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Student working in a lab

Undergraduate research

Chemistry students may choose from an array of chemistry research options that allow them to work one-on-one with world renowned faculty in a laboratory environment. Research students benefit from personal attention and excellent academic and career advising.

Get started as early in your undergraduate career as possible so you have a chance to build your skills and contribute to the research in the laboratory you work in. You may find that you can join a laboratory in your freshman year and continue until graduation.

  • Step 1: Learn about the research going on in the department and beyond and identify two or three areas that interest you.
    • Visit faculty web pages to learn about their fields of interest
    • Talk to your faculty advisor
    • Talk to other students and your TA's about their research
    • Look at the posters in the hallways of the department
  • Step 2: Contact two or three faculty members and ask for an appointment
    • Discuss their research and the possibility of an undergrad position in their lab
    • If you don't hear back within a few weeks, send another email or drop by their office

Science research

What is research?

Research is the systematic investigation to establish facts or principles. That is, it is the opportunity to learn new things about nature that no one has learned before. Research is your chance to add to the textbooks that students coming behind you will use to study your field of chemistry.

Why do research?

  • Challenge yourself
  • Contribute to knowledge
  • Learn more about something that interests you passionately
  • Learn what research is all about
  • See if you want to go to graduate school or get a "real" job
  • Build relationships with senior scientists
  • Have something to present in Capstone in Chemistry (C495)
  • Get Advanced Chemical Elective credits
  • Be eligible for an UROP or SROP award
  • Be able to swipe your own CrimsonCard to get into a research lab
  • Have an edge in your job search/grad school application/professional school application; many employers, graduate schools, professional schools look very favorably on undergraduate research experiences
  • Get a reference letter from a Professor
  • Get a "research notation" on your transcript
  • Attend and present your work at a local, regional or even national scientific conference
  • Contribute to a paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal

Get the most from your research

Finding a mentor is just the beginning of your research experience. Once you've found a research home:

  • Be aware of the expectations that your research mentor has of you
  • Talk to your research mentor; no question is too simplistic if it helps you understand and do the experiment
  • Take the opportunity to learn about careers in science and to begin to build a network of people who will help you accomplish your goals
  • Above all, commit to your work and enjoy yourself

Research funding and programs


The Center for Research and Learning maintains a list of many IUPUI sponsored Undergraduate Funding Opportunities. Several of these that may be of interest to you include the University Research Opportunities Program (UROP), Multidisciplinary undergraduate research institute (MURI), and Commitment to Excellence in STEM Scholarship (contact Angel Campbell).

Academic year undergraduate research programs

Life-health sciences internships

Life-Health Sciences Internships connect IUPUI life and health sciences undergraduates with research and professional experience internships on and near the IUPUI campus. This program helps students to explore their career objectives and future career pathways while also fostering valuable professional connections between students and faculty and staff. The students belong to a community of interns and mentors who support one another throughout the internship experience and beyond. 

Learn more and apply

Science alum rocks for Riley

Ashley Riley 2014 Alumna, B.S. Chemistry, Forensic & Investigative Sciences, Pre-Med
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