FAQ | LSU Chemistry


Frequently Asked Questions

When are applications due?
Deadlines are listed on the Application Process website. Earlier applications are more competitive in our process. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible to have the best chance of acceptance. 


Do you offer graduate assistantships or other forms of financial support?
Yes. Essentially all students accepted into our Department are offered Assistantships in the form of a graduate assistantship. There are additional fellowships available for competitive applicants. The yearly salary also includes a full tuition waiver.


Do I need to pay the application fee?
Yes. However, we do offer fee waivers for domestic applicants. Application Fee costs are found online.


Where should I send the completed application?
The application form should be submitted online. Letters of recommendation can also be submitted online or by mail. Transcripts should be sent directly to our department. The mailing address is:

Graduate Studies Office
Department of Chemistry 
232 Choppin Hall 
Louisiana State University 
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803, USA


What is needed for the application? 
You must send in:

  • Completed Online Application form
  • Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate schools attended. We require official transcripts from all your colleges before we can formally admit you, but for initial considerations we can work with photocopies of official forms.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation from people who know your research and education experience. The letters can be included in a signed and sealed envelope along with your online application, or they can be e-mailed to gradchem@lsu.edu. If you choose to mail them, please send them to: Graduate Studies Office, Department of Chemistry, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803, USA.
    * NOTE: We do NOT use recommendation forms, only letters.
  • GRE scores (including Verbal and Quantitative). You must arrange for the GRE and TOEFL scores to be sent directly to us by the testing agency. Depending on the date you take the exams, we are willing to consider photocopies of official reports for initial consideration, but you must arrange for an official report before we can formally admit you. 
  • TOEFL scores, if you are from a foreign country with no degree from an English speaking college.
  • CV is helpful, but optional 


Should I submit the Immunization Form?
The Department of Chemistry does not want and does not consider the immunization form when selecting who to admit. Louisiana law does require a completed Certificate of Immunization filed before the end of your first year here. But getting and paying for a doctor can be a substantial burden for some, so most applicants wait until they arrive at LSU and have the Certificate filled out by the local health group.


Should I submit an Affidavit of Support? 
No; the Department of Chemistry supports all Ph.D. students, so this form is irrelevant for our department. The form was included in the Graduate School's application packet because other departments need it. Our department does not consider the Affidavit of Support in choosing who to admit, so there is no need to send this in.  


What are typical maximum and minimum scores for admission?
We consider the total application package in admissions decisions. This means that we will consider persons with lower GRE Scores if all the other components of their application are strong, i.e. undergraduate course performance, letters of recommendation, etc.

GPA minima vary with university and country of the college as other places have different systems. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550, which translates to 213 on the computerized version, or 80 on the iBT internet version. Please note that the TOEFL minimum is absolute. Alternatively, the IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) minimum score to be considered for admission is 6.5. As previously stated, we are looking at the whole application, so a low score in one place can be made up for with high scores or good research experience elsewhere.


What are we looking for when admitting students?
We are looking for evidence of content knowledge and research aptitude.  In part, this will come from grades and test scores. However, work in a research group, published papers, or independent research are strong positive factors. In your letters of recommendation, we are looking for evidence that you can think on your own, understand what research is all about, and are capable of advancing from excellence in undergraduate coursework to innovation in the lab. 

We consider all the submitted material to make an overall evaluation. This means that if your application is somewhat poor in one respect, this can be made up for elsewhere. We have no bias against non-traditional students (i.e., those not applying directly out of a four-year undergraduate program), as often maturity and experience make for the best students.


Do I need to be a chemistry major in college to apply to the LSU Department of Chemistry?
Our graduate students typically will have finished a B.S. degree in Chemistry, but we do have graduate students from non-Chemistry majors. We have minimal coursework requirements; however, we take other factors into consideration. The course work background recommended for incoming graduate students is essentially the minimum required for a B.S. or B.A. degree as certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS).  When in doubt, you should contact the Graduate Studies Office


When should I hear about my application?
We try to evaluate applications as soon as they are complete. In most cases, for fall admission, we will begin to make decisions shortly after the Priority Deadline. You are welcome to enquire about the status of your application at any time by contacting the Graduate Studies Office.


How many students do you accept each year?
We currently have ~150 students in our doctoral program, and we admit 25-35 per year into our doctoral program. We rarely admit students into our M.S. (thesis) degree program. We will consider students interested in the M.S. (coursework) degree program.


What duties and time commitments are required for a Graduate Assistant?
Students are expected to work 20 hours per week for their assistantships. Teaching Assistants (TAs) may teach undergraduate chemistry labs as well as grade and proctor for undergraduate chemistry courses. Research Assistants (RAs) work in the research lab of their major professor, generally pursuing study towards their own Ph.D. thesis.


What is the 'University Code' for reporting GRE and TOEFL scores?
LSU's University Code is 6373. For reporting GRE scores, our Department code is 0301. For reporting TOEFL scores, our department code is 62.


Whom should I contact if I have more questions? 
Please send all inquiries to gradchem@lsu.edu

Contact Us

109 Choppin Hall



Other Chemistry Graduate Links:

Main Graduate Page

Application Process


PhD Milestones