Interested in undergraduate research opportunities in the Department of Chemistry? Follow these steps:
Pick a subject. Review the web pages of professors in the department and read about the research projects that are active in their group. You can usually categorize faculty research interests in the five main disciplines of chemistry: 1) organic, 2) inorganic, 3) analytical, 4) physical, and 5) biochemistry. However, many of the faculty members have research projects that span two or more disciplines (e.g. physical organic chemistry).
Meet with a professor. Decide which discipline (or project) might be of most interest to you, and communicate with a faculty member in that discipline via email, phone, or in-person. Let the professor know of your interest in undergraduate research, and ask the professor if he/she has space in his/her group to accommodate new students. Do this at least 4 weeks before the start of the next semester!
Write a research plan. With your professor, decide on your research objectives and plan how much time you will spend each week working on your new project. There are three classes in which you can enroll to receive academic credit for participating in undergraduate research. Although most faculty members will want students to enroll in one of these three classes, it is not absolutely necessary to do so, provided that the faculty member consents.
Hours / week you will work
Register. Consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to register for one of the undergraduate research classes, CHEM 4515, 4516, or 4517 and discuss how this will fit into your schedule. These classes differ in the amount of time spent working on research, and typically involve 3-9 contact hours per week. This number is negotiable with the faculty mentor but should be agreed upon before you sign up for the research class. Students should note that the CHEM 451X classes usually do not meet at a fixed time in a fixed location, but rather are modified on a case-by-case basis to accommodate the student and Professor’s schedules.
Every student participating in undergraduate research is required to write a research paper at the end of the semester. The paper does not have page length restrictions, but typically runs between 3 and 7 pages. It should clearly describe the objective, methods and results of the research that was conducted and be written in the scientific format with literature citations, figures, and tables as appropriate (your research mentor will provide guidance).
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