Frequently Asked Questions

How many applications do you receive each year?

  • Penn Chemistry Graduate Admissions is highly competitive. We typically exceed 430 applications per year.

Which documents are required for admission?

  • The online application, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a transcript, GRE general scores, TOEFL scores (international applicants only) and anything else you might feel is useful, such as copies of your research projects or peer reviewed publications if you have any. All materials should be submitted online through the application system by December 1st.

Do you require GRE subject tests?

  • GRE Chemistry subject tests are not required, but they are strongly recommended for all applicants. For students applying for the Physical Chemsitry division, Physics subject GRE can be substitutued.

What are the minimum admission requirements?

  • The majority of admitted applicants have a GPA of above a 3.0. We do not have a minimum GRE scores, though they should be competitive. Our Admissions Committee carefully considers all aspects of an application including letters of recommendation, personal statement, and research experience in addition to test scores and GPA before making an admissions decision.

How do I apply for financial aid?

  • The Chemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania provides full support (tuition, health insurance, and a monthly stipend) to all accepted graduate students for all 5 years of study. Support is given regardless of citizenship or financial need, and there is no need to file a separate application. This is a grant, not a loan, and does not have to be paid back to the University.
  • Graduate students are highly encouraged to apply for external graduate fellowships after coming to Penn. A workshop is offered to incoming graduate students that aids in fellowship application process.

Do I need to wait for my recommendation letters to be submitted before I submit my submitted application?

  • You do not need to wait for all of your letters to appear before you submit your application. Your recommenders can submit letters after you submit your application. Please submit your application by the deadline, do not wait for letters to be submitted.

What are the admission requirements for foreign applicants?

  • In addition to all required admissions materials for domestic students, International applicants whose native language is not English must submit proof of English proficiency (TOEFL). Scores should be sent to the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences office electronically thru ETS. The institution code for all exams is 2926, no department code is necessary.
  • The majority of admitted students have total iBT scores above 100. We require a Speak score of at least 20.
  • **We require TOEFL scores regardless of undergraduate and graduate work already completed in the United States or another English speaking country.

Do you offer a master’s degree program?

What if I can’t pay the application fee?

  • A fee waiver may be considered for U.S. citizens or permanent residents only. In order to apply for a fee waiver, the applicant should enclose a brief letter stating the reason for the request. This letter/email should be sent to the attention of the Associate Director for Admissions in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Please be advised that the applicant must demonstrate a clear and compelling case of financial hardship.

How can I visit Penn Chemistry?

  • Our Open House Weekend for likely admitted students is usually in late-February. This weekend provides opportunities to meet and socialize with current graduate students and faculty; learn about research that is carried out in the department; and tour the building facilities, the campus, and the city of Philadelphia. In special situations it is also possible to schedule an individual visit.

Department of Chemistry

231 S. 34 Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6323

215.898.8317 voice | 215.573.2112 fax | web@chem.upenn.edu