Unit Bylaw Guidelines and Other Useful Information

Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B)


Here are links to bylaws for Divisions, Local Sections, and International Chemical Sciences Chapters.

Unit Bylaws – Status

This report includes the status of Division and Local Section bylaws in progress or with certification dates of 2003-present.

Guidelines and Information

C&B has developed language that is legal and consistent with the ACS Governing Documents (Bulletin 5): www.acs.org/bulletin5. The most frequently requested documents are available at the links below.

Standard bylaws review process - brief overview

The first step is to request a Word document of the unit's current bylaws. C&B will present options for updating the unit's bylaws, including recommending the expedited bylaw review process if the unit is not incorporated. The unit’s Executive Committee usually appoints one person to be in charge of proposed bylaw changes and to work with C&B. If necessary, they would go through their current bylaws, comparing them with language in the MODEL BYLAWS, and mark up proposed changes using Track Changes or a similar editing tool; the proposed bylaws are then sent to bylaws@acs.org, and if the expedited process is not used, a C&B Subcommittee does an in-depth review (about 3 months); C&B sends to officers the C&B Preliminary Report, which includes required and recommended changes. The Executive Committee makes the changes and their members vote according to their CURRENT bylaws. Results are sent back to C&B, which certifies the bylaws on behalf of Council. The entire process can take as little as a few months or up to a year or more, depending mostly on how long it takes the Division or Local Section to prepare the bylaws based on C&B's input, and then for the members to vote  and the results sent back to C&B.

Expedited bylaws review process - brief overview

C&B recently approved an EXPEDITED bylaw review process, which is not available to units that are incorporated. For eligible units, they must agree to adopt the MODEL BYLAWS as is, and give responses posed on the questions document; C&B then prepares a bylaws document based on the unit’s responses; the unit’s members would still have to VOTE on the proposed bylaw changes in accordance with the CURRENT bylaws. The unit would send the vote results and other required information back to C&B. If all is in order, C&B would certify the bylaws on behalf of Council.

C&B stands ready to review bylaw proposals before they are voted on. Time and expense for additional elections are thus conserved in those cases where the changes that are sought cannot be approved.

Contact us

If you have any questions or if you need the current version of your unit’s bylaws, contact us at

  • bylaws@acs.org for the Committee’s Staff Liaison, Barbara Polansky
  • 202-872-4071 or 800-227-5558, ext. 4071