Why research?

One of the major advantages of attending a university is the opportunity to participate in internationally recognized research programs. As well as giving you the opportunity to explore research as a possible career option, you will work with professional colleagues in what often becomes a lifelong professional relationship. Undergraduate research help those obtain a spirit of inquiry, initiative, independence, sound judgment, patience, persistence, alertness, and the ability to use the chemical literature. The Department of Chemistry strongly supports undergraduate research as one of the potentially most rewarding aspects of the undergraduate research.

There are many reasons why to request about the undergraduate research. One certainly is that the concepts learned in lecture courses become alive as they are applied to real situations. For students considering graduate studies, it is a chance to work along side graduate studies, it is a chance to work along side graduate students and postdoctoral associates and experience firsthand some aspects of graduate training. But perhaps even more important is the development, which comes from facing the challenge of designing an experiment or new type of calculation from scratch.

Although successful completion of an undergraduate research project is a requirement for graduation with Honors/Highest Honors, it is not necessary to be a participant in the honors program to undertake a research project.

Benefits you gain by participating in undergraduate research:

  • Your research director becomes your advisor for information on job opportunities, different graduate programs and various professional schools.
  • Your participation both develops and testifies to your independent thinking, a highly desirable trait in a scientist. Exit interviews conducted with graduating seniors indicate that a student who has participated in research early in his/her undergraduate career is better prepared for senior level chemistry courses.
  • Employers, graduate programs and professional schools will usually request letters and/or telephone calls from your research director. When you go to interviews, your research activities may become the central focus of the interview.

A Guide to Research

The following steps are recommended to getting started:

First, review the faculty research profiles and pick a few faculty members whose research areas appeal to you. Then, make an appointment with these faculty to discuss possible research opportunities in their group. Lastly, select one that best fits your interest. It would be helpful to have the following information available when visiting the faculty:

  • Chemistry courses you have finished or are under taking.
  • Amount of time you are available to carry out research (20 hr/wk max)
  • Your plan
  • Your available schedule
  • Understand the requirements of the research