Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to be a U.S. citizen/permanent resident to apply?

    Since the ACS Bridge Program is primarily funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation, students selected for funding through the ACS Bridge Program must be US Citizens or permanent residents. However, if you fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you may apply to have your application circulated to our sites. Although you cannot receive ACS funding, some partnering departments may offer alternative sources of funding.

  • If I have a Master's degree am I still eligible?

    Yes, you are eligible to apply to the ACS Bridge Program if you did not receive an offer from a Ph.D. program yet and if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

    However, there are implications for which funding source a department would be able to use to support you financially. (Example 1: M.S. degree in a non-chemical science field, an undergraduate degree in the chemical sciences: Bridge funds can support you. (Example 2: M.S. in the chemical sciences – alternative, departmental funds would support you)

  • Are women included as underrepresented minorities?

    Although women are underrepresented in chemical sciences and some STEM fields, the focus of the ACS Bridge Program is to increase the number of Ph.D.s in the chemical sciences awarded to underrepresented (UR) students, including African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students. Those who fall under these racial and ethnic minority groups are encouraged to apply to the Bridge Program.

  • Is the Chemistry GRE required? Is the General GRE required?

    Minimum scores are not required for the Chemistry GRE and General GRE, and you are not required to have taken the tests in order to apply to the ACS Bridge Program. However, individual Sites have their own graduate school requirements, and you may be required to submit scores for these exams if you are admitted to their program.

    Take a look at the individual Bridge Site and the Partner Site pages and follow links to the specific program you are interested in to find requirements for each site.

  • Is there a minimum GPA required?

    There is no minimum GPA required by the ACS Bridge Program to apply. However, individual Bridge Departments might have their own university or chemical science program GPA requirements. In the Bridge Site model program in physics, it was found that for promising students, site leaders will work to waive their institution's GPA requirement so you should not consider this a firm rule.

    Take a look at the Bridge Sites and the Partnership Sites pages and follow links to the specific program you are interested in to find requirements for each site.

  • Is there a fee to apply?

    There is no fee to apply to the ACS Bridge Program. If you are accepted into a graduate program, you may be asked to formally apply to the institution you plan to attend.

  • Should I skip applying to grad school and just do this?

    The ACS Bridge Program encourages all students to apply to graduate school through the usual process. Our program is intended to help students who have not received an offer from a graduate program or who, for whatever reason, have decided not to apply. While we expect that most students who apply get offers from one or more programs, it is not a guarantee, and you may find that the program where you gain admittance is not well suited to your goals.

    Your first effort should be to choose an appropriate mix of graduate programs spanning "reach" schools to those that are more on your "safety" list. Only choosing the very best universities in the country may be a laudable goal, but may also be a recipe for rejection, as these institutions receive many hundreds of applications for a very small number of admitted students. Talk with your undergraduate advisor, research mentor, or other PhD-level chemical scientists for advice on where to apply. You might also want to contact faculty at the desired institution to ask about your chances of admission.

  • What is the deadline for applying?

    The deadline for completed applications is generally the end of March. Students are encouraged to submit complete applications well before the deadline to avoid technical issues. Please view the student page for more information about the specific deadlines for each application year. Keep in mind that we need your complete application by this time. This includes your application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Please allow some time (usually at least two weeks) to make sure your letter writers are able to get their letters uploaded before the deadline.

  • When will I hear back about my application?

    When your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation email regarding your application status. Students accepted into bridge programs will receive admission offers in May and June through direct email contact with department leaders.

    Although most offers go out in May and June, some institutions may make offers for fall enrollment later in the summer. As such, you should be sure to 1) make sure that the email listed on your Bridge application is one that you will use after graduation and that you check often, and 2) Keep an eye out for contact from institutions throughout the summer. The application cycle closes in early September, and no offers will be made after this deadline.

  • I finished my chemical science degree 3 years ago, can I apply?

    Yes, you can apply even if you completed your bachelor's degree several years ago. If your degree was from further back, you may be a bit rusty on your chemical science concepts. We recommend you talk with an advisor or contact us to determine your level of preparation to pursue a doctoral degree.

  • I am interested in biomedical research and want to get a doctoral degree from a biochemistry department at a medical school, am I eligible?

    Yes, you are eligible. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students that receive PhDs in the chemical sciences. Departments of biochemistry, chemical biology, or related disciplines are eligible to be Bridge Partner Departments. ACS circulates your application to Bridge Partner Departments.

  • What is the difference between an ACS Bridge Site, ACS Bridge Partnership Department, ACS Bridge, and ACS Bridge Community Department?

    For students: 
    Applications will be circulated to ACS Bridge Sites and ACS Partnership Departments only. Only Bridge Sites can provide Bridge Fellow stipends sponsored through ACS.

    For institutions: 
    The differences are summarized in the table below.

     ACS Bridge SitesACS Bridge Partners

    Receives funds from ACS

    Yes (up to $120,000 for two years)No
    Access to ACS-Bridge Program Bachelor’s and Master’s student applicant databaseYes, early accessYes, regular access

    Demonstrated, departmental commitment to goals of the ACS Bridge Program


    Public recognition by the ACS of the department’s commitment to diversity in the chemical sciences


    Strengthening Broader Impacts statements in federal grant applications


    Request For Proposal



     Early Fall, yearly 



     June 1, yearly 

    Departments at a medical school or similar environment that host graduate students that perform research in the chemical sciencesNoYes

  • Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in the in order to apply? Can I apply if my major isn't in the chemical sciences?

    Students with degrees closely related to chemical sciences may apply to the program, but they must have completed many of the advanced undergraduate core chemical science requirements or their applications will not be considered. These include courses in advanced biochemistry, calculus I-III, organic chemistry II, physical chemistry II (quantum/thermos), and polymer chemistry. Students without undergraduate chemical science degrees should be sure to include in their application strong reasons for why their studies have prepared them to pursue a Ph.D. in the chemical sciences.

  • I am unsure what area of research I want to pursue, will this count against me?

    Bridge Sites use the information provided in the "Research Interest" area of the application in different ways so it would be beneficial for you to look up individual sites and their statements on how they use this information (available through links from Bridge Sites). Sites may use this information in order to determine possible mentor matches and whether your interests align with the research areas that the university has to offer. Being unsure is OK, but you should discuss your research experience and broad interests with mentors.

  • Will I get a stipend if I am accepted? How much?

    Acceptance into Master's and Ph.D. programs at Bridge Sites will come with a one-year, flat-rate stipend of $25,000 if the Bridge Site considers you for one of the two available stipends. ACS will provide the funding for Bridge Fellows to the Bridge Sites. The Bridge Site is responsible to secure stipend funds after the ACS funding period concludes. ACS Partner Departments do not have access to ACS funding. However, Partner Departments typically offer financial support. This amount is typically comparable or identical to stipends received by other graduate students. Once they receive graduate program offers, students should consider whether the offered financial support is sufficient for their needs.

  • I don't want to leave Texas (or some other area), is there a bridge program in Texas?

    The ACS Bridge Program only has Bridge Sites established in certain areas in the US.

    Students that do not receive or accept offers from ACS Bridge Sites will have their applications circulated to ACS Bridge Partner Departments for consideration. It will be more likely that one of the Partner Departments is closer to home than that of the Bridge Sites. Alternatively, you can look into graduate programs closer to home. Many programs have informal bridge programs built into their graduate programs that you might be able to benefit from. We recommend you contact faculty at institutions you are interested in attending.

  • Who should I contact if I have more questions?

    Additional questions can be sent to

  • How should I plan for my graduate work?

    Visit “Planning for Graduate Work” developed by the ACS Committee on Professional Training.

  • Which careers can I pursue as chemical scientist with Ph.D. degree?

    You can explore numerous careers for chemical scientists through Careers and the Chemical Sciences or ChemIDPTM, the career planning tool for chemists.