Partners for Graduate School Experience in Chemistry (PGSEC)


Partners for Graduate School Experience in Chemistry (PGSEC) gives college juniors and seniors from primarily undergraduate institutions exposure to chemistry graduate school. This program is designed to reach out to students who might not have previously considered graduate school as a career path.

Program Overview

PGSEC UW-Madison

In conjunction with the Chemistry Opportunities (CHOPs) program, PGSEC students are invited to spend 2-3 days at UW-Madison. Travel accommodations and food are provided for students who attend PGSEC. Students will learn about various professors’ cutting-edge research and see what types of research you might expect to conduct as a chemistry graduate student. In addition, UW-Madison faculty and staff are available throughout the program to meet individually with students. Students also tour state-of-the-art facilities such as an NMR facility, high-performance computing cluster, X-ray crystallography laboratory, mass spectrometery laboratory, glass-blowing facility, and catalysis center.

We encourage PGSEC students to get a first-hand view of graduate school life by interacting with current UW-Madison graduate students during the program. Upon arrival to UW-Madison, each PGSEC participant is greeted by their graduate student host, and throughout the program, the hosts attend all PGSEC events. Students from past PGSEC programs have expressed how much they enjoy having the opportunity to ask graduate student hosts questions about their personal experiences in graduate school.

Finally, students get an opportunity to discover Madison and experience the welcoming, unique, and diverse culture. Past PGSEC programs have included tours of the state capitol, a visit to the State Street pedestrian shopping and dining area, and experiencing the Dane County Farmers’ Market at the Capitol.

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When is PGSEC?

The next PGSEC will be held October 1-4, 2020.

How do I apply to PGSEC?

Applications for PGSEC 2020 will become available in spring. For an application, please email

Current PGSEC Partner Schools

Indiana State University


How can you become a partner school?
For more information about how to become a partner school in the PGSEC program please email

Typical Schedule of Events

Thursday Evening

  • Current UW-Madison chemistry graduate students welcome CHOPs participants at the Dane County Regional Airport
  • Check-in to the Union South Hotel
  • Welcome dinner with graduate student hosts and an overview talk about UW-Madison


  • Breakfast and welcome talk with the department chair
  • Faculty research presentations
  • Microscopy workshops
  • Break out sessions (tour the Department of Biochemistry, School of Pharmacy, State Street, chemistry research labs, or meet with the graduate student services director)
  • Poster session and social hour
  • Dinner


  • Breakfast and presentation on attending graduate school at UW-Madison, the application process, application fee waiver, GRE prep, overview of funding opportunities, tips on creating a successful graduate school application
  • Tour of Madison
  • Dinner


  • Depart for home