Undergraduate Research

We encourage all chemistry students to become involved with research. The benefits are many:

  • development of skills associated with working in the chemical literature
  • development of advanced laboratory skills and methods of data archival and analysis
  • increased interactions with your peers and faculty within the department
  • greater exposure to state-of-the art instrumentation used in chemical research
  • easier transition to graduate study or employment
  • flexible scheduling of research time (as opposed to structured teaching labs)
  • increased self-confidence and independence in laboratory research
  • development of written and oral communication skills
How to Start Research in the Chemistry Department
  • Before or during add/drop read about the different research activities conducted by chemistry faculty and research opportunities they have for students in their labs.
  • Email faculty whose research you are interested in and ask about opportunities for the upcoming semester.
  • When you find a research opportunity, fill out the appropriate research form and follow the instructions on it. See Research Courses below.
  • You will be given an override for the research course during add/drop and you need to register before the end of add/drop.
  • If this is your first semester of research, you will also have to enroll in Chem 195, Research Practices in Chemistry. 
Research Courses
  • CHEM 195: Research Practices in Chemistry - Laboratory safety and environmental health in the practice of chemistry research. Includes instruction in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. Chemistry 195 is a pre-/co-requisite for all chemistry research courses, and thus must be taken concurrently with the student’s first research course
  • CHEM 190: Freshman Honors Research - allows students to become involved in independent research for credit in the spring of their freshman year.
  • CHEM 290: Sophomore Research - you can take CHEM 290 for credit in the sophomore year. The credit earned through CHEM 290 counts towards the GPA, but does not apply to the 120 hour minimum for graduation.
  • CHEM 390: Junior Research - you can take CHEM 390 for credit in the junior year. The credit earned through CHEM 390 counts towards the GPA, but does not apply towards the 120 hour minimum for graduation. Chem 390 students will have to attend the Chemistry seminars on Friday afternoons.
  • CHEM 490: Senior Research - you may take this course for 1 – 3 credits per semester with a maximum of 6 credits. ACS approval requires a minimum 3 credits in this course. The major writing requirement may be fulfilled by enrolling concurrently in CHEM 490W. Chem 490 students will have to attend the Chemistry seminars on Friday afternoons.
  • CHEM 495/496: Honors Research - open to students who meet guidelines set by the College and have the permission of their research advisor. Chem 495/496 students will have to attend the Chemistry seminars on Friday afternoons.

Students are sometimes interested in research projects conducted in other departments, especially VIMS or applied science. We have developed guidelines for this sort of project. The research must be chemically oriented and approved by the department. Consult with the Director of Undergraduate Research for details.