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 you 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--and if you really work hard you could be the first author! 

Check out the research programs of our faculty and the "Labs" tab that lists faculty 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?

This completely depends on the professor you will be working with. Don’t worry if you can’t spend 15-20 hours a week in a lab, still apply and see if they will work with you.

Will I get paid for my work?

Again, this depends on the lab. Research experience is still well worth it, even if you don’t get paid for your time.

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 the class you are looking for. There is a section with more information at the top of this page.