Frequently Asked Questions

ChemX Conference

ChemX Conference logo

Thanks for your interest in the ChemX Conference. We've tried to address the most common questions below, but if we haven't answered yours please email us at:

When does registration close?

Friday, September 13, 2019 at 11:59 PM PST

How do I check in at the event?

On Saturday at 12:15pm, registration tables will be on Latimer Hall Plaza directly south of Latimer Hall to pick up your name badges and programs. Please allow time to register and collect your name tag and program.

What if I need special assistance?

If you are hearing- or vision-impaired, need on-campus transport assistance, or require any ADA special assistance, please email before Friday, September 13, and we will be happy to assist you. 

Is there parking available?

We recommend parking in the Maxwell Field Garage located directly North of Memorial Stadium. The cost is $4 per hour. Street parking in the neighborhood surrounding Berkeley Chemistry is controlled by parking restrictions (e.g., two-hour limits). If you park in the City of Berkeley, please check carefully for posted parking restrictions. Most parking meters now take both coins and credit cards. 

On Saturday night, there is a concert at the Greek Theatre, which will impact the amount of parking spaces that are available later in the day. The start time for the concert is 7:30 PM, and we expect parking to start to fill up after 5:00 pm. The concert will not impact those leaving at the end of the event, but it is important to be mindful of the extra traffic and potentially higher parking rates. Here is a list of parking lots near campus and a map of nearby parking structures.

What is the recommended attire?

Business casual is recommended for Saturday’s events and activities.

Are there special rates for hotel accommodations?

There are several hotels on/close to campus that offer UC Berkeley rates. Hotel rates and availability are subject to change and may become unavailable closer to ChemX weekend. Call hotels for current rates. Area hotels include:

Berkeley City Club
Ask for the UC Berkeley discount 

The Claremont Hotel
No discount available

Doubletree Berkeley Marina
Ask for UC Berkeley discount

Hotel Shattuck Plaza
No discount available

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Graduate studies in Chemistry

FAQ's for prospective chemical and biomolecular engineering graduate students:

What are the admission deadlines?

The application deadlines are:

December 17, 2018 (M.S. and Ph.D)
January 7, 2019 (Professional M.S.)

Decisions on completed files will begin as soon as possible, with the process continuing through February.

The online application is available starting in September at the Graduate Division Website. Applicants can check the status of their application online as well as review if there are any missing items. Should you have questions please contact

I am interested in receiving financial aid during my studies. Is aid available?

Admissions decisions are made independently of financial aid, and students are generally supported by a variety of fellowships and research and teaching assistantships during their time in residence. These appointments pay fees, tuition, and a competitive stipend. Students are encouraged to seek outside fellowships to help finance their graduate studies. Many of our students are supported by NSF, Whitaker, NPSC, Hertz, etc., as well as other governmental and corporate sponsorships.

What are the application fees?

Admissions application fees are $80 for domestic applicants and $100 for international applicants.

I cannot afford to pay the application fee. Can I defer the fee until I am admitted?

We understand the financial difficulties associated with application to graduate programs, however, the application fee cannot be deferred or waived, except for U.S. citizens and permanent residents who qualify based on financial need. In all other cases, the University will not allow an application to be considered unless it is accompanied by the application fee.

I am interested in working for a specific faculty member. Should I send my application directly to them?

Admission decisions are made by a departmental committee. Students apply to the department, rather than to a professor, and decisions are made on overall qualifications, independent of research interest. Upon entering our graduate program, the faculty present the research projects that are available, to allow for an informed advisor selection process. Students are also encouraged to meet with a number of faculty members before making a choice of thesis advisor.

What kinds of research projects are pursued by graduate students in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UC Berkeley?

In broad terms, research in the department can be divided into the following areas:

  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
  • Complex Fluids: Polymers and Colloids
  • Electrochemical Engineering
  • Electronic Materials
  • Environmental Engineering and Energy
  • Molecular Theory and Simulation

List of CBE faculty sorted by subject area

In addition, some of our students choose to work with a broader set of faculty ranging from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories to the Department of Chemistry (for example: Alivisatos, Francis, Geissler, Groves, Majda, Mathies, and Tilley) and the College of Engineering (for example: Arkin, Dejonghe, Healy, Howe, Kumar, and Liepmann) on campus.

My undergraduate degree is not in chemical engineering but I would like to pursue a M.S. or Ph.D. in chemical engineering. What are my chances of being admitted to your program?

Admission to the graduate program in chemical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley is highly competitive. While an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering is not a formal requirement for admission, we expect students to have completed the equivalent of our own undergraduate required curriculum. This includes (number of semester units in parentheses):

  • General Chemistry (8)
  • Organic Chemistry (5)
  • Inorganic Chemistry (3)
  • Physical Chemistry (6)
  • Physical Chemistry Laboratory (3)
  • Introduction to Chemical Process Analysis (3)
  • Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics (3)
  • Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Engineering (3)
  • Transport Processes (6)
  • Separation Processes (3)
  • Chemical Engineering Laboratory (3)
  • Chemical Process Design (3)
  • Dynamics and Control of Chemical Processes (3)

I am thinking of applying but I am worried that my background and qualifications are such that I won't be accepted. Is there someone I can call who can tell me if I'll be accepted before I apply?

As much as we would like to offer pre-screening, regrettably we do not have the resources to offer this service. We recommend that you contact the advising staff at your own undergraduate institution for an evaluation of your current record and suggestions regarding where to apply for graduate school. Your undergraduate record, performance on the GREs, any undergraduate research experience, letters of recommendation, and your personal statement are all considered in our final decision regarding admission.

I've been working several years since I graduated from college. Do I need references from faculty members?

Yes, get at least two academic references. You may add one or two professional references if you wish.

My undergraduate degree is in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. I have such happy, fond memories of the department that I cannot bear the thought of pursuing graduate studies away from Cal. Can I go to Berkeley for graduate

Although nearly all of the best chemical engineers are Berkeley graduates, this department, like most other top chemical engineering departments, feels strongly that its undergraduates are better served by pursuing graduate studies in a new and different environment. Thus, unless you have obtained a degree elsewhere or have substantial industrial experience since you graduated from Berkeley, we will not admit you to the department for graduate work.

Do I need to take a Subject (e.g., Engineering or Chemistry) GRE exam?

For admission to Berkeley, only the Verbal, Analytic, and Quantitative portions of the GRE are required. However, many fellowship programs, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, require a subject exam. We encourage students to take a subject exam and pursue these Fellowship opportunities. Such fellowships are awarded to you as an individual and go with you to the institution you choose for graduate study. Such a fellowship often means that you are not dependent on "funded projects" at your new institution and enhances your freedom to choose a project. More information regarding Fellowships is available on the Financial Support page.

When should I take the GRE?

October is the best time to take the GRE. It assures that your scores are provided to the Universities you release them to on a timely basis and allows us to make admissions decisions at the earliest possible date. We must have the scores BEFORE January. Computer tests, from which the scores are available immediately, are available on demand from the GRE for an additional charge. Test results must be officially released to the University of California, Berkeley. The institution code is 4833, and the department code is 1001. For more information about the GRE, see the ETS website.

I am an international student and I would like to apply for admission to the graduate program. Do my chances of being admitted differ from those who can establish permanent residency?

Unfortunately, recent changes in the University of California budget make it difficult for this department to accept students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. As a result, the department is able to accept only a small fraction of the many highly qualified international students who apply. The MINIMUM requirements for admission include: a grade point average of 3.0 and minimum score for the TOEFL is at least a 90 on the (Internet-based test) iBT. The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering requires that applicants be able to demonstrate an A- or better undergraduate record. The department requires all applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination. The Advanced section of the Graduate Record Examination is not required. All applicants must have an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering or equivalent training.

I will be in town and I would like to stop by and tour the department. Can I drop in on a few faculty members and research groups at that time?

While everyone is welcome to take the Berkeley campus tour, regrettably the department cannot accommodate the many students who wish to make drop-in visits prior to being formally admitted to the department. Students who are admitted to the graduate program are invited to visit the department, meet with faculty and current graduate students, and tour labs and facilities at the department's expense in the early spring. During those visits, faculty and graduate students make every effort to clear their schedules of the many obligations and appointments which may make them unavailable at other times. We strongly urge you to plan to visit the department during one of our scheduled "recruiting weekends". The dates and details of these will be included in our offer of admission.

What is the Personal History Statement?

The Personal History Statement is required from all applicants. Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose.

Please describe how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on the following:

  • How you have overcome barriers to access higher education
  • How you have come to understand the barriers faced by others
  • Your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education
  • Your research focusing on under served populations or related issues of inequality
  • Your leadership among such groups

Chemistry Grad FAQ

Graduate studies in Chemistry

FAQ's for prospective chemistry graduate students:

What GPA is required for admission?

The minimum grade point average required for admission is 3.0.

Are there minimum scores required for the GRE?

No minimum scores are required. The Chemistry Subject GRE is optional, but highly recommended.

How Important Is Undergraduate Research In Evaluating An Application?

Undergraduate research is a decisive factor in admission. It reflects the applicant's depth of interest in chemistry, potential for commitment to a doctoral program, and potential scientific creativity.

What Financial Aid Is Available To Graduate Students?

All students admitted to our graduate program receive a stipend for the duration of study in the form of teaching and research assistantships as long as they are in residence and demonstrate good progress toward the degree. Most funds for this support derive from research contracts and grants.

My Application Is Not Completed By The Application Deadline, Will I Still Be Eligible For Fellowships?

Your application must be complete, including letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores, by the application deadline to be eligible.

How Many Applicants Are Offered Admission Each Year?

The numbers vary, but the department usually receives about 700 applications each year. The number of applicants offered admission depends on the admission allotments determined annually by the Graduate Division. Each year the department receives far more qualified applicants than can be admitted.

Does The Department Offer A Master Of Science (Ms) Degree?

The department only admits students for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. Students normally complete the Ph.D. program in four to six years.

How Many International Students Are Admitted Each Year?

Due to funding considerations only a few of the most outstanding international students can be admitted each year. However, we are firmly committed to the continued admission of exceptionally qualified international students

Can The Toefl Requirement Be Waived?

Yes, the TOEFL requirement can be waived if you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university at the time of application

Can I Be Admitted To Start In The Spring Semester?

No, we admit our students to begin their studies in the fall semester only.

Commencement FAQ

Graduate studies in Chemistry

The College of Chemistry is pleased that you are able to attend the graduation ceremony of your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, coworker, or friend. Below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions.

How long is the ceremony?

The ceremony lasts approximately 2 hours.

What time should I arrive at Zellerbach Auditorium?

Doors will open for guests at 1pm.

Where is the best place to park?

Commencement parking is available in any “S” student lot without a permit.  Tickets to display on your dashboard may be purchased from an attendant or a dispensing machine on site.  For a listing of “S” lots please visit the Commencement Ceremony Parking & Transportation website.

Will I/We need tickets for Commencement? How much are tickets?

Yes. All guests must have a ticket to enter Zellerbach Auditorium. Tickets are available for students to pick up in advance.  Each graduating student that signs to participate in the ceremony may pick up tickets in person at the College of Chemistry Ticket Distribution in April. Detailed emails are sent to students in regards to how to obtain tickets.

Do children need tickets?

According to Zellerbach Auditorium policy infants and toddlers will need their own ticket.

Are the graduating students' names called at the College of Chemistry Commencement ceremony?

Yes. All graduates will be individually recognized and called up on stage. 

Our family name is hard to pronounce. What can we do?

Students are asked to spell their names phonetically when they RSVP for the ceremony.  The faculty try to get the pronunciation right.

Are diplomas given out at the ceremony?

No. Attending the commencement ceremony does not mean that a student has graduated. Some students attend the ceremony in May and will not finish all degree requirements until the end of summer session or the following Fall semester. The ceremony takes place before the final grades and GPA are filed for the Spring semester. The ceremony is strictly celebratory.

How are diplomas received?

It takes up to four months for all of the degree checks and verifications to be processed. Diplomas are not mailed automatically because students often leave Berkeley without updating their addresses. Students can arrange for a final transcript and diploma to be sent to them by visiting the Office of Registrar's website.

Where and when is the University Convocation?

Convocation, the University graduation Ceremony, will be held May 18th 2019 at Memorial Stadium . All graduating students (regardless of their major) are welcome to attend this event. This is a ticketed event. Seniors — please visit the Seniors website.

Where can I get information about dining and lodging?

For a listing of restaurants and hotels in the Berkeley area, please visit the Berkeley's Visitor Bureau website.

College of Chemistry Building Access

Campanile & Latimer Hall at night. Photo Keegan Houser

Where is the application on the CoC web site?

On any page, select Quick Links on the right side of the header. On the opened menu, click Building Access. You will be taken directly to the Building Management webpage where the login link resides. You can also click on Admin & Support and select Building Access Information. It will also take you to the Building Management page.

How do I report a problem?

Please contact Binhtri Huynh at for all technical issues.

I am new to the College of Chemistry. How do I get access to the buildings and my office and/or laboratory?

If you already have a CalNet ID, log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS), complete the required fields, and “Submit.” You will receive an email confirmation of the submission and your PI, Supervisor or group delegate will be asked to approve your access and appointment information. You will also receive an email upon approval or denial of your request. Once approved, you will need to go to the CoC Building Management Office in 119 Gilman to pick up any physical keys. Please read Key Policy for hours of business and deposit requirements.

If you are a first year graduate student in the departments of Chemistry or Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, then your record will have already been added to our system. You will be placed under your Departmental Chair until you join a research group.

If you do not have a CalNet ID,please got to to learn if you qualify for a CalNet ID and how to obtain one. A CalNet ID is required to gain access to the College facilities.

I was once in the College of Chemistry but had given up my keys and access when I left. I am now returning to the College of Chemistry. How do I reinstate my access?

If your employee ID and/or email address are still the same, your old record will be retrieved when you log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS). Once in the system, please update your information and add your current appointment. After submission, you will receive an email confirmation and your PI, Supervisor or group delegate will be asked to approve your access and appointment information. You will also receive an email upon approval or denial of your request. Once approved, you will need to go to the CoC Building Management Office in 119 Gilman to pick up any physical keys. Please read the Key Policy for hours of business and deposit requirements.

If your employee ID and email address are not the same, then you will need to apply as if you were new to the College of Chemistry (see question above).

I am not part of the College of Chemistry but I want to use some of the College’s research facilities (such as NMR or Molecular Graphics). How do I get access?

Check the Research Facilities web site  and look up the process to gain access to the facility you want to use.  Any electronic access has to be approved and requested by the facility manager.

I am not part of the College of Chemistry but there’s agreement with my PI to use College facilities. How do I get access?

Please follow the step outlined in the question "I am new to the College of Chemistry...". In the appointment section, if you cannot find your PI's name in the drop down list, then you cannot proceed. You can contact to check if an account is in the process of being created. If the name of your PI is on the list but after submitting you get an error message stating that a valid PI cannot be found, that means that your PI's information might be incomplete. Please contact Binhtri Huynh at to resolve the issue.

How do I obtain additional building access and/or keys once I already have access?

Please contact your supervisor, PI or delegate. This person will create a request for you. Then, you will need to go to the CoC Building Management Office in 119 Gilman to pick up any physical keys. Please read Key Policy for hours of business and deposit requirements.

How do I request additional keys for somebody else?

As a PI/Supervisor/Delegate, you can request keys for another person, even if the person is not part of your group/unit.

If the person is already in the System, select "Find a Person." Query the System for the person you are looking for and click "View" to open the record. Under "Request Additional Keys," select the location for additional access. After changes are saved, a confirmation email will be sent to the person and Building Management.

If the person is not yet in the System, then the person must follow the step outlined in the question "I am new to the College of Chemistry..."

Do I need to update My Record in the Building Access system if I have a new Campus Cal1 card?

Yes, you will need update your record in the system since access is contingent upon each person's unique proximity number that is read by the door controllers. Log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS), go to "My Record," and update the Cal1 and proximity number (usually the first set of 5 or 6 digits). Once Updated, an email will alert Building Management to the new proximity number.

What do I do if I receive an email asking me to review a request?

If you are a supervisor, PI or delegate for a research group or administrative unit, you will receive requests from new personnel and existing personnel with updates. Log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS) and you will be taken to the requests page. Review each request and make any necessary edits to approve, or you may deny the request entirely. If you are denying the request, please include a comment for the reason. The requester will receive a message about your decision either way. Upon approval, Building Management will receive electronic notification to dispense any requested keys and set electronic card access.

If you are not the supervisor, PI or delegate for that person, then check that your own record and appointments are up to date. You can deny the request if you believe that the person has selected the wrong research group or administrative unit. Report any problems to Binhtri Huynh at

What do I do about somebody who has left but still shows under my group/unit?

If you are a PI/Supervisor/Delegate, you can end an appointment for a person who has left your group/unit. Log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS) and select "My Group/Unit." Click the "View" button for the individual. On the current record page, under Appointments, click the End button for the appointment you want to end. Fill in the end date and the comment field, then Confirm your action. The person will still be active in the System but will not be associated with your group/unit anymore. A confirmation email will be sent to you, Building Management, and the individual.

How do I add somebody who is part of my group/unit but does not show up under “My Group/Unit?”

If you are a PI/Supervisor/Delegate, you can add the person to your group/unit. Log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS) and select "Find a Person" on the main page. Query the system for the person you are looking for. If the person's name is listed, click "View" to open the record. On the current record page, under Appointments, click "Add a new Appt". On the appointment page, fill the required fields and click the Add button. You will then be able to request additional keys and/or access for the individual, if necessary, on the Current Record page. A confirmation email will be sent to you, Building Management, and the individual.

If the person's name is not listed, then the person is not in the System and will need to follow the steps in the question "I am new to the College of Chemistry."

How do I get access to the storeroom?

If you are already affiliated with the College of Chemistry, log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS) and go to "My Record." You will see that you either already have Storeroom access or there is a box for you to select yes to "Do you need stockroom access?" Click Update to save your changes. An email will be sent to your PI/Supervisor/Delegate requesting approval. Upon approval, you will receive an email with instructions and a form to complete before taking the mandatory tour of the Storeroom with the Storeroom Manager who will then grant you access. A confirmation email will be sent to you and your PI/Supervisor/Delegate.

If you are not affiliated with the College of Chemistry, you will need a paper Interdepartmental Order/Charge (formerly IOC form) that you will present to the Storeroom Manager during regular business hours to establish access. For customers who would like to use the storeroom on a regular basis, please contact with the name and department of the PI to be recharged as well as a valid chart string (and speedtype if available). Once the recharge information is added to our system, users can request storeroom access using the Building Access application.

How do I know what access/keys my group/unit currently has?

If you are a PI/Supervisor/Delegate, you can check what access/keys your group and unit members have under "My Unit/Group." You can check individual records by clicking on the "View" button. The list also displays who has Storeroom access.

How do I set my default speedtype for Storeroom and/or cylinder checkout?

Go to "My Record." If you have no updates to make to the first page, click "Continue," which will take you to the appointment records. For each appointment, a Default Speedtype can be entered. Click "Update" to save. Your PI/Supervisor/Delegate will receive an email asking for approval of the update. Once approved, your default speedtype will be set.

How do I check the default speedtype for people in my group/unit?

Select "My Unit/Group." The list of group/unit members displays the current default speedtype. You can change or add a Default Speedtype by clicking "View" for a specific record and updating the Default Speedtype field under the appointment. Click "Update" to save any changes.

I am leaving the College of Chemistry. How do I get back my key deposit?

All keys should be returned to Building Management prior to your appointment being ended in the System (See Key Policy). Once the keys are returned, Building Management will return your key deposit and update the access in the System. Alternatively, a police report has to be completed for all non-returned keys.

My question is not on the FAQs?

Please contact Binhtri Huynh at if you have any questions or comments.

How is incorrect information in the College of Chemistry directory updated?

Log into the application (BUILDING ACCESS) and then you may update the information for yourself by going to "My Record." If you are a PI/Supervisor/Delegate, you can update the record of person in your group/unit. Select "My Group/Unit" and "View" to open the record of the person to update the necessary information. Save the changes. A confirmation email will be sent to you and your PI/Supervisor/Delegate.