How to Apply for the Scholars Program


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

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Dec 1st Application Opens

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Mar 1st Application Closes

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May 15th Results Announced

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Aug 15thScholarship Checks Sent

  • Am I Eligible?

    The ACS Scholars Program is open to:

    • U.S. citizens or a legal permanent U.S. residents (please inquire via email if you have questions regarding asylum or DACA status)
    • African descent or Black, Hispanic or Latina/Latino/Latinx, or Indigenous (e.g. Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native) (please see below for more details)
    • Graduating high school seniors or college freshmen, sophomores or juniors. Seniors can apply for their fifth year.
    • Those intending to major or are already majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, chemical technology, or another chemistry-related science AND planning to pursue a career in a chemistry-related science as well (please see below for more details)
    • Full-time students at a high school or an accredited college, university, or community college
    • Those demonstrating high academic achievement in chemistry or science (Grade Point Average 3.0 or higher)

    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 Latina/Latino/Latinx — A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American culture or origin, regardless of race
    • Indigenous — 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 decent or 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.

    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. 

    Data on graduation rates 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).

    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 between $1,000 and $5,000 per academic year. Scholarship awards are renewable as long as Scholars maintain academic performance requirements.

  • Required Documents

     Unofficial TranscriptTwo letters of recommendation
    DetailsMust include fall semester grades; College freshman must submit high school and college transcriptsOne letter must be from a chemistry, science, or math teacher or research advisor
    All documents will be uploaded within the applicationThe unofficial transcript must be uploaded as a PDF document with the student's full name and institution legible.The application will ask for the name and emails of your letter writers. Please have this information handy when applying. An email will be sent directly to your letter writer with details on how to upload the letter.
  • 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.

Did You Know?  

In an era of phenomenal discoveries in chemical sciences and related fields, our nation is faced with the challenge of producing a generation of diverse scientific leaders who can tackle 21st-century challenges. Underrepresented (UR) students now make up a third of the college-age U.S. citizens, yet they earn about 18% of U.S. chemical science Bachelor’s degrees and about 11% of chemistry PhDs.  Graduation data shows that the current paradigm of moving students from undergraduate to graduate education fails to include many.

For more information


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