Student Proficiencies

Programs recognized by the ACS must prepare students for a diverse array of career options by providing experiences that help students develop competence in critical skills necessary to thrive in the modern workplace.

Recognized programs must also have an established process by which they routinely assess the development of students’ professional skills.

Experiment Design & Data Communication Skills

  • Programs must give students experiences where they design, execute and interpret the outcomes of experiments to solve chemistry problems.

Communication Skills

The chemistry curriculum must include critically evaluated writing and speaking opportunities that allow students to learn how to communicate:

  • Information clearly and concisely,
  • In a scientifically appropriate style for the intended audience,
  • Ethically and accurately, and
  • Utilizing relevant technology.

Chemical Literature & Information Management Skills

  • Programs must instruct students in effective methods for performing and assessing the quality of searches using keywords, authors, abstracts, citations, patents, and structures/substructures.
  • The program must provide ready access to technical databases with sufficient depth and breadth of the chemical literature for effective searching.
  • Instruction should also be provided in data management and archiving, record keeping (electronic and otherwise), and managing citations and related information.

Team Skills & Collaboration

  • Programs must incorporate team experiences into classroom and laboratory components of the chemistry curriculum.

Professional Conduct of Scientists

  • The professional conduct of scientists must be an intentional part of the instruction in a chemistry program.
  • Successful chemistry programs, by way of their example and instruction, must train their students in the ethical practice of science. Accordingly, they must train their students to:
    • Treat data responsibly, 
    • Cite the work of others’ properly,
    • Abstain from act(s) of plagiarism, and
    • Maintain the scholastic standards that pertain to the publication of scientific results.
  • Programs must train students to:
    • Work with others in the scientific community collaboratively, and
    • Foster an inclusive workplace and learning environment.
  • Faculty must exemplify responsible conduct in their teaching, research, and all other professional activities.

Practical Laboratory Safety Skills & Proficiencies

  • Programs must instruct students in the aspects of modern chemical safety appropriate to their educational level and scientific needs.
  • The promotion of safety awareness and skills must begin during the first laboratory experience and should be incorporated into each lab experience thereafter.
  • Safety understanding and skills must be developed and assessed throughout the curriculum.
  • Programs must have students undergo general safety instruction as well as lab-specific instruction before beginning undergraduate research.
  • Programs must provide students with training that allows them to:
    • Carry out responsible disposal techniques for both chemicals and damaged glassware
    • Comply with safety regulations
    • Properly use personal protective equipment to minimize exposure to hazards
    • Understand the categories of hazards associated with chemicals (health, physical, and environmental)
    • Use Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and other standard printed and online safety reference materials
    • Recognize chemical and physical hazards in laboratories, assess the risks from these hazards, know how to minimize the risks, and prepare for emergencies such as fires, explosions, chemical exposures, injuries, and chemical spills
    • Properly use emergency equipment (e.g., fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, safety showers, spill kits, first aid kits, fire alarms, and fire blankets)

Contact icon

Contact the ACS Approval Program

Phone: 202-872-4589 | Fax: 202-872-6066
Mail: Office of Professional Training
American Chemical Society, 1155 16th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20036