Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research provides in-depth exposure to the frontiers of chemistry and the culture of scientific research. Undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in chemistry or biochemistry are encouraged to seek out opportunities as freshman or sophomores to participate in the world-class research programs supervised by the Chemistry department faculty. The department offers diverse opportunities for scientific investigation within the areas of organic, biological, physical, or inorganic chemistry. In addition, many research programs are interdisciplinary and involve techniques and principles related to different areas of chemistry.

Students interested in becoming involved in a research project should contact individual faculty about the possibility of a position in their research group. This process should be initiated several months in advance of the planned starting date.

During the academic year, there are several research options for BC undergraduates. The Chemistry Department offers three main research courses for credit: CHEM4491-4492 is for sophomores and juniors who have shown exceptional ability and CHEM5591-5592 is for senior chemistry majors only. Senior Biochemistry majors may enroll in CHEM5593-5594. Students who enroll in one of these research courses must complete a Research Course Contract in consultation with their faculty advisor. Both the student and professor sign the contract and submit it to the Chair of Undergraduate Chemistry Studies.

There is also the option of doing research through the Scholar of the College program (CHEM5595-5596, Advanced Research in Chemistry) or through the College Honors Program. See the BC catalog for more details.

Some students opt for doing research as part of the work/study program, both during the academic year and the summer. If you qualify for work/study funds and are planning to engage in research within the department, discuss the possibility of getting paid through the work/study program with your faculty advisor. During the summer months, stipends for a number of students are paid from research grants or via a shared arrangement with the work/study program. See your faculty research advisor and get your plans set well in advance.

Some students will want to consider taking part in a research project at another university during the summer. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program that provides students with the opportunity to carry out research at participating institutions. A current listing of the participating REU sites can be obtained from the NSF website. The application deadlines for the REU program are in February and March.