations: If you have more than one set of scores for these exams, Purdue will consider the subscores associated with the test date of the highest overall score. You may not combine subscores from two different test dates to create a higher overall score.

English-speaking Countries: A list of countries that Purdue considers predominantly English-speaking is available here:

Waiver for BS or MS degree from an English-speaking country: International students who are not from predominantly English-speaking countries, but who have earned (or will earn) a BS or MS degree from a university in an English-speaking country, where the predominant language of instruction is English, within 36 prior to the application date, may request a waiver for English Proficiency scores. This waiver is not automatic, and we may ask to see unofficial TOEFL or IELTS scores from when you started your program in an English-speaking country. This waiver is approved by the Chemistry Department; to request a waiver, please email once your application has all components complete other than the English proficiency requirement and the fee payment.


To contact the Chemistry Department with any other questions, please call +1 765-494-5200, email to, or write to Graduate Admissions, Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 560 Oval Drive, West Lafayette IN, 47907-2084.