Application Process

Thank you for your interest in LSU Chemistry’s PhD program.  Your application must be submitted online to the LSU Graduate School. If you carefully read the information under the headings below, you will likely find most of the information you need.  However, please address any inquiries to Assistant Director of Graduate Studies Ciera Gasery in the Department of Chemistry at

Process and Timeline

We admit about 25 students each Fall and look forward to receiving your application.  Some years we are able to accept a few additional students in the Spring semester.   When deciding to whom we extend offers, we consider the quality of the applicants as well as the areas of need in the Department (i.e., how many new students each division of chemistry is in a position to support in the year-to-come).

There are a number of aspects to your application that we consider.  We look at each applicant holistically.  This means that a strong performance in one aspect of your application (e.g., a strong letter from your undergraduate research advisor) can compensate for a weakness in another area (e.g., GRE scores).  We do have some expectations in terms of the classes you have taken and your grades, but we also want to know about your potential as a researcher and your scientific aptitude and aspirations. 

Most of our graduate students have a BS in Chemistry.  We do, however, welcome applications from non-traditional students.   In order for us to offer you financial support as a teaching assistant, non-Chemistry majors must meet the minimum requirements for a bachelor’s degree, as certified by the American Chemical Society.  We are also open to applicants who are not applying directly out of a four-year undergraduate program;  maturity and work experience usually make for strong, focused graduate students.

We encourage you to submit your application materials as early as possible. We will begin to make offers to domestic and international students after the January 15 deadline.

We continue to accept applications from domestic students through June 30, subject to positions remaining open in the program.

Online submission of documents is via the LSU Graduate School.

Documents can be submitted as email attachments and sent to

Hard copy documents can be mailed to:

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

Components of the Application

You will need to fill out biographical information including your name, contact details, date of birth, citizenship, etc. Please also enter in your undergraduate institution(s) and GPA (or other grade average if international) under the Educational History tab. Be sure to select your first and second choices for the areas of Chemistry that you are interested in studying under the Departmental Information tab: Analytical, Biological, Catalysis, Computational, Environmental, Inorganic, Macromolecular, Materials, Nanoscience, Organic, Physical, Polymer, Synthetic. 

We cannot tell you exactly what to write, because the statement is going to vary tremendously from one student to another. The members of our Graduate Admissions Committee want to get to know you a little as a person and a scientist. We would like to hear how and why you want to pursue a PhD in Chemistry; tell us about people and experiences that were influential in this decision. Why do you think LSU is a good place for you to work toward this advanced degree? What kind of research interests you? Name 2-3 LSU Chemistry faculty members whose research interests you and what excites you about their science. Do you have ideas about where you would like your career to continue after graduate school? You should tell us whatever you think is relevant to your pursuit of graduate studies in chemistry and aim for a statement that is 400-800 words. 

GRE Scores are no longer required for admission.

We require transcripts from your undergraduate institution/s and any institutions where you have pursued graduate studies to-date. Unofficial versions (scanned/copied) are acceptable for the purposes of reviewing your application. However, we will require official transcripts before we can formally admit you. Inherent in your transcripts are your grade point averages (GPAs). We realize that these vary from school to school and country to country. The LSU Graduate School requires a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. If your GPA is slightly lower than 3.0 but all other aspects of your application are strong, we can petition to have you admitted on academic probation. You will come off probation, providing you achieve a 3.0 GPA during your first semester at LSU.

  • You should upload your transcript/s online (preferred)
  • You can also send us your unofficial transcripts as an e-mail attachment (acceptable)
  • You can also send a hard copy of transcript/s to us via mail (acceptable)

We require 3 letters from people with whom you have interacted professionally, known in an organization, taken a class, or performed research. You should enter the names and contact details of the people and the system will request a letter. You should have discussed your graduate school plans with these people, so that they are prepared to receive this request and have agreed to write on your behalf. Unlike many schools we do not have a form to fill out. Instead, ask these people to address the following:

How do you know the applicant and how long have you known them?
If you have had relevant interactions, assess the applicant’s academic ability relative to other students you have taught and their preparedness for graduate coursework
If you have worked with the applicant in a research and/or laboratory capacity, please tell us about their skills, accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses and potential to conduct independent research.
Describe the applicant’s demeanor, ability to work individually, as a team member, aptitude for teaching etc.

  • Your letters writers should upload these online (preferred)
  • They can also send us their letters as an e-mail attachment (acceptable)
  • They can also send a hard copy of their letter to us via mail (acceptable)
  • You should not see or handle your letters of recommendation.

The online submission process allows you to upload documents other than those required and described above. Here are some examples of things you might like to upload for us to read:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Statement of prior teaching and/or research experience
  • Copy of a publication or research report

We offer a fee waiver for all domestic students.

If you are from a foreign country and your native language is not English, you are required to provide your score from a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the paper-based exam (213 on the computer-based, or 79 on the internet-based exam). The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 6.5. For reporting TOEFL scores, LSU’s university code is 6373; our Department code is 62.

Frequently Asked Questions

We rarely admit students into our MS (thesis) program but will consider students interested in an MS (coursework) degree program.

Our Department guarantees 5.5 years of support to all incoming students who are qualified to teach in our undergraduate laboratory courses. The current standard stipend for the 2023-24 academic year is $30,667 plus a full tuition waiver for a Graduate Assistantship. LSU also covers 75% of student health insurance premium costs. Additional fellowships and scholarships are available for competitive applicants. No separate application is required. | Learn more

The LSU Chemistry admissions process does not require this form. For admitted students, LSU does require a completed Certificate of Immunization filed before you can enroll in courses. The LSU Proof of Immunization Compliance form may be completed prior to moving to Baton Rouge, or students can wait and take care of this requirement via the local health group once they are at LSU during the orientation period.

Louisiana Culture

Baton Rouge is cradled between beautiful Atchafalaya Basin and the city of New Orleans, with trips to either location being a little over an hour away. New Orleans is an international tourist destination with professional sports teams, numerous music festivals, and an international airport.

Activities and places to visit in and around Baton Rouge showcase the past as well as the present lifestyle of this unique region. With its traditions and festivals that celebrate the life of the land and water, southern Louisiana is a place like no other.

LSU students come from all over the world. Regardless of who you are, where you come from or where you want to go from here, you will be valued and embraced as part of the LSU community. We invite you to come and experience our department and city, where world-class science is done in one of the most interesting places that the United States has to offer.

Cost of Living in Baton Rouge

Comfortable and affordable living is available across Louisiana’s Capital Region. In 2017, with a total composite score of 95.2, the Council for Community and Economic Research ranked Baton Rouge well below the national average for overall cost of living.

To learn more about living in Louisiana, visit Where We Live


Affidavit of Support

Some graduate programs require assurance of financial support as a criterion for admission. This is not relevant to students who receive a stipend from LSU Chemistry.