About the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad is a multi-tiered competition designed to stimulate and promote achievement in high school chemistry. It is sponsored by the American Chemical Society.

  • Local Chemistry Olympiad competitions are open to all high school students in the United States. Local competitions take place each March in collaboration with ACS Local Sections.
  • Top performers at the local level advance to the National Chemistry Olympiad Exam, which is administered to more than 1,000 students.
  • The 20 top-scoring students from the National Exam spend two weeks at a Study Camp to undergo rigorous training.
  • Based on their performance at Study Camp, four students are chosen to represent the U.S. in the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO). The IChO is hosted in July by one of the participating countries.

Students can be proud to participate in any stage of the Olympiad competition to challenge their chemistry knowledge and make connections that may last a lifetime with peers, ACS Local Sections, and even national or international chemistry communities.

Goals

Goals of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad are set by a subcommittee of the Society Committee on Education. The Chemistry Olympiad program aims to:

  • Stimulate young people to achieve excellence in chemistry
  • Recognize outstanding chemistry students and, in doing so, encourage additional learning at a formative time in their intellectual development
  • Recognize the excellent achievement of teachers and the importance of the school environment
  • Provide contact between ACS Local Sections and area schools, and foster interest among professional chemists in teaching chemistry
  • Challenge the chemical knowledge and skills of young students in an international arena
  • Foster cross-cultural experiences and acquaint students with similarities and differences between themselves and their counterparts from other nations

Sponsors

Since 1984, the ACS Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Chemistry Olympiad Endowment has been the primary sponsor of the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad.

Additional support comes from the University of Maryland at College Park through the faculty and staff of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and in-kind donations of laboratory and lecture space for the students and mentors at the study camp.

Individual private donors and the following corporations supported the program through major financial and/or in-kind donations in 2021:

Olympiad students working in a lab
Olympiad students working in a lab

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Image of a cover of the report showing a photo of four TEAM USA students holding an USA flag in front of ACS Headquarters building

2021 USNCO Summary Report

312 students from 83 countries participated in the 53rd International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) . Team USA earned two gold and two silver medals. 

Read Summary Report


Contact Us

U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad
ACS Office of Science Outreach
usnco@acs.org