Undergraduate Research

Working In a Lab

Start early, don't wait until your junior year!

Undergraduate researchers usually start out in a laboratory as laboratory technicians, performing tasks such as washing dishes, autoclaving, and performing library searches. As the students become more comfortable in the lab, duties begin to shift toward procedures such as a novel synthesis, electrophoresis or simple reactions. Once enough technical expertise is achieved, students can move on to a research project. The earlier you start, the sooner you will be ready to tackle your own project.

Undergraduates don't just get experience - many of them get published!  Many of our undergraduates complete enough work to be listed as one of the authors on a research paper--including the potential to be the first author! 

Check out the research programs of our faculty and the labs tab that lists faculty available to support undergraduate trainees.

Undergraduate Research Application

CHEM 4800

Chem 4800 is not a normal class, it is an experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours a week will I need to work?

The numbers of hours you will work depends on the lab and professor you are working with. If you can't commit to 15-20 hours a week in the lab, still apply! There are many different roles in our labs that may be available for you.

Will I get paid for my work?

This depends on the lab and what funding is available. Research, whether paid or unpaid, is still a valuable experience that we encourage undergraduates to participate in. 

I didn’t get into the lab I wanted, what should I do next?

Sometimes labs don’t have room for all of the students that apply, so you can wait a couple months and email the professor again to see if any openings have come up, or you can find another interesting lab you’d like to be a part of. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get into a lab on your first few tries; that’s pretty normal.

How can I get help with writing grants, or preparing for presentations?

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies has many great resources and helpful advice on how to create your poster, draft a proposal, prepare for an oral presentation, or even how to write a CV. Also, visit the Science Writing Center to find out more about where you can get one-on-one advice for your writing or your presentation.

Can my research count for academic credit?

Yes, it can. CHEM 4800 is gives academic credit for student's undergraduate research projects. There is a section with more information at the top of this page.