Department of Chemistry

Frequently Asked Questions Graduate Application Process

What are the minimum requirements for admission?

Decisions are based on your application as a complete package. The information below is provided as guidance only and is not intended to convey hard cutoffs. We understand that individual circumstances vary and that not all applicants take a traditional road to graduate school.

  • A B.A., B.S., M.S., or equivalent degree in chemistry or a degree in a closely related field with appropriate chemistry coursework is expected.
  • Undergraduate research experience is expected.
  • An undergraduate grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher is expected, as well as an average of B or higher in chemistry and science courses.
  • 75% of admitted US students in recent years had GRE-Q scores of 155 and above.
  • For international students, we expect TOEFL scores of 100+ or IELTS of 7.0+.
I have a low GPA or GRE score. Does that automatically disqualify me?

The applications are reviewed as whole packages. No single parameter is by itself disqualifying. We look for evidence of excellence in past accomplishments and strong promise of success in the future. This evidence can manifest itself in many different ways.

I have submitted my complete application. What is its status?

If you have submitted your application and it is complete, then your application is under review. There are no tiers of status. If you have not heard from us yet, that means your application is still under review. We cannot tell you how likely you are to get admitted or whether you have an assigned priority number on any “waitlist” because this is not how we operate.

When and how will I be notified of the decision?

You will typically be informed of the admissions committee's decision by email. Many, but not all, offers are made by mid-February. Some offers may be made as late as April. If you are offered admission, your response will be requested by April 15, 2014. You are under no obligation to respond before April 15, but we would appreciate learning of your decision once you have made it. Your decision may influence our late decisions on applications still under review.

Why can you not make all the decisions earlier?

We receive hundreds of applications and we work hard to review them in the most expedient fashion, but it takes a significant amount of time. We receive more meritorious applications than we can admit. As well, there is a great deal of uncertainty in how many applicants will accept our offer. Over the last few years, around half of our offers remained unanswered a week before April 15. Because of this, some decisions are made quite late in the process.

I have not heard from you yet, but I have an offer from another school and they require me to respond before April 15. Can you make your decision sooner?

The majority of US schools agreed to a resolution stipulating April 15 as the universal response deadline for graduate school offers. Requiring you to respond before April 15 is a violation of this agreement.

Can I check the status of my application through the Applicant Information System?

Within 48 hours (not including weekends or US holidays) of the processing of your ApplyTexas application the Office of Admissions will send an acknowledgement letter with the UIN and instructions for activating your NetID. With this NetID you can access the Applicant Information System (AIS). It may show the status of your submitted materials, but it will not reflect the progress of the review process.

Can you issue a conditional letter of admission for my fellowship application?

No, we cannot. We can only reach a decision on admission after a completed application has been received and reviewed.

If I have a fellowship, does that guarantee me admission to the program?

All applications are reviewed on the basis of merit.

Do I need a Meningitis Vaccine to apply?

Proof of vaccination is NOT required for your application to be considered. All students admitted to a Texas university who are not yet 22 on the first day of classes must show proof of vaccination before they can enroll. See admissions.tamu.edu/meningitis.aspx

What if my question is not answered here?

Please email us at gradmail@chem.tamu.edu

Whom do you consider domestic and international applicants?

A domestic applicant is a US citizen/national or a permanent resident of the US. All others are international applicants. If you are a US citizen with an overseas education, in general, you should follow the “domestic” guidelines, but we advise you to contact us at gradmail@chem.tamu.edu.

What is a complete application package?
A complete application package consists of the following items:

  • ApplyTexas application
  • Statement of Purpose (essay on ApplyTexas application)
  • Transcripts from all colleges or universities attended
  • GRE scores
  • GRE subject scores, if an international student
  • TOEFL scores, if an international student
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • CV
What is a Statement of Purpose?
A statement of purpose generally serves to explain why you are interested in and passionate about chemistry and about pursuing graduate studies. The exact content and order of presentation is up to the applicant, but the admissions committee expects to see the following items (in 2 pages or less):

  • How your history has led you to advanced studies in chemistry
  • Your anticipated career goals
  • Your past research experience (please provide details about your past projects, the results you obtained, and their significance).
  • Your research interests, and which areas and research groups at Texas A&M are attractive to you
  • Please mention how you became interested in attending Texas A&M
What is a CV?

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is similar to a resume. It should contain information about your educational and professional background and history, list honors and awards, skills, activities, and interests relevant to graduate studies in chemistry. It should also list any published research papers and presentations. Optionally, you may include in the CV file one page dedicated to a brief description of your research accomplishments.

Who should the recommendation letters be from?

At least one letter should be from a research advisor. At least two recommendation letters are expected to be from chemists.

Can I transfer from another PhD program?

Accepting students who are active in a different PhD program in chemistry is uncommon. In addition to all the regular application materials, a student from another PhD program should clearly explain their current academic standing and research progress, and present cogent reasons for wishing to leave. A letter from the current research advisor or the director of graduate studies at the current institution is required.

I have credits earned at Texas A&M. Do I need to submit an official transcript?

No, you do not.

Can I email my transcript?

Do not email your transcripts or any other documentation unless specifically requested to do so. A "self-reported" transcript must be uploaded in your Applicant Information System (AIS). If you are accepted into the program, an official transcript must be submitted to the Office of Admissions. Admission is conditional on the receipt of official transcripts.

What if my question is not answered here?

Please email us at gradmail@chem.tamu.edu

The application deadline on the Chemistry website is different from those on ApplyTexas or Texas A&M University general website. Which should I follow?

Please follow our departmental early consideration deadline of December 15, 2016 for Admission for Fall 2017. We will accept and review applications submitted and completed after the early consideration deadline.

Can I apply after the deadline?

You may apply after December 15, 2016. However, please complete your application package as soon as possible.

Should I apply early?

We do encourage submitting applications in advance of our deadline (applying before early-/mid-November carries no benefit, however). We give full consideration to all applications submitted by our deadline; however, we continuously review application packages as they are received. Having more applications early may result in an earlier decision for the early applications, but also allows us to get through all of the applications sooner.

Do you accept applications for the Spring semester?

Applications received for admission in the Spring semester are considered on a case-by-case basis. Spring admits are unusual.

I know which professor I am interested in working with. Should I write to her/him first?

It is certainly alright to contact our faculty directly and express interest in their work. It is a good way to learn about our research efforts directly. However, in order to join any of the chemistry research groups as a PhD student, one first has to apply for admission and be admitted to our graduate program. There is absolutely no requirement to have an agreement with a specific faculty member in order to apply and be admitted, nor do prior contacts with individual faculty guarantee admission.

How do I use the eLOR (electronic Letters of Recommendation) System?

After your ApplyTexas application is processed, the Office of Admissions will send an acknowledgement letter with the UIN and instructions for activating your NetID. With this NetID you can access the Applicant Information System (AIS). Letters of recommendation are managed via a link within AIS to the electronic Letters of Recommendation (eLOR) system. The email address and other information pertaining to a potential recommender must be entered in to the eLOR system by you. After submitting the recommender’s information, you must click “Send Email” to notify the recommender that you are requesting a letter of reference. Applicants can send reminder emails if the recommender has not yet viewed the form.

When will I receive my University Identification Number?

After your application is received via ApplyTexas.org, a letter containing your University Identification Number (UIN) is usually emailed within 2 business days to the address you provided on your application. (Emails are not sent over the weekend or during holidays.) Please check your SPAM filter for the communication as is has been reported that some internet-based providers route the letter there. If you do not receive a letter, contact the Office of Admissions and Records at +1-979-845-1060 for further assistance.

Can I email my transcript?

No. A "self-reported" transcript must be uploaded to the Applicant Information System. We will use the uploaded copy of the transcript for consideration of your application. Do not email documentation unless we request you to do so. If admitted the University requires receipt of official transcripts sent viSPEEDE, eScrip-Safe, PARCHMENT, National Clearing House, or paper documents in envelopes sealed by your University’s Registrar’s Office.

Documentation I uploaded to AIS or my ApplyTexas application does not show as received. Why?

There may be a delay of up to 1 business day before your documents show as received. Be aware that no processing happens on weekends or during holidays. The University is closed between December 23 and January 2. The backlog for processing electronic documents is usually a few days. The backlog for processing paper documents submitted while the university is closed can be up to 20 business days. Your documents will be date-stamped when received in the system. We will review your complete application once documentation is routed to us.

Can I apply to more than one department at Texas A&M?

You may only apply to one graduate program at Texas A&M. Applying for graduate studies in disparate disciplines makes it difficult to convey commitment to and passion for advanced studies in chemistry.

Where should I mail my materials?

We prefer all materials be uploaded to the Applicant Information System (AIS) portion of the Howdy Portal once you have access. The office of Admissions accepts official electronic transciprts via SPEEDE, eScrip-SAFE, PARCHMENT and National Clearing House. Paper transcripts can be sent to the Office of Admissions:

(U.S. Postal Service)

Graduate Admissions Processing
Office of Admissions
Texas A&M University
P.O. Box 40001
College Station, TX 77842-4001

(Overnight or Hand Delivery)

Graduate Admissions Processing
Texas A&M University
General Services Complex
750 Agronomy Road, Suite 1601
0200 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-0200
(979) 845-1060
What if my question is not answered here?

Please email us at gradmail@chem.tamu.edu

I am interested in a particular research area in chemistry. Do you have this area represented in your department?

Please take a look at the Research section of the departmental website which presents faculty research areas both by traditional divisions and by interest areas.

What are the major academic milestones in your Ph.D. program?

Please see the Degree Programs section of the departmental website.

Is there an M.S. degree program?

Our graduate program is aimed at students interested in a obtaining a Ph.D. degree. Exceptions may be made only for students on active duty in the military.

What is the financial support offered to graduate students?

Our graduate stipend for 2015/2016 is $2,050/month or $24,600 annually. This support may come in the form of a research assistantship or a teaching assistantship. This base stipend level is the same for all graduate students in the department. In addition, tuition and fees are paid by the department or the research advisor. Support is guaranteed for 5 years for students maintaining good academic standing. Students are also eligible for reduced-rate health benefits.

Do you offer additional fellowships and awards?

There are indeed fellowships and awards reserved for graduate applicants. All domestic applicants are automatically reviewed for their eligibility and no action beyond a submitting a complete application on time is needed to be considered. International students can apply for fellowships and awards once they have established a GPA. Students selected for a fellowship or an award, you will be notified by email. For the awards available to our resident graduate students, please consult www.chem.tamu.edu/graduate/#GraduateAwards.

What about external fellowships and awards?

We highly recommend all applicants consider applying for appropriate external fellowships. Consult our list of External Awards and the OGAPS Externally Funded Fellowships list. If you have been awarded an external fellowship that will provide support for your graduate studies, please mention it explicitly in your statement of purpose or contact us later at gradmail@chem.tamu.edu.

Can you issue an admission letter early so that I can apply for an external fellowship that is conditional on guaranteed admission?

We do not issue conditional letters of admission. We can only make a decision on an application after it is complete and has been reviewed in the context of our pool of applicants.

What if my question is not answered here?

Please email us at gradmail@chem.tamu.edu

Where do I send my GRE and/or TOEFL scores?

The Texas A&M University Code is 6003 and the Department of Chemistry Code is 0301. Self-reported scores should be entered in the ApplyTexas application and a screen-shot or scan of your GRE report should be uploaded in your Applicant Information System (AIS). If you are accepted into the program, an official score report must be submitted to the TAMU Office of Admissions. Admission is conditional on the receipt of official score reports.

I plan to take GRE or TOEFL in December. May I submit my scores late?

You may submit your scores late. However, we cannot review your application until it is complete.

My GRE or TOEFL scores were lower than I would like. If I retake the test and do better, will you consider the new scores?

Yes, we will consider the new scores. We do not mix-and-match scores. Information received after the deadline may not be fully taken into consideration.

Are the GRE Chemistry scores required?

GRE Chemistry scores are required for the applicants with undergraduate degrees from non-US institutions and for the applicants whose US degrees are not in chemistry. We strongly recommend the GRE Chemistry for all applicants. The GRE Chemistry test is offered only a few times each year and only once a year in some countries. Please plan accordingly. Current information may be found at www.ets.org/gre/subject/about/content/chemistry.

Why are GRE Chemistry scores "strongly recommended" for domestic applicants?

The GRE Chemistry score is viewed as a component which can augment the strength of an application. We particularly encourage submission of the Chemistry GRE scores for any applicant who feels that their undergraduate record or the General GRE scores may not reflect the true level of academic preparation and aptitude for studies in chemistry. Applicants with interests in the corresponding areas of chemistry may submit the results of the GRE Biochemistry or Physics tests to bolster their application.

What are the expected TOEFL and IELTS scores for evidence of English proficiency?

The Department of Chemistry expects a TOEFL iBT of at least 100 or an IELTS band score of at least 7.0. All admitted international applicants who join our program must pass the TAMU English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE) before they can be employed as teaching assistants. See the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies' English Language Proficiency page for the explanation of the State of Texas policies.

Note that the TOEFL/IELTS expectations of the Chemistry Department are higher than the minimum requirements listed on the University site. Applicants with TOEFL scores of <100 will be considered but may be at a disadvantage.

Do all international students have to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores?

All international students are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores and pass the ELPE exam unless you are eligible for a waiver because you:

  • attended all 4 undergraduate years at and were awarded a baccalaureate degree from an accredited US college or university, OR
  • are a native speaker of English from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom
I am an international student with a Master’s degree from a U.S. institution. Do I need to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores?

If you received your Master's degree from an accredited US college or university you may request waiver of the TOEFL or IELTS score. However, we prefer to receive the score. If admitted to the program you are required to pass the University’s English Language Proficiency Exam as required by the State of Texas.

What if my question is not answered here?

Please email us at gradmail@chem.tamu.edu