U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad

The right challenge for your talent

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) program is a multi-tiered chemistry competition for high school students. ACS has sponsored the program since 1984. 

Participate in USNCO

Interested in participating? Talk to your high school teacher or contact your ACS Local Section USNCO Coordinator.

Find Your Coordinator

2023 Important Dates

Schedule is subject to change. All changes will be communicated to USNCO Coordinators and posted on the USNCO website.

Mar 1-31 Local Exam
April 15-23  National Exam
June 4-17 Study Camp
July 16-25 International Chemistry Olympiad

The program has four tiers

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) program is a chemistry competition for high school students. ACS has sponsored the program since 1984. The program has four tiers:


Local Chemistry Olympiad Exams

The first step in USNCO, held each March. High school students can participate by contacting their ACS Local Section Coordinator. Coordinators choose nominees for the National Exam based on results of the local competition. 


National Chemistry Olympiad Exams

A three-part exam administered to more than 1,000 students each April. National Exams are often hosted by ACS Local Sections at local universities and colleges.


Study Camp

The 20 top-scoring students from the National Exam spend two weeks at a Study Camp in June to undergo rigorous training. Based on their performance, four students are chosen to represent the U.S. at the International Chemistry Olympiad.


International Chemistry Olympiad Exams

The four international competitors are accompanied by mentors who translate the test, inspect laboratories and arbitrate the scoring of the exams. Students and mentors also have opportunities to interact with one another and experience the host country’s culture through planned educational and social events. 


Watch the recording of the latest USNCO Webinar

USNCO Exam Annotation Project, November 15, 2022 7:00 PM ET 

Inspire a Talent!

Become the 2024-2026 USNCO High School mentor. Apply by January 6, 2023


Help us let the world know

Spread the word with USNCO posters, flyers, graphics, and sample social media posts.

Buy merch to show your support

Show your support by purchasing USNCO merchandise in the ACS Store.

Contact Us

U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad
ACS Office of Science Outreach