Graduate Admissions

How to Apply for the PhD in Chemistry

The Chemistry Department welcomes and invites applications for admission to the Ph.D. program from all qualified candidates. We admit students who will begin their studies in the Fall term.

$90 Application Fee

Link to Application - CLICK HERE!

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2024 entry. Our PhD application is open from October 1st to December 1st. A complete application is one that includes all required materials, application review begins as early as December 2nd.


Application Materials

In addition to the completed online application, all applicants must submit the following:

GRE scores are not required, but they are strongly recommended if you are applying to the physical chemistry division (and *especially* the theory division). If you have GRE scores, you are welcome to send them to us, the school code for all exams is: 2926. You will not be penalized if you apply without a GRE score. Please contact the Graduate Coordinator at if you have questions regarding this matter.

• Uploaded UNOFFICIAL transcripts from all Universities and Colleges attended. Please note that you must upload your transcripts with your online application. Do not send any paper transcripts.

• 3-5 letters of recommendation. Please have your recommenders submit these letters online.

• A writing sample IS NOT REQUIRED however you may use this portion of the application to upload any optional written materials.

• A CV/resume.

• Applicants whose native language is not English must submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Proficiency in spoken English is a requirement of our program and is used as an admissions criterion. Admitted students in this category also have to attend a two-month English Language Program and Teaching Assistantship Workshop (sponsored by the department) beginning the first week in July and to pass a University-administered spoken English test in order to qualify for a Teaching Fellowship. The institution code for all exams is 2926, no department code is necessary.

  • We require TOEFL scores regardless of undergraduate and graduate work already completed in the United States or another English speaking country. See FAQ section for information on using old/expired TOEFL scores for application.
  • We will accept IELTS scores in place of the TOEFL. IELTS scores will be converted to TOEFL equivalents. You must submit an unofficial IELTS score report under the "writing sample" section of our application, as we cannot receive official IELTS scores.

• Personal Statement (3 parts- 1 document) PLEASE FOLLOW THIS FORMAT and label each part. Parts 1, 2, and 3 combined no more than 3 pages double-spaced. The application system only lists 2 parts in the prompt, please use the prompt below with 3 parts.

  • Part 1
    • Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.
  • Part 2
    • In this section of your personal statement please describe your specific interest in Chemistry Research Groups at the University of Pennsylvania. Please indicate and BOLD the names of 3-5 of our faculty whose research is of particular interest to you. Describe, succinctly, any relevant research experience that you have had. If you wish to provide additional information about your academic record, etc. please do so. *Keep this concise, less than a half page double spaced is ideal.
  • Part 3
    • Encouraged (but not required) to describe your passion for chemistry graduate study and research, outlining career background and development, and any further insight that you think may help the reviewers understand your academic and scientific development.

 For more information please contact the Graduate Coordinator at