Application Deadlines and Requirements

The typical student in the Master of Chemical Sciences program will hold an undergraduate degree in chemistry, engineering, mathematics or the equivalent. An adequate undergraduate background will vary, depending on area of concentration and will include some combination of coursework in chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics and/or engineering.

At a minimum, applicants will need to have completed two terms of calculus, two terms of introductory chemistry and the equivalent of two terms of organic chemistry with associated labs, and two terms of physics. Given these requirements, a degree in chemistry, physics or biology would be ideal preparation.

Your application will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Academic record
  • Work or laboratory experience
  • Career objectives and reasons for choosing the program at Penn
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, if applicable

Masters of Chemical Sciences application deadline

New Master of Chemical Sciences program student cohorts are admitted for fall terms only. Applications are handled in two rounds: priority admission and standard admission. We encourage applicants to submit before the December 15 priority deadline for a faster enrollment decision. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:

Term of Entry Deadline How to Apply
Fall 2025
  • Priority application deadline: December 15, 2024
  • Regular deadline: April 15, 2025 (rolling admissions review)
    International applicants should submit their application by March 1, 2025, to allow time to obtain visas.
Applications open on September 16, 2024

Application materials checklist

Since all required supporting documents are submitted through the online application system, hardcopy material other than official transcripts or letters of recommendation will not be accepted.* Please urge your recommenders to submit their letters through the online system. Please note that all application materials become the property of the University of Pennsylvania and will not be returned. Remember to retain a personal copy of your application.

*Unsolicited material will not be used for review.

Applications must contain all of the following in order to be considered complete:

  • Completed online application
  • Current resume
  • Nonrefundable $75 application fee
  • Application essays (details below)
  • Unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary school attended uploaded through the online application system 
  • Two or three letters of recommendation (details below)
  • Standardized test scores (details below)

Essay questions

Your application will include essays addressing the following topics. (Please compile all essays together in one document.)

  • Please describe your research interests in chemical sciences. Be as specific as you can about the area in which you plan to concentrate (i.e., biological, environmental, inorganic, organic, physical and/or materials chemistry) and your reasons for wishing to study this area of research at Penn. 
  • Describe your career background and development, and any further insight that you think may help the reviewers understand your academic and scientific progress.
  • How do you expect to apply the expertise you would gain in the Master of Chemical Sciences program?

Letters of recommendation

Each applicant is required to submit two letters of recommendation, but you may elect to submit an optional third letter. Submitted recommendations are required to be on letterhead with an original or electronic signature. Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and/or academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to study chemical sciences at the advanced level. If you have research experience or have worked in a laboratory setting, a letter from your research supervisor or mentor is highly desirable. Recommendations may be submitted online (preferred) or by mail. For online recommendations, please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application.

Standardized test scores

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional for all applicants. The GRE Chemistry Subject Test is also optional. If you decide to submit your test results, request that your scores for the GRE test be forwarded to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies office, using ETS institutional code 2986.

A strong command of the English language is necessary for successful study at Penn. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. Please note that the TOEFL is rarely waived; therefore, we encourage applicants to take the test to avoid delays in completing the application. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are: 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted and the minimum score for consideration is a 7. You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application.

Please note, the College of Liberal and Professional Studies is accepting at-home GRE and TOEFL test scores through the 2023-2024 admissions year. Please visit the specific standardized testing websites for exam options in your home country.

Upon review of an applicant's file, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to request TOEFL scores.

International transcripts from institutions outside the United States

Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the US are required to have a course-by-course credential evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) performed by an outside evaluation service. Credential evaluations will be reviewed by our administrators, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The following evaluation service is acceptable:

World Education Services Inc. (WES): WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of your education and list each of your courses along with the equivalent US marks and credit. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) and request that WES send your evaluation to Penn College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions. The school can be found by searching the University of Pennsylvania and then selecting College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The evaluation becomes an official academic record and sole property of the University upon its receipt. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, please visit the WES website.

Please note that this service charges a fee for the evaluation.

Theoretical and technical expertise

A blend of core concentration courses and electives allows students to create an individualized academic schedule.

Want to know more?

Join us for an upcoming virtual information session to hear more about the program, curriculum, and application process.

Student and alumni stories

“I was attracted to the program because I wanted to do research on my own and write my own thesis.”
- Jungmi Park, MCS ’19