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. Contact us: USNCO@acs.org


New! USNCO Webinar: Preparing for National Exam Part III for Students. March 10, 2022 at 7 PM ET 

Are you interested in participating in the 2022 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad? Talk to your high school chemistry teacher or contact your ACS Local Section USNCO Coordinator

2022 USNCO Program Schedule* 

  • 1-31 March: Local Exam 
  • 23 April - 1 May: National Exam
  • 6 - 17 June: Study Camp
  • 10- 20 July: IChO

* This schedule is subject to change. All changes will be communicated to USNCO Coordinators and posted on the USNCO website. 

How to Participate in the USNCO

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 has sponsored the program since 1984. 

In order to participate you must:


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


If your Local Section nominates you after the Local Competition, you will have the opportunity to participate in the 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 where students are selected for the International competition.


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

Student Eligibility

  • All high school students attending the high schools in the USA are eligible to participate in the local level competition organized by ACS Local Sections.
  • 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.
  • If you have questions about eligibility see the Full Rules and Eligibility or contact the usnco office
    See Full Rules and Eligibility

USNCO In the News

Photo of Team USA students at IChO
Team USA students celebrating their success at the 53rd IChO (L to R): Yitian Zhu (gold medal), Nikhil Seshadri (silver medal), Kien Phuong (silver medal), Qiyang Zhou (gold medal)
David Horwitz
Screenshot from online webinar: photo of a headshot of the presenter, photo of a group of students in a lecture hall and text about olympiad competition structure

Watch USNCO Webinars to learn how to prepare for the competition and how to get involved in the program

Show your support for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Program by purchasing the new USNCO merchandise in the ACS Store.
T-shirts, lapel pins, buttons, pens and microfiber cleaning cloths are now available.

Spread the word! Download posters, flyers, graphics, and sample social media posts to promote the USNCO.

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Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach