For Applicants to the PhD Program

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Do I need to submit GRE scores?  No, GRE scores may be submitted, but are not required.
  2. If I’m admitted, do I need to apply for financial support?  No, all students accepted into the program are provided with financial support for the duration of their studies, in the form of either a Teaching or Research Assistantship (often a combination of the two).
  3. Do I have to pay for tuition and health insurance?  The stipend provided by assistantships easily covers the cost of living in Columbia.  Tuition and Health Insurance are also covered as part of the assistantships and are not paid from your stipend.
  4. Can I apply for an Application Fee waiver?  Yes, you may.  For instructions on how to receive such a Waiver, please contact our Admissions Coordinator, Jerry Brightwell at:  Please have the re: line of the email read: APPLICATION FEE WAIVER REQUEST. Please be patient, it may take a few days for us to reply.
  5. What are the Application Deadlines?  We do not have formal Application Deadlines.  We consider applications as they are completed.  However, for the best chance of admission for the Fall Semester (August start), it is best to have your application completed by Feb 15.  January admits should have applications completed by October 15.
  6. Do you admit students in January to start in the Spring Semester?  Yes, we do admit a small number of students to start in the Spring Semester (January start).  Those who wish to start in the Spring Semester (January) should complete their applications by October 15.  If limited spaces are available for January admission, we may ask whether you wish to be considered for the typical Fall Semester admission in the following August.
  7. Do you offer a Masters Degree in Chemistry?  In general, the answer is “no”.  We do confer a small number of Masters Degrees, but our entering students are seeking, and graduate with, the PhD degree.
  8. I’m an international student… do I need to take a language exam?  Yes, if you come from a country where English is not the predominant first language, you will need to submit a language exam score (TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo).
  9. What is the institution code for submitting language scores?  The ETS code for sending TOEFL score is 6875
  10. Do I need to identify my research advisor (or research project) before I join the PhD program?  No!  The online application form will ask about your area(s) of interest (including possible advisors), but students choose their research advisor at the end of their first semester in the program, after attending faculty research presentations and speaking with faculty one-on-one.  The first research projects undertaken by the student are generally suggested by the faculty mentor, based on productive lines of ongoing work in the laboratory.