U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad

Chemistry Olympiad

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad is a multi-tiered chemistry competition. The top four students of the national competition represent the United States in the annual International Chemistry Olympiad.

USA Team Earns Top Practical Score, One Gold and Three Silver Medals at
47th International Chemistry Olympiad

2015 USA Olympiad Team
Left to Right: B. Cai, J. Ong, D. Wang, S. Boominathan,
Photo by Kelli Slunt

U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad program proudly announce the success of the Alpha Theta Team at the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad competition, which concluded July 29, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. David Wang of Monta Vista High School, CA, won the seventh highest ranking gold medal as well as the highest score in the lab practical examination. Soorajnath Boominathan of Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, OK, Bryce Cai of Barrington High School, IL, and Janice Ong of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, VA, each earned a silver medal. The USA Team competed against 286 students from 74 countries. Congratulations Team USA for this great achievement!

Study Camp will not be held in 2016

Due to security concerns for U.S. citizens traveling to Pakistan, the ACS is adopting the reccommendations of the U.S. Department of State warning U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan.
The Study Camp will not be held in 2016.
The USNCO will conduct the Local and National exams as usual in order to motivate students to learn chemistry and recognize high level of academic work.

How to Participate in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) program is a chemistry competition for high school students. The purpose of the competition is to stimulate young people to achieve excellence in chemistry. The American Chemical Society (ACS) has sponsored the program since 1984. 

Local Chemistry Olympiad Competition
The local competition is open to all high school students. ACS Local Sections use various methods to choose nominees for the national exam. Students can review past Local Exams to study for their local competition.

National Chemistry Olympiad Exam
The national exam involves three parts administered to more than 1,000 students. Students can use past National Exams to prepare. The 20 top-scoring students are chosen to attend a study camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA).

Study Camp
The 20 top scoring students from the National Exam spend two weeks at the USAFA study camp to undergo rigorous training. Based on their performance four students are chosen to represent the U.S. at the International Chemistry Olympiad


  • Students must be U.S. citizens or legal, permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) to take the U.S. national examination.
  • High school students who will graduate no earlier than Spring of the year that they participate in the competition are eligible.
  • Students must be under the 20 years of age on the first of July of the year of the competition.

    Read more about competition rules and eligibility