About ACS

The American Chemical Society is a self-governed individual membership organization that consists of more than 158,000 members at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry. The organization provides a broad range of opportunities for peer interaction and career development, regardless of professional or scientific interests. The programs and activities conducted by ACS today are the products of a tradition of excellence in meeting member needs that dates from the Society's founding in 1876


To advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. (Approved by the ACS Board of Directors, September 2006)


Improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry

Governing Bodies

The SOCIETY shall be composed of members who in turn may be members of its Divisions and/or its Local Sections. It shall have a Council which, in addition to such duties as may be prescribed in this Constitution and the Bylaws of the SOCIETY, shall act as an advisory body; a Board of Directors, which shall be the legal representative of the SOCIETY and establish its administrative policies; committees both of the Council and of the Board; and such officers and employees as are necessary to effectuate its purposes." [ACS Constitution, Article III]


As a member of the ACS you are able to interact with governance by:

  • Voting for the Local Section/Division Officers and Councilors
  • Voting for the President of the ACS
  • Voting on changes to the ACS Constitution

Board of Directors

A Board of Directors composed of the President, the President-Elect, the most recent Past President (all ex offices), six District Directors, one elected from each of six geographical Districts as provided in the Bylaws, and six Directors-at-Large, shall be the legal representative of the SOCIETY, and, as such, shall have, hold, and administer all the property, funds, and affairs of the SOCIETY pursuant to Public Act 358 “To Incorporate the AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY” passed by the 75th Congress, 1st Session, and approved August 25, 1937. The Executive Director shall be a nonvoting ex officio member of the Board of Directors." [ACS Constitution, Article VIII]


Both the Council and the Board of Directors call upon many committees to study and make recommendations on matters of basic and continuing importance to the Society. ACS committees serve as clearinghouses for comments and proposals regarding the conduct of present and future programs of the Society; all ACS members are urged to make their views known to committee members. The topic with which each committee deals is usually apparent from the name of the committee.

There are several different types of committees. Two “Society” committees report to both the Board and Council in the areas of Budget & Finance and Education. In addition, each body has several standing committees, each of which reports and makes recommendations to its parent body. Membership on standing committees of the Council and the Board are limited to Councilors and Board members, respectively. Committees reporting jointly to both the Board and Council are open to all ACS members.

Both the Council and the Board of Directors also provide for special or other committees for short-term studies or for the execution of specific assignments. Membership on these committees is not limited to councilors or directors and terms of appointment are variable depending on the nature of the committee assignment.


"The popular deliberative assembly of the SOCIETY shall be known as the Council, which shall be composed of the President, the President-Elect, the Directors, the Past Presidents, the Executive Director, the Secretary, and Councilors representing Local Sections and Divisions, all of whom shall be known as voting Councilors, if MEMBERS of the SOCIETY. Twenty percent of elected Councilors shall be elected by Divisions and 80% shall be elected by Local Sections.

Each Division and each Local Section shall elect Councilors and Alternate Councilors as provided in the Bylaws. In addition to performing such duties as may be prescribed by the Constitution and Bylaws of the SOCIETY, the Council shall act as an advisory body in matters pertaining to the general management of the SOCIETY.

The Council also shall include as nonvoting Councilors persons whose SOCIETY positions enable them to contribute special knowledge and viewpoints to Council debate or to benefit in the discharge of their SOCIETY responsibilities from Council discussion, as specified in the Bylaws." [ACS Constitution, Article VII]


The ACS headquarters staff, through the Office of the Executive Director, implements the policies and manages the programs of the Society. A member of the ACS staff is assigned by the ACS Secretary as liaison to each of the Board, Council, and Joint Board-Council Committees. The general function of the ACS staff is to provide advice and information, conduct special projects, and assist as necessary within the limitations imposed by budgets and staff availability.