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Instructions for Professor & Student

Course Objectives

Chemistry 49900 is a variable-credit course in which undergraduate students engage in research under the guidance of one of the professors in the chemistry department. The goal of the course is for students to actively participate in state-of-the-art research in chemistry. In so doing, the student will be exposed to research problems of current interest. They will also receive instruction and gain experience in (i) using modern research tools, (ii) carrying out research investigations, (iii) keeping a research notebook, (iv) analyzing data, and (v) communicating and disseminating their results.

Deciding on a Chemistry 49900 Research Project

Students are encouraged to begin their undergraduate research as soon as their course schedules allow. Chemistry 49900 can be taken multiple semesters, and the benefits to both student and research group increase as the length of time on a project increases. In making a decision on a Chemistry 49900 research project, students should look over the list of faculty participating in undergraduate research and their proposed research topics (listed by Division in the Table of Contents on the left side of the page). The chemistry department graduate brochure contains short synopses of the research being carried out in each faculty’s group. Information about research can also be obtained from the faculty member's web site. Students should make an appointment with two or three faculty to discuss potential research projects, and then decide on a project and undergraduate research advisor.

Research Reports

In order to assess the progress of students enrolled in Chemistry 49900, a written report of their research activity is required each semester a student is enrolled in the course. The American Chemical Society (ACS) guidelines for preparation of the semester report can be obtained from the ACS web site ( (accessed April 2009)). Students should follow this format in the preparation of their report. A copy of the semester report must be turned in to the research advisor.

A cover page which must be attached to each Chemistry 49900 report is available below. The Report Number indicates the number of semesters the student has been involved in Chemistry 49900 (i.e., 1 for the first semester of work, etc.).

At the end of the Chemistry 49900 experience, a final written report is required to be turned in to: (1) the research advisor, and (2) the Head of the Department of Chemistry (in the main office, BRWN 2100), no later than the first day of the exam schedule. Students are encouraged to look at examples of previous students’ final research reports shelved in the undergraduate chemistry lounge. An example of a Chemistry 49900 final research report is provided below.

The expectation is that the student will give an oral presentation of their research in Chemistry 49400.

Senior Thesis

Students who are participating in Chemistry 49900 during their senior year are encouraged to bring their Chemistry 49900 project to completion in the form of a senior thesis. The format for the senior thesis is the same as that for the individual semester reports, but the senior thesis should draw together and summarize their work from their entire Chemistry 49900 experience, which may have stretched over several semesters. The completion of a senior thesis is valuable to other students in the research group, records the research accomplishments in a format suitable for display during departmental reviews of the undergraduate program, and serves as a useful form for students to show potential employers or graduate schools.

Safety Information Training Session

Every student enrolled in Chemistry 49900 must take the two-hour safety training session.

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