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How to Get Started

If you are interested doing research in the Chemistry Department, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by reviewing the different research areas in the department and the web pages of individual faculty, which usually have links to their research group websites. To help narrow down your search, see the ACS's page on the areas of Chemistry for more information. Do your homework, and don't worry if you get overwhelmed!

  2. Contact your top 2-3 choices by e-mail.

    • Explain that you are looking for a research advisor to do research for credit, and ask if they have space for an undergrad in their group.

    • This link has tips on how to write a email (PDF) specifically for requesting a research position.

    • You may want to attach your resume; For resume help, see the resources at the CCO!

    • Ask to meet to further discuss their research and available projects; this could be in person or virtual.

    • Be patient in waiting for a reply, and please don’t send out a mass email to many professors.

  3. The informal interview

    • Take your resume (even if you have already sent it)

    • Have questions prepared; ask about not only research, but their expectations of you and their group.

    • Each professor has their own requirements for completing research credit. Read the General CHM 49900 syllabus, and also ask the professor what they require from you during each semester (e.g., giving a talk, writing a summary report, etc.).

    • Ask to attend a group meeting (gives you a better idea of how the group interacts. While there make sure to talk to grad students or other undergrads about the group dynamics.)

  4. Making the decision

    • Choose a group that has interesting research and best suites your style. It is much easier to work when you get along with the group members!

    • Email or meet your chosen professor to let them know you would like to join their research lab.

    • Be sure to send thank you emails to the professors you met with who you decided not to work with.

    • Once they have emailed you back to confirm, you can register for CHM 49900.

  5. Registering for CHM 49900

  6. Safety training

  7. Getting started in the lab

    • Your first semester will usually entail becoming familiar with lab procedures and set-up. Don’t become discouraged! These are fundamentals that you will need to learn in order to do superior research.