Prospective Student FAQ


You will need to submit an application through the KU Graduate Admissions application website.  All supporting documents will be needed for the application to be considered for admission.  Please refer to our department's "How to Apply" page for a full explanation of the required application materials.

While we do accept applications for Spring entry terms, our program is designed for Fall entry and we highly encourage students to apply for the Fall 2024 semester.   We admit a very small number of students in the Spring semester – the option is primarily there for students whose previous Fall admissions needed to be deferred a semester, usually due to arrival delays due to visa issues.  That being said, we will still consider any application and depending on the circumstances, the department might be open to considering a Spring entry.

If you are interested in an application fee waiver request, please complete the Application Fee Waiver Request Form located on the Graduate Admissions website.  Before submitting a fee waiver request, you must first start a graduate admission application. You are encouraged to complete your admission application before submitting your fee waiver request. This will ensure that your references have plenty of time to upload their letters of recommendation prior to our priority application deadline of December 1st.

The University of Kansas GRE and TOEFL code is 6871.

Yes, we strongly advise students to use the online submission site to ensure that all parts of the application have been submitted, including letters of recommendation and official test scores and transcripts. 

As part of the state requirements for GTA positions, applicants who are non-native speakers of English will need to be interviewed by at least 3 departmental representatives to verify English proficiency.  Interviews will only be scheduled after the applicant's completed application has been submitted, reviewed, and an admissions offer has been extended.  The department will reach out to you about scheduling these interviews, which will be conducted over Skype or Zoom.

We do not require that you secure a faculty member before you apply.  We do not have our first-year students select their research advisor until the end of their first semester, after they have had a chance to interview multiple faculty members and settle on their research interests.

If you apply by the priority application deadline of December 1, then you should receive an admissions decision by mid-January.

If you apply later than the priority application deadline, but before the application closes, then you will receive an admissions decision by April 15.  The University of Kansas recognizes the April 15 date set by the Council of Graduate Schools as the date by which offers of acceptance and financial support must be finalized.  Thus, admissions decisions are typically finalized in mid-April.  Signed letters from the Department and the University Graduate Program constitute an official acceptance


Lawrence, KS is a vibrant college town with a lively atmosphere filled with restaurants, bars, galleries, shops and music venues.  It is only a short 45 minute drive from Kansas City, a major metropolitan city.  Lawrence, KS is affordable, safe, and experiences all four seasons.  Rolling Stone named Lawrence as one of the “best li’l college towns” in the U.S., and Lawrence has appeared on multiple "Best College Towns" lists  (College Ranker, Matador Network, Thrillist, American Institute for Economic Research).

All entering graduate students in the Department of Chemistry who are making satisfactory progress towards the degree will receive an annual stipend of $26,000 either from a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) for at least 5 years in the program.  Tuition support will be provided either by the University or by the student's mentor.  The stipend is quite competitive relative to other institutions considering the low cost of living in Lawrence, Kansas.  Approximately 92% of our students graduate debt-free; the remainder graduate with debt less than $10,000.

Academics: Courses, Teaching, Research

Our average time-to-degree is 5.6 years.


During the first semester, students will take 2 introductory courses from different divisions to meet their distribution requirement, as well as required courses in Lab Safety and Responsible Scholarship.  They will then take at least 4 advanced courses, decided upon by the student and their faculty advisor as part of the student's "Individual Curriculum Plan".

Please refer to the "PhD Degree Requirements" page for a full explanation of the coursework requirements.

After completing all their required lecture coursework, each student will conduct an oral comprehensive exam with both an oral and a written component.  This exam is typically taken by the end of the third year.  More details about the comprehensive exam can be found on our curriculum page.  After passing a comprehensive exam, students become “doctoral candidates”.

PhD students typically work as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) during the Fall and Spring of their first year.  After their first academic year, students will work as either Graduate Research  Assistants (GRAs) or GTAs, depending on the needs of their lab, their PIs grant availability, and the teaching needs of the department.  The positions will be decided semester-by-semester.  These positions are guaranteed for the Fall, Spring, and Summer of the student's first five years in the program, provided the student remains in good academic standing.

During the first semester, all incoming PhD students are expected to interview at least five faculty members before officially joining a group.  Before the second semester, students will indicate their top 3 advisor choices and the department will assign faculty advisors to students based on student preferences and group availability.

Research group availability varies from year to year.  Your best bet would be to reach out to the faculty member directly to inquire about whether or not they are taking students during the current application cycle.

To view each individual research group's poster summarizing their research, please visit the "Research Areas at a Glance" page. 

Competitive Fellowships that provide support for Graduate Study are available for outstanding student.  For more information, please visit the websites for the individual programs:

The Self Graduate Fellowship is nomination-only, meaning students cannot apply to it directly.  Each year we select a few prospective students and current 1st year students to nominate for the Fellowship.

Students in our program who join the Chemical Biology Training Grant or NSF Traineeship typically do so in their second or third year.

Yes, the department and the university has multiple travel funds available that students can apply for.  Research mentors may also provide funding support for travel to conferences.