Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Housed in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, GW’s graduate chemistry program fosters active learning through a research-based curriculum. Beginning with advanced coursework and training in the discipline as a whole and one or more selected subdisciplines, our award-winning graduate students engage in cutting-edge research alongside expert faculty. Research areas include proteomics, and bioanalytical methods development, synthetic medicinal chemistry and drug design, combustion, battery chemistry and renewable energy sources, laser and molecular spectroscopies, nano- and biomaterials, modeling, coordination chemistry and novel inorganic framework structures.

The Ph.D. program is designed to develop students who are able to plan and carry out original research in analytical, biochemical, inorganic, materials and organic or physical chemistry. Studies begin with core courses in focus areas, with students quickly moving on to join research groups that match their interests. Opportunities abound for research presentations, publications and award achievement. Collaborations with colleagues in medicine, engineering and nearby federal research laboratories—including the National Institutes of Health, Naval Research Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology—provide rich research experiences.

The M.S. program offers thesis and non-thesis tracks to prepare individuals for distinctive career or professional paths. All students take core courses and comprehensive examinations in the fields of analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.


The Chemistry Ph.D. and M.S. programs are STEM designated degree programs


Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:
Fall – January 15 (priority consideration for Ph.D.); February 1 (M.S. for fellowship consideration);
April 1  (M.S. and final deadline for Ph.D.) 
Spring – October 1 (M.S. Only)
Standardized test scores:
GRE general test required; GRE subject test recommended (institutional code 5246). GRE general test waived for applicants who hold a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 
Minimum scores for the PhD program are:
  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 68;
Minimum scores for the M.S. program are:
  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0; or
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 53
Prerequisite requirements:
A bachelors degree in chemistry or a related field.
Recommendations required:
M.S. - One (1) recommendation
Ph.D. - Two (2) recommendations
Prior academic records:
Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.
If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.
Statement of purpose:
In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application. If you are applying for an assistantship or fellowship, you should also describe any teaching experience you have had.
International applicants only:
Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.
For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.
Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052
Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday