Chemistry Research

Research Overview

Our Department consists of a research-oriented faculty, postdoctoral fellows and over 50 graduate students. Our facilities support a wide variety of research, within and across the traditional boundaries. Our ties with the chemical industry and with government agencies stimulate the generation of new ideas while increasing the range of job opportunities open to our graduates. Indeed, our alumni have attained important positions in academic institutions, industry and government laboratories.

Undergraduate Research

  • Chemistry 397 Guidelines

    CHEMISTRY 397, INDEPENDENT WORK - Variable Credit
    Individual research under supervision of faculty member. Not limited to chemistry majors. Students must make formal application and receive approval of instructor and Department before the end of the drop/add period.

    May be repeated for credit. No more than four credits of CHEM 397 may be used to satisfy major requirements for chemistry. Written report of work required.

    NOTE: Chem 397 cannot be used to satisfy the organic, physical or analytical chemistry laboratory requirements for a chemistry major. Four credits of Chem 397 can be used to satisfy the Math-Science elective requirement for the BS degree and the chemistry elective for the BA degree.


    • Consent of instructor.


    • See restrictions in the catalog description above.
    • Enrollment in CHEM 397 for a maximum of 2 credits in the second half of any semester is permitted upon approval of an application submitted and approved prior to the established deadline for registration for "second-half" courses.
    • Credit for research not performed in the Chemistry Department requires written application and justification for study and sponsorship of a Chemistry faculty member who will assign the grade.
    • Stipend and credit for the same work will normally not be allowed.
  • Chemistry 497 Guidelines

    Individual research under direct supervision of faculty member. Requires more extensive preparation than CHEM 397. Required for Honors Program in Chemistry.

    *If you are considering Honors Program in Chemistry, you should examine the Guidelines early in your Junior year.

    Before advanced registration, student must make formal application and receive approval of instructor and department. May be repeated for credit. No more than twelve credits total of CHEM 397 and 497 may be used to satisfy major requirements for chemistry. Written report of work required.


    • Consent of instructor and approval of the UPC Chair.
    • Demonstrated potential for independent study.


    • See restrictions in the catalog description above.
    • Credit for research not performed in the Chemistry Department requires written application and justification from study and sponsorship of a chemistry faculty member who will assign the grade.
    • Stipend and credit for the same work will normally not be allowed.
    • Average of "B" or better in the last twelve courses.
    • Junior standing.


    • Application must be made to the Independent Work and Honors Advisor of the Chemistry Department no later than the end of the drop/add period.
    • Application forms are available for the Chemistry Department Office (S2-236), and must:
      • list all chemistry and science division courses taken to date;
      • list the last twelve courses attempted and the grades received;
      • present a one to two page prospectus of the proposed project which includes background information, experimental methods, and appropriate literature references; and
      • include approval by the faculty member proposed to be the supervisor of the project.
  • Chemistry 498 Guidelines

    Application and registration procedures are the same as for CHEM 397 and/or 497. In addition, the following guidelines have been established.

    • For admission, a student must meet the following criteria:
      • shall be entering his/her last semester and be an undergraduate major in chemistry.
      • shall have completed at least two credits of CHEM 497.
      • shall have been approved and registered for 4 credits of CHEM 498 during the last semester.
      • shall be recommended for the Honors Program by the faculty member who is supervising the research project.
    • Applications are submitted to the Undergraduate Program Committee Chair in the first semester of the senior year, usually during registration for classes, but no later than the first day of classes of the student's last semester.
    • The application must include a prospectus of about five pages, complete with references, which will summarize work completed to date and will describe plans for completion of the project.
    • To receive Honors, the candidate must successfully write and defend a thesis based on his or her research. Successful defense is indicated by signatures of the defense committee on the signature page of your thesis.
    • The thesis shall conform to the editorial standards for theses established by the Graduate School.
    • Copies of the thesis must be submitted to the thesis advisor and members of the oral examination committee at least one week prior to the oral examination.
    • The defense of the thesis shall be by an oral examination by a committee of no less than three faculty members approved by the Undergraduate Program Committee Chair and chaired by the faculty supervisor.
    • Candidates whose theses are accepted and defended successfully will be awarded the honor "Distinguished Independent Work in Chemistry."
    • A successful defense of your thesis is indicated by signatures of members of your defense committee on the signature page of your thesis. You must show the signature page, signed by your committee, to either the secretary in the Department Office (SN, Room 2111) or the Undergraduate Program Director.
    • You need to submit your Independent Honors Thesis to the Library Archive

      Please also send a complete copy of your Independent Honors Thesis to Julia Nejeschleba at to file in the Chemistry Department archives.



    • Complete your experiments.
    • Write your thesis. Start early in your last semester with writing. Consult with your research adviser for details. Students often underestimate the time it takes to complete the thesis. Plan to submit a first draft to your adviser for approval no later than 1 month before the end of classes.
    • Assemble your honors thesis defense committee. Start asking faculty members if they want to serve on your committee in the middle of your last semester.
    • Two weeks before your defense, submit the thesis to your committee members.
    • Two weeks before the end of the semester, defend your thesis to the committee in an oral examination. You will have to schedule the defense and reserve a room. The first 25 minutes of the defense will be a presentation of your research (open to the public), followed by a closed-door defense of the thesis, typically involving questions and suggestions by the committee members.
    • Make revisions to your thesis as recommended by the committee members, if needed.
    • Submit your original thesis and at least four copies to the Bartle Library circulation desk for binding. The library will keep the original and one copy. The department and your adviser will also receive copies. You can keep the last copy.


    • Format - The format should generally be similar to Masters and Doctorate theses (but shorter). Pages are formatted double spaced, 12 point font on letter paper format with margins of 1 to 1.5". For recommendations for total number of pages, please consult with your research adviser.
    • Sections - The major sections of the thesis are title page, table of contents, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, conclusions, acknowledgements, references and appendix (if needed).
      • Title Page - The title page should include the title, name of student and research adviser, and the date. The title should be concise and capture the major aspects of the work that has been done.
      • Table of Contents - Includes page numbers for the sections and sub-sections of the thesis.
      • Abstract - The abstract should be no longer than one page, and contain a very brief introduction into the subject of the research, statement of the problem, followed by a summary of the most important results and conclusions. The purpose of the abstract is to provide a potential reader with a summary of what has been done, why it was done, and what it means at a glance.
      • Introduction - Should include a brief review of the relevant literature, objectives of the research, open questions that were addressed, and a statement of why your problem was an important one to study. The introduction should not be a lengthy review of the general field of study. Focus on what is important for the specific research performed for your honors thesis.
      • Materials and Methods - This section should include a description of the methods that have been used, instruments, procedures, computations, data analysis, etc. Of special emphasis are new procedures that you have developed, as well as modifications to existing instrumentation and procedures. The main purpose of this section is to provide sufficient detail that your research can be replicated by another student continuing your project in your own laboratory, or someone in another laboratory.
      • Results - Describe the data you have collected and their analysis in detail, including sufficient description to be understood. Always state why particular experiments were done. Show statistical analysis to demonstrate whether your data are statistically significant. Use equations, figures and tables where necessary to illustrate your results. Interpretation of the results should be largely avoided in this section.
      • Discussion - The discussion section focuses on the explanation and interpretation of the results, both positive and negative. Write about what the overall meaning of your results is, and how it can be put into context with the existing literature. Do not just repeat the results. For most students, this is the most difficult section to write, so leave enough time to write a well-thought-out discussion.
      • Conclusions - A brief statement, no longer than one page, which summarizes the most important findings of your research, what they mean, and what their context with existing work is.
      • Acknowledgements - Here, you have to list people, institutions, services, etc., which were instrumental in achieving your goals. Include funding agencies, if needed.
      • References - List the relevant literature in a citation style indicated by your adviser. For example:
        Author (last name, followed by initials), title of article, abbreviated journal title in italics or underlined, year of publication (boldface), volume number in italics or underlined, and initial page of cited article (the complete span is better).
        Endoh, T.; Hnedzko, D.; Rozners, E. Sugimoto, N. Nucleobase-modified PNA suppresses translation by forming triple helix with a hairpin structure in mRNA in vitro and in cells. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 899-903.
      • Appendix - The appendix contains any extensive tables of raw data, additional data (for example spectra) not needed for illustration of the main text or listings of computer programs written or modified.
    • A library of previous honors theses can be found in the Chemistry Department or the Bartle Library.
    • Guidelines for scientific writing can be found in at
  • Steps For Applying

    To apply for Chem 397, 497 or 498, undergraduates should follow these steps:

    • Please read the guidelines for Independent Study found at the back of this booklet.
    • Peruse this brochure and identify several faculty members whose research interests you.
    • Make an appointment and talk with the faculty members about their research and about the opportunities for undergraduate independent research in their research groups.
    • Choose a faculty member willing to act as research supervisor.
    • Fill out an application for independent study (available in the departmental office), and have the faculty member sign the application.
    • Submit application to the departmental office in the Science 2 Building (S2 236).
    • Independent Course Study Form
    • Advanced Independent Study Application

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Current Faculty Research

Research Facilities and Environment

The University's excellent science library is connected to the chemistry building (Science 2). University computing facilities are excellent. There are numerous computer pods around the campus, one being housed in the department. The Chemistry Department has also recently opened up its own computer pod in S2-126, which also serves as a meeting room for students to get help in their chemistry courses.

The department sponsors weekly colloquia in which well known visiting scientists describe their recent research results; these colloquia have become an integral part of life in the department. Periodically, the department also sponsors international symposia on special topics.

  • Some Major Departmental Instrumentation
    • LCQ Fleet Quadrupole Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer
    • Multinuclear FT-NMR (600, 400, 60 MHz)
    • Fourier-transform infrared spectrometers
    • Refelectance IR
    • Cicular dichromism spectrometers
    • Diode-array UV-Vis spectrometers
    • Stopped flow photometer-fluorimeter
    • Steady-state fluorescence and emission lifetime apparatus
    • Flash photolysis/pyrolysis apparatus
    • Powder X-ray diffractometer
    • Bruker AXS SMART Single Crystal X-ray Diffractometer
    • Gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer
    • Pulsed and C.W. tunable dye lasers
    • High-resolution mass spectrometer
    • High-pressure liquid chromatographs
    • Atomic absorption spectrometer
    • Precision calorimeter
    • Thermogravimetric analysis
    • Differential scanning calorimetry
    • High-performance capillary electrophoresis system

NMR Facilities of the Chemistry Department

The NMR Facilities of the Chemistry Department are located in the Smart Energy Building Lab 0200.

Learn more about the NMR facilities