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Prospective Students

Interested in attending Graduate School?

The Department of Chemistry at Virginia Tech is a rapidly-growing and exciting place to learn and discover. Read below for information on our application timeline, required documents, and other details on our program.

Virginia Tech Chemistry student working in a lab.

Graduate Student Awards

Our graduate students apply for and regularly win national awards such as fellowships, travel awards to ACS meetings, and many others. In addition, each year we recognize several of our outstanding graduate students with departmental awards. These include:

  • Chemistry Graduate Student Teaching Awards
  • Chemistry Graduate Student Research Awards
  • Chemistry Graduate Student Service Awards
  • Chemistry Graduate Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards
  • William H. Starnes, Jr. and Sofia M. Starnes Endowed Chemistry Graduate Student Fellowship
  • Dr. Thomas C. Ward Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry

Beyond these awards, the Department of Chemistry also awards several Graduate School Doctoral Assistantship Awards each semester to outstanding students, and Department of Chemsitry graduate students also regularly win College of Science and University-level awards.

See the Student News page for descriptions of recent award winners.

Graduate Student Outcomes

Graduates from our Ph.D. program have gone on to jobs across academia; government labs and agencies; and industry. Some recent Ph.D.'s now work at several national labs, various academic institutions, and at companies including 3M, Celanese, Intel, Solvay, Merck, PP&G, Dow, Dupont, among many others.

Graduate Admissions Timeline

  • December 1, 2023: The Department of Chemistry will begin evaluating applicants and offering positions in our program with tuition remission and assistantship support. Consideration for internal awards and fellowships begins at this time, so we encourage interested students to apply early.
  • January 5, 2024: We will fully consider all Ph.D. applications received by this date. Applications received after this date will still be evaluated as space permits.
  • February 10, 2024: Virtual Graduate Visitation Day for accepted students
  • March 8-9, 2024: In-person Graduate Visitation Weekend for accepted students who are already in the US
  • April 15, 2024: Deadline for students to accept or decline offers of admission

You will need the following information for your application

  • Identify Research Areas of Interest
    Review Research Areas and Faculty Profiles here.
  • Complete Academic Record
    This includes a complete list of colleges attended, majors, and GPAs. The Graduate School at Virginia Tech rarely admits students with GPAs less than 3.0. Please note that they will calculate your GPA based on the most recent half of your undergraduate transcript (typically 60 credits). Exceptions can sometimes be made for students who have also earned significantly higher GPAs in graduate programs in the United States or Canada.
  • Transcripts
    A scanned PDF copy of an official, college-issued transcript
    A brief, one-page note describing any inconsistencies in your transcript (for example, a bad semester due to health issues) can be included with the scanned transcripts
  • Three References
    Names and email addresses of three (3) references who can provide strong letters of recommendation are required; the web-based application system will then ask those individuals to enter their recommendations online.
    Professors in your current department or at other schools where you have done undergraduate research are highly preferred.
    Email addresses of your references should be their professional email address.
  • GRE Scores
    Applicants are not required to submit scores for the General GRE or the Chemistry GRE exam. However, the application form offers the option to report these scores for prospective students who would like to include them.
  • English language proficiency exam (required for international students only):
    An English language proficiency exam is not required for international students who have completed or will complete a Bachelor's or Master's degree from an accredited college/university where English is the medium of instruction (inside or outside the United States).

    International applicants may submit scores from either the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. The Graduate School at Virginia Tech requires a minimum TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) score of 90 or a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS exam.
    Furthermore, TOEFL scores of 20 or greater in Listening, Writing, Speaking and Reading subsections are required. Exceptions are sometimes granted. For further details about the English requirement, please see the Graduate School's website here.
  • Resume or CV
    Upload either a "text only" CV or resume or a PDF of your CV or resume
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
    Upload a PDF of your Personal Statement, which should address in ~2 pages your motivation for applying to the Virginia Tech Department of Chemistry, career goals and how our graduate program will help you reach them, and any details on your academic or research background that you think might be important for the committee to consider.


The application for the Department of Chemistry Graduate Program is an online application. Please click here to access the form.

  • Complete the online application form
    U.S. applicants do not pay an application fee, but international students, including those located in the U.S., must pay an application fee of $75.
  • Fee waivers are handled at the graduate school level and not the departmental level. International students who paid the application fee and ultimately enroll at Virginia Tech in Chemistry PhD program can be reimbursed for this expense.
  • Enter your academic record
    Your academic record includes all colleges attended, majors, and GPAs. We will base our admission decision on these self-reported information, but we can withdraw our offer if we find that the official information differ significantly.
  • Scan and upload your official transcripts
    If you are offered and decide to accept admission to Virginia Tech, your institution will need to send sealed original transcripts to Virginia Tech.
  • Arrange for ETS to submit your official test scores if needed
    For students who wish to include GRE scores in their application, official GRE scores may be sent to the Virginia Tech Graduate School, institution code 5859. TOEFL scores must be sent for international applicants who have not completed a degree in the United States.
  • Advise your references to expect an invitation to submit recommendation letters
    While electronic references are strongly preferred, paper reference letters are also accepted.

Note to International Students: We may interview you by telephone, Skype, or another form of video chat to assess your English speaking and listening skills.

  • You will receive an initial notification of recommendation for admission
    The Department of Chemistry can only "recommend admission" to the Graduate School, which formally admits students. We are confident that the Graduate School will accept our recommendations for admission and will notify you immediately of our decision by email.
  • Your official notification letter from the Graduate School, your official letter from the Department Chair, and your Assistantship Agreement will come next.
    You will also receive the official letter from the Department Chair (different than the official admission letter from the Graduate School) along with the official, signed Assistantship Agreement. Your Assistantship Agreement will specify a 9-month GTA contract, but the Department of Chemistry guarantees continued support to all graduate students in Good Standing, including summers, either teaching or research assistantships, and full tuition remission for the academic year. This support continues for a maximum of 5 academic years and 4 summers in residence, as long as you are making satisfactory progress toward a doctoral degree. Please sign and return the official, signed Assistantship Agreement through the mail. International students may wish to use an expedited courier to ensure that the Agreement reaches us by April 15th.
  • Make plans to attend Visitation Weekend 
    Admitted students who are in the United States will be invited to join us for an enjoyable weekend in Blacksburg to showcase our programs. We will pay all your local and travel expenses within reason, including necessary airfares. Upon receiving your invitation, contact Joli Huynh (, 540-231-8225) to discuss details and arrange your travel.
  • What if I can't make Visitation Weekend?
    Admitted students within the United States who are unable to attend Visitation Weekend in March are invited to set up an individual visit by contacting Joli Huynh (, 540-231-8225).
  • The deadline to respond to the offer is April 15th
    We would of course like to hear from you as soon as you have decided to attend Virginia Tech. However, after April 15th, you surrender your financial aid package, and your offer admission will be withdrawn.