Financial Aid
1. Does the department offer financial aid?

Yes, in the form of teaching assistantships (TA) and research assistantships (RA). Tuition is also taken care of when a student is a full time TA or RA in the Department of Chemistry. Students typically pay University fees.

2. What is the stipend for a TA position?

Teaching assistantships are available in the Chemistry Department. Research assistantships are also possible (usually in subsequent years and during the summer semesters) depending on the choice of a research advisor and the availability of external funds. Annual stipends (as of Fall 2014) ~ $23,000.

1. Is the GRE required and what is the minimum GRE score?

The general GRE is required. The GRE subject test is optional. Individual exceptions to this requirement may be considered for students with previous graduate degrees from US colleges/universities. The Department of Chemistry currently does not have a minimum score, but considering the competitive nature of our program, it’s advisable to prepare for this exam and obtain the best score possible. For international students, the combined score (verbal and quantitative reasoning sections) should be 300 or higher to be competitive for admission.

2. What is the minimum GPA?

“For admission to graduate study at VCU, we prefer a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.” In cases where the undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, additional factors that include performance in the last 60 hours of course work, GRE scores, and letters of reference, may be weighted more heavily in the admissions assessment. For students with earned graduate degrees from accredited institutions, the graduate GPA may be the primary basis for consideration.

3. What is the minimum TOEFL score?

We require a TOEFL score of 90 or higher (internet based). Scores must be current (within 2-years).

4. Can the IELTS substitute for the TOEFL? What is an acceptable score for the IELTS?

Satisfactory scores on the IELTS can be used as evidence of English proficiency, in some cases. The university minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.5, but Chemistry prefers an IELTS score of 7.0 or higher.

5. I come from an English speaking country/my education was in English; am I exempt from taking the TOEFL?

Students with American, English-speaking Canadian and U.K. baccalaureate degrees may be exempted with the approval of the department. All others must take the TOEFL.

6. Can I still be accepted even though I haven’t taken my GRE/TOEFL exams yet?

No . All students receiving a teaching assistantship position, in particular, must take the GRE and TOEFL (international students) prior to admission. Individual exceptions to the GRE requirement may be considered for students with previous graduate degrees from US colleges/universities and who have previously taken the GRE within the past 2-3 years.

7. What are the VCU codes for the TOEFL and GRE exams?

GRE= 5570 TOEFL=5570

1. Do I need transcripts/certificates from secondary school (high school)?


2. Can I submit unofficial copies of my transcripts?

Yes, the online graduate application allows you to do this. However, official final copies are required at the time of acceptance and admission.

Application Process
1. What is the Spring/Fall deadline for domestic?

For international? Application deadlines are particularly important for international students because of the amount of time required to process applications and the time needed to obtain visas. Students should apply well in advance of the international application deadlines. We suggest an application deadline of March 15 for Fall admission and October 15 for Spring admission. For domestic students, the deadlines are less critical. However, because we receive more applications then we have positions, early applications are recommended.

2. Can I email my letters of recommendation?

The preferred route to sending letters of recommendation is electronically by listing the names and email addresses of those who will provide you with a letter directly on the online graduate school application. In the event that this is not possible, those writing a reference letter can email the letter to

3. Do I have to have research experience to be considered?

No, although research experience is desirable and all undergraduate students are encouraged to take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities at their current college/university.

4. Do I have to include my resume/CV with my application?

No, but we do prefer you send us one.

5. Do I have to know who I want to be my advisor when I arrive?

No. During orientation, incoming students will have a chance to meet the faculty and listen to 10-minute research presentations. In October, the Department hosts a poster session where all graduate students will present a poster of their research. First year graduate students are required to attend the poster session, which gives them an opportunity to learn more about the diversity of different projects on-going in the Department. Research advisors are normally chosen in the time period that begins after the poster session and before winter break.

6. How can I pay the $65 application fee?

Applicants can pay online when they submit their application. Some fee waivers are available for domestic and international students. International students should email Dr Arachchige at; domestic students email Dr Maryanne Collinson at

7. Do you accept students in the Spring semester?

Yes, we do. We just tend to have fewer Teaching Assistantship positions available. Competitive applications can be deferred and considered for the Fall semester, if no TA positions are available.

8. Is an external credential evaluation for international students who have studied outside the US required?

Yes, but Prospective international students who can not afford external credential evaluations may request waivers by first submitting the chemistry pre-application form and then by emailing Dr. Maryanne Collinson at