U.S. National 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
2021 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad
In light of the continued uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that reopening may not be uniform across the Nation, both the Local Section and National Exams will be offered virtually in 2021. The laboratory portion of the National Exam will be omitted again this year.
Each Local Section will decide on the format of administration of the Local Section competitions. Coordinators will determine what format they want to use, depending on local circumstances. Coordinators will select students to sit for the national exam following the usual criteria described in the USNCO Rules. The 2021 USNCO National Exam Part I and Part II will be administered virtually by the USNCO office on two consecutive Saturdays. Teachers, parents, and students should contact their Local Sections coordinators for more details about the USNCO program in their Local Section.
2021 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Schedule (Subject to Change)
January 11, 2021: Registration due for participating Local Section coordinators
January 31, 2021: All participating students must be registered with their Local Section USNCO Coordinators.
March 1-31, 2021: Local Section Competitions (format depends on the local circumstances)
March 27, 2021: Digital Local Exam (only for Local Sections not able to administer in a different format)
April 17, 2021: Digital National Exam Part I
April 24, 2021: Digital National Exam Part II
TBD: Study Camp
July 24 - August 2, 2021: IChO
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:
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.
- 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.
See Rules and Eligibility
USNCO Webinar: Interactive Workshop: How to Learn Chemistry, for High School Students, Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 7PM ET
New for 2020/2021: webinars, coaching sessions and grants to help coordinators, teachers, and students participate in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad.
USNCO In the News
2020 Team USA wins four gold medals at the 52nd IChO
Spread the word! Download posters, flyers, graphics, and sample social media posts to promote the USNCO.
Show your support for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Program by purchasing the new USNCO merchandise in the ACS Store.
T-shirts, buttons and microfiber cleaning cloths are now available.