Section 1: ACS Approval Program
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is committed to fostering excellence in chemistry education and developing the next generation of dynamic chemistry leaders. One mechanism by which these efforts are promoted is through the approval of baccalaureate chemistry programs. Through the Committee of Professional Training, ACS authorizes the chairperson of any ACS-approved program to certify bachelor’s degree graduates who meet the ACS guidelines.
Goals of the ACS Approval Program
- To communicate and establish standards for training bachelor’s level chemists.
- To promote and support the development of bachelor's-level chemists who are competitive in the global economy.
- To publicly recognize excellence and exemplary practice in chemical education and to highlight opportunities and benefits that the program provides for students.
- While graduates who earn a certified degree often must complete requirements that exceed those of the degree-granting institution, an ACS-certified degree signifies that a student has completed an integrated program that emphasizes the development of skills necessary to be competitive in a global economy.
- Students attending ACS-approved institutions have exposure and access to a comprehensive chemistry curriculum and access to a well-maintained infrastructure.
Program Approval Requirements
ACS recognizes the changing landscape of higher education as well as the diversity of institutions and students that embody the chemical enterprise. Thus, these guidelines provide approved programs with opportunities to develop chemistry degree tracks that are appropriate to the educational missions of their institutions.
The guidelines are organized into nine (9) Sections. Each section groups the guidelines into three categories: critical requirements for approval, normal expectations, and markers of excellence. These indicators are not meant to be prescriptive or an all-inclusive checklist but represent the values of the American Chemical Society and its vision for continued excellence in chemistry education.
- Critical Requirements: Departments/programs must meet these requirements to obtain or maintain ACS approval.
- Normal Expectations: Guidelines in this category reflect the expected values and activities of an ACS approved program, but are not required to obtain or maintain ACS approval.
- Markers of Excellence: The guidelines in this category reflect departmental and institutional practices characteristic of an exemplary chemistry program that supports innovation and inclusive education.
Once a program has been approved by ACS, the department has the authority to certify that students have completed the approved curriculum. It is the responsibility of the department chairperson to determine which of their graduates have met the requirements for certification. Certified students must take a course of study that provides
- Five foundation courses that span ABIOP (Analytical, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic, Physical)
- A minumum of four in-depth courses, which may include research
- Complete 350 lab hours beyond general chemistry
- Coverage of the preparation, characterization, and physical properties of at least two of the following:
- Synthetic polymers
- Biological macromolecules
- Supramolecular aggregates
- Meso- or nanoscale materials
- Development of Professional and Lab Skills and Competencies
The goal of certification is to provide students a competitive advantage for their future employment with an externally validated course of study that is standardized across a wide variety of institutions and programs.
Certified students receive both a certificate and electronic credentials from ACS. To request these items, please email of list of certified students and their email addresses to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.