Texas Tech University

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the Graduate School's Deadlines different from the Department of Chemistry deadlines?

The deadlines for the Graduate School are early for visa reasons. In some countries it can take 6 months or more to obtain the visa. Others take one month. So to insure that all accepted applicants will be able to come on time, they have very early deadlines.

Another reason is to give as many top applicants as possible a chance for the many fellowships that are being offered. Deadlines for nominations from departments are usually February 15th, so applying early gives top applicants a chance for being nominated. Considering the time it takes to receive the documents and recommendation letters, the review and nomination process times, January 15th is an appropriate deadline.

Even though the Graduate school deadline is past, you can still apply up until the departmental deadline.

Semester Graduate School Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Fall January 15th March 1st
Spring June 15th September 1st

Why is there a department application?

The Graduate School's application is a very generic application for undergraduate and graduate students. Our application gives us a good picture of your background in Chemistry and/or Biochemistry. It also is your application for financial support through the Department of Chemistry in the form of a teaching assistantship. We need this background to make the best decision of who to accept. And finally, by the information we receive on our application and by sending materials directly to us hrough chemgrad@ttu.edu, your application process is expedited.

What is the Provost Fellows program, and how can I apply?

The Provost Fellows program is an initiative supported by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry designed to attract the very best graduate student applicants to TTU. Recipients of this distinctive honor are entitled to a guaranteed 12-month stipend at $2100/month. All graduate applicants will be automatically considered for the Provost Fellows program, (as well as special graduate school fellowships) i.e. no special application is necessary. Applicants who are chosen for the Provost Fellows program will learn of this in their offer letters. Note that there are more Provost Fellowships offered, than given out, so it is important to accept the offer early.

Will you waive the application fee?

You will need to contact the Graduate Admissions in the Graduate School who requires the application fee.

How do I apply to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry?

Please go to the link (click here), and follow the detailed instructions.

Where should I send my application materials?

All materials should be attached to an e-mail to Application File Upload Portal and chemgrad@ttu.edu. The graduate school does not accept paper copies any longer. If you are accepted to Texas Tech University, you will bring your official copy to the Graduate School in person. Please put your name on every document including the Statement of Purpose.

Are the GRE and TOEFL required?

Yes. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry requires general GRE scores for all graduate applicants, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for all international applicants. The subject GRE score is not required, but if you have taken the subject test in either Chemistry, Physics, or Biochemistry Cell & Molecular Biology, please include your score in your application, as this may place you out of the Diagnostic Examination requirement.

What is the minimum acceptable GPA, GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS score?

Texas Tech University requires a minimum TOEFL score of 79-80 Internet-based test (IBT) or 550 Paper-based test (PUT), or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher. There is no minimum GPA or GRE requirement. Note that the department can process your application with unofficial (emailed) GRE/TOEFL scores; however, final graduate school admission requires that official scores be submitted, no more than 5 years old for the GRE, and no more than two years old for the TOEFL at the time of acceptance. 

What is the Texas Tech University Institution code for ETS? What is the departmental code?

Institution code = 6827
Departmental code = CHEM (C27), Biochemistry (B22)

Note that you only need submit official scores one time. All scores reported from ETS go to the Graduate School, not the department. This is why we ask for a copy of your score sheet and have you report the scores on our application.

What are the countries that exempt me from TOEFL or IELTS?

The list can be accessed at this website: Scroll down to the list (Click here)

Also if you have attended a US higher education institution for 2 consecutive years or more, you are exempt from TOEFL like tests.

Does the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry accept ELS Educational Services Level 112 to satisfy English Proficiency requirements?

Because of the great need for advanced English skills within the Department, we have not found that the ELS Level 12 is a good indication of proficiency for our needs. We prefer the TOEFL or IELTS scores. We are one of the departments who does not have conditional admissions.

Does the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry require official copies of transcripts and diplomas?

No. Scanned copies of test scores, transcripts, and diplomas will suffice for the departmental application evaluation. Please attach to an email and send to chemgrad@ttu.edu 

How is the recommendation letter received?

Please have your reference people send their recommendation letters to chemgrad@ttu.edu. Please download this form, (click here) fill out the top and give to each reference person. We prefer the form and a personal letter of recommendation.

Will the department accept e-mailed documents instead of mailed documents?

Yes. We prefer materials that have been scanned and e-mailed to chemgrad@ttu.edu, for purposes of evaluating your departmental application. The Graduate School will only accept electronic documents.

I'm in a country that has sporadic internet and need to mail documents. Is that all right?

Yes, we realize that in rare cases, internet is not available for all. In that case only mail the documents to:

        Texas Tech University
        The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
        Attn: Donna Smith
        1204 Boston
        Lubbock, TX 79409-1061

Do Not Mail Documents except in this case! Please scan and attach to e-mails if at all possible.

Does the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry evaluate applications as they come in, or all at once?

As they come in. The departmental Graduate Affairs Committee meets on a regular basis to evaluate files. For the most part, files are evaluated as they are completed, but sometimes there is a backlog.
It is to your advantage to complete and submit application materials well before the deadlines, and to accept offers (if received) well in advance of the April 15 deadline.

Can I transfer graduate course credits from another university?

Yes. Once you enroll here, you may submit a request for the chemistry department to review your previous coursework for transfer credit. A course syllabus of the requested transfer course must be provided for evaluation so be sure you obtain one. Each division decides on the acceptance of courses.

I want to transfer to TTU Chemistry & Biochemistry from another institution without completing my current degree, can I do this?

Yes. We ask that students who want to transfer from another institution without completing their current degree provide a short statement explaining why they want to transfer in addition to all required application materials. We also require that at least one of the letters of recommendation is provided by a professor at the current institution.

Can I apply for financial aid? How do I do so?

Yes. The departmental application gives us your chemistry background as well as applying for a teaching assistantship. That is why you will be filling out two applications: One – for the graduate school and one – for the department of chemistry. All PhD students who receive an offer of admission from the department will receive a guaranteed stipend of at least 48 months as part of their assistantship, with formal details explained in the offer letter. All MS students who receive an offer of admission from the department will receive a guaranteed stipend of at least 12 months. Additional financial aid or scholarships can be found by contacting the Financial Aid Office and/or the Graduate School.

My application file was rejected by the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry for the current semester, and I want to re-apply for a future semester. Can I re-apply?

Yes. You will need to go to the Graduate School website (click here), click on the appropriate semester, and fill out a change of entry form (if within one year) or fill out a new application if over one year.

Then we ask that you fill out a new departmental application. We ask that you submit at least one new application document in addition to what has already been submitted to the department. You will need to provide new/better test scores, new transcripts showing additional coursework or completion of a degree, additional peer-reviewed publications, or additional letters of recommendation. A new statement of purpose, resume, curriculum vitae, etc... will not suffice. If 18 months or longer has elapsed before re-applying, we ask that you provide all new application materials.

Do I have to pay income taxes on a TA or RA stipend?

Yes. Everyone employed in the U.S. pays federal income tax, but Texas has no state income tax. You will also not have to pay Social Security tax. 

What is the length of a TA stipend? What happens after the first year?

For PhD – 48 months as long as you maintain good academic performance, teaching performance and overall good standing with the university. An initial teaching assistantship (TA) stipend offer for the PhD is guaranteed for 48 months (fall, spring, and summer semesters) for the 4 years, with Provost Fellows typically receiving a one-year (12-month) stipend at a substantially higher level. For MS – 12 month stipend is offered initially. After that, graduate students may work as Research Assistants (this depends on the professor and the research funding he/she has), or continue to work as TAs. The decision is made by the student's research mentor. Students can generally expect to be supported on either a TA or RA position in the fall, spring and possibly summer after their contract time has expired.

What are the responsibilities of a TA?

Chemistry department TA's teach up to 3 general chemistry or 2 organic chemistry laboratories each week, help proctor general or organic chemistry exams, help grade lecture course quizzes and exams, and have help session hours. TA duties require approximately 20 plus hours per week.

What are the estimated costs of tuition & fees per semester?

For academic year 2016-17 - 9 hours enrollment required for assistantship
With Assistantship International (non-resident) (9 hours) Domestic (9 hours)
Master's degree $ 1300 (Down from $ 8460) $ 1200 (down from $ 4588.50)
Doctoral degree $ 675 (Down from $ 8460) $ 600 (down from $ 4588.50)

Do I choose a research professor before I come?

No, research professors/mentors are chosen in the first semester that a new student is here. For the majority of professors, they do not want to be contacted by applicants and will just refer you to our assistant to the Graduate Advisor to send you information about how to apply. A committee of professors from each division chooses which applicants will come here according to the needs of the department.

Can I continue the research I'm doing in my country in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry?

A graduate student does the research that his research mentor wants him to do. You need to be very flexible about the research you expect to do when you come to any university. Look to see if any of the professors are doing something similar or look for several professors whose research interests you. A graduate student conforms to his mentor's wishes, not the other way around.

I have a question that has not been answered by the information posted above.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our graduate office by e-mail to chemgrad@ttu.edu