How to Apply for the ACS Scholars Program


Completed application and required documents must be submitted by March 1st annually

Nov 1st Application Opens

Mar 1st Application Closes

May 15th Results Announced

Aug 15thScholarship Checks Sent

  • Am I Eligible?

    To be considered for a scholarship through the ACS Scholars Program, candidates must:

    • Be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent U.S. resident
    • Be African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, or American Indian (please see below for more details)
    • Be a graduating high school senior or college freshman, sophomore or junior. Seniors can apply for their fifth year.
    • Intend to major or already major in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, chemical technology, or another chemistry-related science AND plan to pursue a career in a chemistry-related science as well (please see below for more details)
    • Be a full-time student at a high school or accredited college, university, or community college
    • Demonstrate high academic achievement in chemistry or science (Grade Point Average 3.0 or higher)

    Eligible and Ineligible Racial and Ethnic Categories for the ACS Scholars Program

    Eligible Categories:

    In the application you should select the race/ethnicity that you MOST identify with; use the “Other” field to provide more context (for example your tribe, family’s country of origin if you know it, or other races you are mixed with)

    • Hispanic or Latino — A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American culture or origin, regardless of race
    • American Indian or Alaska Native — A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition
    • Native Hawaiian or Native Pacific Islander — A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands that are U.S. territories
    • African-American/Black — A person having origins in any of the black, indigenous, racial groups of Africa
    • More than one race – A person having origins in more than one of the above racial categories.

    Ineligible Categories:

    • White — A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East
    • Asian — A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent. These areas include, for example, China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippine Islands

    Definitions have been adapted from the NSF National Center for Science and Engineering Statistical Tables NSF 15-321 published in May 2015 and Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, NSF 17-310 published in January 2017. 

    Why are White and Asian Ethnicities Ineligible?

    The ACS Scholars Program was started in 1995 to address what the National Science Foundation (NSF) identified as “historically underrepresented racial minorities”.  At the time, NSF found that Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans received a significantly lower percentage of all Bachelor degrees as compared to their respective populations in the US (as defined by the U.S. Census data).  That gap for STEM degrees, and particularly Bachelor and Doctoral chemistry degrees, persists to this day.

    This data, along with data for previous time periods, can be found at the National Science Foundation website (  (Science and Engineering Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients: 2002-12; Detailed Statistical Tables | NSF 15-321 | May 2015).

    The ACS Scholars Program aims to minimize that gap by providing financial and mentoring support.

    Examples of eligible majors: 

    • Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Chemical Technology
    • Materials Science
    • Petroleum Engineering
    • Environmental Science/Engineering (chemistry-based)*
    • Biomedical Engineering (chemistry-based)*
    • Forensic Science/Chemistry
    • Toxicology
    • Food Science (not nutrition)
    • Paper and Pulp Technology
    • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
    • Agricultural Chemistry
    • Nanotechnology or Nano Science
    • Ceramic Science / Chemistry / Technology
    • Industrial Chemistry

    Examples of eligible career goals:

    • Chemist
    • Biochemist
    • Chemical Engineer
    • Chemical Technician
    • Forensic Chemist / Investigator
    • Chemistry / Biochemistry / Chemical Engineering Teacher / Professor
    • Patent Lawyer
    • Science Journalist
    • MD/PhD (research physician)**

    **Please note that students intending to enter Pre-Med programs or pursuing a degree in Pharmacy or Nursing are NOT eligible for this scholarship.

    *Majors that are starred or otherwise not listed above should have the four following core chemistry courses included in your course curriculum (required coursework for your major) in order for it to be approved. Please submit a copy of your course curriculum via email to after you have started or submitted your online application:

    1. General Chemistry (sometimes referred to as beginner Inorganic Chemistry)
    2. Organic Chemistry
    3. Physical Chemistry (or Thermodynamics)
    4. Analytical Chemistry (or Quantitative Analysis)
  • Selection Process and Award Amounts

    The Selection Committee includes professionals in academia and the chemical industry, and some ACS Scholar Alumni. This committee reviews all completed, eligible applications to determine the best overall candidates.  The highest-rated students are selected as scholarship recipients.  Scholarships are awarded based on academic record, career objective, leadership ability, participation in school activities and/or academic research, and community service.

    The amount of each individual award depends upon the availability of funding, the number of scholarships awarded, and evidence of financial need.  Scholarship recipients receive up to a maximum of $5,000 per year. Scholarship awards are renewable as long as Scholars maintain academic performance requirements.

    • $2,500 for freshman
    • $3,000 for sophomores
    • $5,000 for juniors and seniors
  • Required Documents

      Official Transcript Two letters of recommendation Copy of Student Aid Report (SAR)
    Details Must include fall semester grades; College freshman must submit high school and college transcripts One letter must be from a chemistry, science, or math teacher or research advisor The SAR is provided to you after submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.  SAR must be for the upcoming academic year, not the current year.
    How to send Must be sent directly from school either in a sealed envelope or by transcript clearing house to If mailed, send to ACS Scholars Program | 1155 16th St NW Washington, D.C. 20036 Recommender must send letter as .pdf or Word document to Letters will NOT be accepted from applicants or parents of applicants. The SAR must be sent via email to
  • High School Students

    • High school seniors may apply for the scholarship program.
    • Unsure of which school you will be attending?  Don’t worry about it.  If you are selected, you will then be asked about your school information.
    • Only official transcripts will be accepted.  Ensure that your school sends us a transcript in a sealed envelope.  We accept virtual official transcripts as well.  Check to see if your school works with a transcript clearinghouse to send the transcript or ask a counselor/registrar to email us directly.  Send to
  • Undergraduate Students (2- and 4-Year Institutions)

    • College freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors (attending for a 5th year or second bachelor’s degree) may apply for the scholarship program.
    • Are you transferring universities between this semester and the next?  Don’t worry about it. If you are selected, you will then be asked about your school information.
    • College freshman must submit both the college and high school transcripts.
    • If you have attended multiple universities for one academic year or longer, please provide the transcripts for those institutions. You do not have to submit multiple transcripts if the one from your current institution includes transferred credits/courses from previously attended schools.

ACS takes your privacy seriously. Please see the ACS Privacy Statement for more information.

Ready to Apply?

Returning Applicants     New Applicants

Please email if you experience technical difficulties with the application.

For more information

Phone: 1-800-227-5558 (ext. 6250)
Fax: 202-872-4361  |  Email:

ACS Scholars Program
1155 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036