Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates may engage in a research experience by enrolling in CHEM 488 (Cooperative Chemistry Practice), CHEM 492 (Independent Study), or CHEM 499 (Supervised Research). If 488 is selected a student can use an internship to earn 1 credit hour when participating in an offcampus governmental or industrial training program. A student in 492 may do individual study in areas not covered in standard courses or do individual research for 1-2 credit hours. Students who select CHEM 499 will be working within a faculty member’s research laboratory for 3 credit hours. A maximum of 6 credit hours in CHEM 488, CHEM 492, and CHEM 499 may be combined to meet departmental undergraduate degree course requirements. Credit is contingent upon submission of a final report. Registration requires the individual faculty member’s unique call number which may be used once a prospective student has been accepted into the course.

An undergraduate interested in research in chemistry should begin by reviewing the research interests of the faculty (click on the desired faculty member’s name under the Faculty & Staff tab on the departmental website). When a student finds one or more individuals with whom they wish to work, an appointment is set up with the faculty member to discuss the possibilities. The faculty member decides whether or not a student has the requisite background to fit into their research program. Most faculty members prefer that an undergraduate work for a minimum of two semesters to allow ample time to finish a project.

At the end of each semester of research a student submits a final report. Students using research to satisfy the requirements for the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry or B.S. in Biochemistry must take 3 credit hours or more of CHEM 499 and submit a more comprehensive research report. Those students continuously engaged in research with the same faculty member may, with approval of the faculty member, defer submission of their comprehensive report and receive a deferred grade. The maximum time granted to a student to defer submission of the comprehensive report is until 1 year (2 semesters and 1 summer) of consecutive research with the same supervising faculty member is completed.

Chemistry and biochemistry majors are strongly encouraged to participate in research during their undergraduate careers. Research provides an opportunity to apply the principles learned in the classroom to an original problem. It is an invaluable asset for further graduate or professional studies. In addition, prospective employers strongly value the undergraduate research experience.