Undergraduate Research in Chemistry
Undergraduate students that want to get a head start on research may choose to enroll in CHE 290. A student must have completed General Chemistry II (CHE 121) before signing up for CHE 290. Undergraduate students can also participate in research by registering for CHE 490. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their chemistry courses or have completed Organic Chemistry II (CHE 261) and Quantitative Analysis (CHE 240) before registering for CHE 490. Towards the completion of CHE 290 or CHE 490, students are expected to summarize their work in a research paper (less formal and shorter than a thesis). Students wishing to be more deeply involved in research are encouraged to register for CHE 490 and CHE 491 during consecutive semesters to complete an undergraduate thesis. The student is expected to write a formal proposal which involves a thorough literature search on a research topic. Research can begin only after approval of the submitted proposal by an internal department committee. Towards the conclusion of the second semester of research (CHE 491), the student must write a thesis which must also be approved by an internal department committee. Furthermore, the student must defend the research in an hour long oral defense. Prior to registering for CHE 490, the student must make the decision of doing research for one semester or committing to the six-credit thesis track (CHE 490 followed by CHE 491).
Undergraduate students also have the option of registering for department honors thesis research. The student does not have to be part of the Honor's College, but must have completed CHE 240 and CHE 261, have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA, have a minimum 3.2 chemistry courses GPA, and follow the deadlines set forth by the Honor's College. Department honors thesis research involves registering for HON 494 (first semester) and HON 495 (following semester). Similarly to non-honors thesis research, honor's thesis research requires a proposal that must be approved prior to beginning the research by an internal department committee during the first semester as well as approval of the final thesis and an oral defense. Both the honor's proposal and thesis are additionally reviewed by an honors college faculty. Click here to learn about the undergraduate proposal and thesis guidelines (honor's and non-honors).
Students are advised to register for CHE 301 before undergraduate research begins. A student may register only once for CHE 290, CHE 490, CHE 491, HON 494, or HON 495. A student can request that CHE 490, CHE 491, HON 494, or HON 495 be taken as W courses prior to registering. CHE 490, CHE 491, HON 494, and HON 495 are all upper level electives that can be counted towards completing the requirement for the BS degree in chemistry. However, CHE 290 does not count as one of the required elective of the chemistry degree.