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Graduate Application Information

APPLICATION DETAILS

To apply: Applications and all required application materials should be submitted directly to the Purdue Graduate School through an Application Account. To find information about the logistics of submitting your application online, visit this page. Please do not send any application materials directly to the Chemistry Department faculty or staff unless a document is requested by the department. Faculty and admissions staff will not be able to review or comment on application materials that are not submitted through the Graduate School online application system. 

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.

Application timing: The priority application deadline for our Fall 2025 Ph.D. program will be December 1st, 2024. Completed applications submitted by December 15th, 2024 will also receive consideration. 

Applications submitted by exceptional candidates after December 15th, 2024 might be considered, but a review is not guaranteed. 

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 February. Our goal is to have most admissions decisions shared with applicants by mid-March.

ADMISSION ELIGIBILITY

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).

APPLICATION COMPONENTS

Complete application: A complete application must include the following:

  • Create an Application Account and answers to applicable application questions
  • 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
  • An academic statement of purpose
  • A personal history statement
  • A resume or CV
  • English Proficiency Scores (International students only)
  • Application fee received, or waiver from the Graduate School granted

Transcripts: You must upload to the online application transcript(s) and/or academic document(s) for every institution of higher education you attended. If a transcript is not in English, you must upload an English translation certified by the college or university which issued it.

The uploaded transcript and/or academic document must be from the official version of the document. An official transcript bears the original signature of the registrar and/or the original seal of the issuing institution. An unofficial transcript printed from your current/previous institution(s) student system is not an acceptable document.

All transcripts and/or academic documents uploaded to the online application system are considered unofficial.
You will need to provide official transcripts and/or academic records at the request of the graduate program or if you are admitted and choose to enroll. An official transcript bears the original signature of the registrar and/or the original seal of the issuing institution. All applicants are advised to review the Graduate School's Submitting Transcripts page for additional requirements and information related to transcripts. Applicants who have previously attended international universities should also visit The Graduate School's Documents Required by Country page as they may be required to submit additional academic credentials.

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. Your references should also be persons who can assess your academic potential such as faculty members, academic staff, supervisors, industry leaders, employers or advisors. 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. The Graduate School strongly encourages you to provide reference email addresses that are affiliated with an academic institutions, professional organization, or employer.

Academic Statement of Purpose: Your Academic Statement of Purpose is a critical part of your application; it should clearly convey your academic 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 should address the following topics:

  1. What are your professional plans and career goals? How will attending graduate school assist you in reaching those goals?
  2. Describe your research, scholarly, or creative interests. What topics are of particular interest to you? Reviewers know that interests change over time but try to be as specific as possible.
  3. Discuss how your experiences, skills, and abilities have prepared you for graduate study. Relevant topics may include coursework, work and research experiences, internships, presentations, exhibits, publications, and community service. If you describe a research or scholarly experience, include information on the topic, research mentor, your role, and outcomes.
  4. Describe how your skills, preparation, and interests are a match for the Chemistry P.h.D Program. Identify faculty who share your research and scholarly interests. Reviewers will want to know that you have researched the program, faculty, and key focus areas.

Information in the Personal History Statement should complement but not duplicate information in the Academic Statement of Purpose.

Personal History Statement: The Personal History Statement helps reviewers learn more about you as a whole person and as a potential graduate student. This may include relevant details on community service, leadership roles, participation in diverse teams, and significant barriers that you overcame to attend graduate school.

All applicants' Personal History Statements should:

  1. Describe how your background and life experiences contribute to your ability to be both persistent and resourceful in graduate school.
  2. Describe how your life experiences have prepared you to contribute to an academic community where scholars with diverse research interests, abilities, backgrounds, and experiences are supported, respected, and valued.

Applicants also have the option to:

  1. Address concerns that you may have that your academic record does not reflect your true capabilities and discuss mitigating factors that have affected your academic record. Reviewers will be interested in understanding your accomplishments relative to your opportunities.

Information in the Personal History Statement should complement but not duplicate information in the Academic Statement of Purpose.

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.

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 https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/admissions/how-to-apply/apply-fee.html

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. 

APPLICATION REVIEW

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 February. Applications completed prior to the December 1st 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 March.

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.

AFTER ADMISSION

Open House Weekends: US-based students receiving an offer will be invited to one of our in-person Graduate Open House Weekends. 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. Dates for our 2024 Open House Weekends will be February 7-8, 2025 and Feb. 28-March 1, 2025.

Virtual Open House: Our Virtual Open House event is open to international and domestic students who have received an offer of admission. Through February and March, there will also be opportunities for virtual visits and events. Attendees have a chance to attend an informational session and Q&A to learn more about our program, engage with our research groups through an interactive virtual poster session and talk to our Graduate Student Advisory Board about our community and grad. student life at Purdue. 

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.

OTHER INFORMATION

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 monetary stipend. 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 2025 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. Applicants who apply for an MS program but do not fall into the aforementioned categories will be asked to amend their applications.

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY

English Proficiency Exams: If you come from a country in which English is not a primary language, you must submit TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores from a test in English competency. TOEFL iBT, iBT Home Edition, and TOEFL Essentials are all accepted. Standard IELTS (Academic Module) and Duolingo scores are also accepted, but TOEFL Indicator scores are not acceptable. To be valid for admission, English proficiency test scores (TOEFL and IELTS) must be no more than two years old at the time the recommendation for admission is received at the Graduate School. 

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

Minimum TOEFL & IELTS Scores

TOEFL iBT
(Regular or home edition)

TOEFL Essentials IELTS
(Standard)
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 TOEFL speaking sub-score of 22 may be considered.

Duolingo: The Chemistry Department's required minimum Duolingo subscores are as follows: 130 for Production; 130 for Conversation; 115 for Literacy; and 115 for Comprehension. The Chemistry Department's minimum total test score requirement is 115. Note that some of these minimum scores are higher than Purdue Graduate School minimums.

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: https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/admissions/how-to-apply/apply-toefl.html

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 chemoffice@purdue.edu once your application has all components complete other than the English proficiency requirement and the fee payment. We will not apply a waiver automatically; it must be requested by the applicant.

Test Score Submission Requirements: Please review the Graduate School's English Proficiency Requirements page for information about test score submission requirements for TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo.

CONTACT INFORMATION

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