Frequently Asked Questions
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 vary in between $24,500-$25,000 for spring/fall 2019 admission.
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 92 or higher. 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 assistantship positions, 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. Can I submit unoffical copies of GRE, TOEFL or IELTS score reports?
Yes. We accept unoffical copies of GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS score reports. Please upload those at the designated tab in the online application. Official copies of GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS scores are not required to make admissions decisions. However, official copies are required at the time of acceptance and admission.
8. 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.
3. Can I submit unoffical copies of acadmeic transcripts?
Yes, the online graduate application allows you to do this. Please scan and upload them to the online application at the designated tab(s). In addition, please send an offical copy of your transcript to the following address. Official transcripts are required to make admission decisions.
Dr. Indika U. Arachchige
Department of Chemistry
Virginia Commonwealth University
P.O. Box 842006
1001 West Main Street
Richmond, VA 23284
1. What are the Spring/Fall application deadlines for domestic and international students?
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 encouraged.
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. If this is not possible, those writing a reference letter can email the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
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. You can upload your CV to online application.
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 $70 application fee?
Applicants can pay online when they submit their application. Some fee waivers are available for domestic and international students.If interested, domestic students should contact Dr. Indika Arachchige at email@example.com with scanned copies of GRE (general) and academic transcript(s) to request fee waivers. International students should contact Dr. Indika Arachchige at firstname.lastname@example.org with scanned copies of GRE (general), TOEFL or IELTS reports, and academic transcript(s) to request fee waivers.
7. Is an external credential evaluation for international students who have studied outside the US required?
Yes, but the Department of Chemistry will take care of this requirement internally upon accepatance. It is not required for submission, only after acceptance. There is no cost for you.