U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad


The U. S. National Chemistry Olympiad is a multi-tiered
chemistry competition, established as a way of identifying a team of
four students to represent the United States in the International Chemistry Olympiad competition.

(L-R) Stephen Li, Andrew Chen, Robert Kao, Derek Wang.
In 2014, Team USA won one gold and three silver medals at the 46th International Chemistry Olympiad competition in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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. It's inteneded 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 United States 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

2015 USNCO Schedule

  • Oct. 17, 2014–Feb. 28, 2015
    Registration open
  • March 1–31
    Local Competitions
    administered by ACS Local Sections
  • April 6
    Local Exam answers available
  • April 14–20
    National Exam
    for Local Section nominees
  • April 27
    National Exam Part I available
  • June 2–17
    Study Camp
    at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado
  • June 18
    2015 US team (Alpha Delta) announced
  • July 20–29
    47th International Chemistry Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan