Committee on Professional Training

The Committee on Professional Training (CPT) promotes excellence in postsecondary chemistry education and provides leadership to ACS in the professional training of chemists.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect (DIR)

CPT recognizes the importance of diversity, inclusion, and respect as an integral part of undergraduate education. To address this, we have prepared a new section of the ACS guidelines that addresses this current shortcoming. We would like feedback from the community on the contents of this new section.   

CPARS  Tutorials are now available!

COVID-19 Update: Our concern is for the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty in our community. Read our statements below on the changing educational landscape due to COVID-19, including information about virtual labs, certification, and pass/fail grading.

Statements on the changing educational landscape due to COVID-19

Approved by CPT, June 2020

Proposal to Adjust ACS Guidelines for Approved Programs: A response to COVID-19 - COVID-19 is bringing change and disruption to education practices worldwide, including ACS-approved programs offering bachelor’s degrees in chemistry. Social distancing, new safety measures, flexibility for those that have fallen ill, and economic hardship will affect how we train our students to become successful in the COVID 19 era. As a result, the ACS Committee on Professional Training (CPT) is considering a proposal to temporarily adjust the Guidelines so that (1) chemistry majors can flexibly receive training that prepares them for a successful career, (2) chemistry majors do not extend their graduation time,  and (3) programs offering bachelor degrees in chemistry have the flexibility to continue their pursuit for sustained academic excellence.

Lab Skills:  CPT members have compiled a list of the laboratory skills typically covered in the undergraduate curriculum that require physical presence in a laboratory. If these skills are addressed in your in person class, students should develop these skills through hands-on experiences. In addition to complying with OSHA and CDC requirements, best practices for laboratory safety, as described in the Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety in Academic Institutions, should be employed.


Virtual Labs: Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and as such the health and well-being of students and faculty members in our community is paramount. Many of you have reached out to the ACS Committee on Professional Training to inquire about virtual labs, lab hours, and concerns about your status as an approved institution. The use of virtual labs will be allowed for institutions that have chosen to move all instruction online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and will not affect the approval status of a program. Once institutions revert back to face-to-face instructions, all laboratory experiences must be performed face-to-face as well.

"Kitchen" Laboratory Experiences: In general, institutional decisions surrounding the best way to offer laboratory experiences when face-to-face instruction is not possible should comply with all safety regulations and be focused on safe and effective student learning. These types of activities would not affect your approval status unless they were used after face-to-face instruction resumed.

Certification: Department chairs can still certify students who were on the path to completing the approved curriculum even if those students were not able to complete the coursework due to the move to virtual instruction.

Pass/Fail Grading: Because there isn’t a stipulation in the ACS guidelines about systems used for grading, we encourage institutions to make the best decision for their students. Students currently on that path to completing the approved curriculum who graduate with pass/fail grades can still be certified by the department chairperson. The department’s ACS approval will not be affected.

Our concern is for the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty at approved institutions. We understand that this is a stressful time for faculty and students and want to do what we can to assist during this time of uncertainty. Please feel free to reach out to us at

Announcing the Chemistry Program Approval & Review System (CPARS)

  • UPDATE: Instructions for accessing CPARS are now available. 
  • To access CPARS, users will need an ACS ID and password. Each user will need a unique log in. Create an ACS ID. Please note that you do not have to be an ACS member to get an ACS ID.

CPARS Training

Tutorials, sample reports, and user guides for all aspects of CPARS and the overall approval process.

Say YES to a future with the American Chemical Society

Are you graduating this year with an ACS Certified Degree?

Is your academic institution approved by the ACS?

If you answered YES to both questions, your Chemistry Department's Chairperson has information you need about a special 3-year ACS membership.

Department chairs can get more information on this offer by contacting us at

Upcoming Events

  • Virtual department chair "luncheon" (Summer 2020) Join us for a virtual gathering to discuss inclusive education through the lens of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect.  Professor Rigoberto Hernandez (Johns Hopkins University) will be presenting a short talk onthe Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity 
    (OXIDE)  followed by a discussion of best practices for inclusive education in chemistry. Details on the gathering will be available in June, 2020.
  • Town Hall Meeting in Philadelphia (cancelled, virtual town hall TBA)
    Please join us for a virtual Town Hall Meeting, coming soon in 2020. We will be discussing themes central to the revision of the Guidelines for ACS Approval of Chemistry Bachelor Degrees. Such topics include new guidelines format, faculty workloads, chemical safety, pedagogical practices, and the role of diversity, equity, and respect in chemical education.  


ACS Approval Program

Recent Publications

Reports and Surveys

ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Contact Us


Office of Professional Training
American Chemical Society
1155 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Guidelines Revisions Feedback

Watch this space for short (1-3 question) surveys and polls focusing on the upcoming guidelines revisions.

Current polls include (click on the links):

If we haven't covered a topic that you'd like to discuss, please email us at

Focus Group Feedback

During the fall ACS meeting, CPT hosted two focus groups.  The first discussed the Lab Hour requirement in the Guidelines.  The second, co-hosted by the ACS Committee on Minority Affairs, discussed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) climate at undergraduate institutions.