Chemistry Graduate Program - Application Process
Thank you for your interest in LSU Chemistry’s PhD program. Your application must be submitted online to the LSU Graduate School (http://gradapply.lsu.edu). If you carefully read the information under the headings below, you will likely find most of the information you need. However, please address any inquiries to the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies (Dr. Caroline Schneider) in the Department of Chemistry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Process and Timeline
We admit about 25 students each Fall and look forward to receiving your application. Some years we are able to accept a few additional students in the Spring semester. When deciding to whom we extend offers, we consider the quality of the applicants as well as the areas of need in the Department (i.e., how many new students each division of chemistry is in a position to support in the year-to-come).
There are a number of aspects to your application that we consider. We look at each applicant holistically. This means that a strong performance in one aspect of your application (e.g., a strong letter from your undergraduate research advisor) can compensate for a weakness in another area (e.g., GRE scores). We do have some expectations in terms of the classes you have taken and your grades, but we also want to know about your potential as a researcher and your scientific aptitude and aspirations.
Most of our graduate students have a BS in Chemistry. We do, however, welcome applications from non-traditional students. In order for us to offer you financial support as a teaching assistant, non-Chemistry majors must meet the minimum requirements for a bachelor’s degree, as certified by the American Chemical Society. We are also open to applicants who are not applying directly out of a four-year undergraduate program; maturity and work experience usually make for strong, focused graduate students.
We encourage you to submit your application materials as early as possible. We will begin to make offers to domestic and international students after the January 15 deadline.
We continue to accept applications from domestic students through May 15th, subject to positions remaining open in the program.
January 15th (for domestic and international students)
March 15th (regular deadline for domestic students)
May 15th (deadline for late admissions for domestic students, dependent on remaining availability of places in the program)
October 15th (for all applicants, dependent on availability of places in the program)
Online submission of documents is via the LSU Graduate School.
Documents can be submitted as email attachments and sent to email@example.com.
Hard copy documents can be mailed to:
Department of Chemistry
Components of the Application
You will need to fill out biographical information including your name, contact details, date of birth, citizenship, etc. Please also enter in your undergraduate institution(s) and GPA (or other grade average if international) under the Educational History tab. Be sure to select your first and second choices for the areas of Chemistry that you are interested in studying under the Departmental Information tab: Analytical, Biological, Catalysis, Computational, Environmental, Inorganic, Macromolecular, Materials, Nanoscience, Organic, Physical, Polymer, Synthetic.
Statement of Purpose
We cannot tell you exactly what to write, because the statement is going to vary tremendously from one student to another. The members of our Graduate Admissions Committee want to get to know you a little as a person and a scientist. We would like to hear how and why you want to pursue a PhD in Chemistry; tell us about people and experiences that were influential in this decision. Why do you think LSU is a good place for you to work toward this advanced degree? What kind of research interests you? Name 2-3 LSU Chemistry faculty members whose research interests you and what excites you about their science. Do you have ideas about where you would like your career to continue after graduate school? You should tell us whatever you think is relevant to your pursuit of graduate studies in chemistry and aim for a statement that is 400-800 words.
Enter your scores for the verbal (V) and quantitative (Q) tests and the date that you took the tests online. We do not require the subject test. For initial consideration, we will review scanned/copied versions of the results. However, we must receive an official report prior to admission.
We require transcripts from your undergraduate institution/s and any institutions where you have pursued graduate studies to-date. Unofficial versions (scanned, copied) are acceptable for the purposes of reviewing your application. However, we will require official transcripts before we can formally admit you. Inherent in your transcripts are your grade point averages (GPAs). We realize that these vary from school to school and country to country. The LSU Graduate School requires a GPA of 3.0. If your GPA is slightly lower than 3.0 but all other aspects of your application are strong, we can petition to have you admitted on academic probation. You will come off probation, providing you achieve a 3.0 GPA during your first semester at LSU.
Letters of Recommendation
We require 3 letters from people with whom you have interacted professionally, known in an organization, taken a class, or performed research. You should enter the names and contact details of the people and the system will request a letter. You should have discussed your graduate school plans with these people, so that they are prepared to receive this request and have agreed to write on your behalf. Unlike many schools we do not have a form to fill out. Instead, ask these people to address the following:
• How do you know the applicant and how long have you known them?
• If you have had relevant interactions, assess the applicant’s academic ability relative to other students you have taught and their preparedness for graduate coursework
• If you have worked with the applicant in a research and/or laboratory capacity, please tell us about their skills, accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses and potential to conduct independent research.
• Describe the applicant’s demeanor, ability to work individually, as a team member, aptitude for teaching etc.
The online submission process allows you to upload documents other than those required and described above. Here are some examples of things you might like to upload for us to read:
• Curriculum vitae
• Statement of prior teaching and/or research experience
• Copy of a publication or research report
We offer a fee waiver for all domestic students.
If you are from a foreign country and your native language is not English, you are required to provide your score from a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the paper-based exam (213 on the computer-based, or 79 on the internet-based exam). The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 6.5. For reporting TOEFL scores, LSU’s university code is 6373; our Department code is 62.
Other Stuff (FAQs)
Does LSU Chemistry have an MS program?
We rarely admit students into our MS (thesis) program but will consider students interested in an MS (coursework) degree program.
Our Department guarantees 5.5 years of support to all incoming students who are qualified to teach in our undergraduate laboratory courses. The current, standard stipend for the 2017-18 academic year is $24,000 plus a full tuition waiver. Additional fellowships are available for competitive applicants.
The LSU Chemistry admissions process does not require this form. For admitted students, LSU does require a completed Certificate of Immunization filed before you can enroll in courses. The LSU Proof of Immunization Compliance form may be completed prior to moving to Baton Rouge, or students can wait and take care of this requirement via the local health group once they are at LSU during the orientation period.
Affidavit of Support
Some graduate programs require assurance of financial support as a criterion for admission. This is not relevant to students who receive a stipend from LSU Chemistry.