Chemistry Undergraduate Research Opportunities
coordinator: Dennis Hore
office: ELL 318
Overview: CHEM 298, 398, 399, 498, 499
There are many opportunities to engage in exciting research
projects over one or two semesters. CHEM 298 and 398 are
not-for-credit ('COM' grade), CHEM 399 is 1.5 units of credit, and
CHEM 498 and 499 are 3 units of credit.
None of these are traditional 'courses' or 'labs', even though
they are listed under 'courses of instruction' in the calendar and
on the Chemistry website. They are an opportunity to do some
original work with a chemistry research faculty member. All of
these projects (even the two-semester CHEM 498 or 499) can start
in September, January, or May. You can take CHEM 298 and 398
as many times as you wish, but CHEM 399, 498 and 499 may be taken
only once. More specific details about these courses are
For any research project, the idea is that you would first find
somebody that offers a project that interests you. You can
start by taking a look at the descriptions of general research
areas on the chemistry
. Although the information on that page is very
brief (often just a few keywords) most people have links to their
individual research website where you can find more
information. After you find a few people who potentially
interest you, email them directly, stating you are looking for a
CHEM 298, 398, 399, 498 or 499 project. They will then email
you back to arrange a time to chat in person, during which time
they will provide you with some options for current available
projects in their lab. Feel free to email me or drop by my
office if you would like some advice on how to get started.
In all cases, it works best if you begin looking for a potential
match before the start of the semester in which you wish to begin
the work. Alternatively, you can leave this to the first
week of the term, but then you'll have to find an advisor and
decide on a project, all within a few days.
Details of Specific Courses
CHEM 298 or 398: Research Experience
This is intended for students who wish to gain some experience
in chemistry research. It is also a nice opportunity to
explore different areas before you get to your 4th year.
Please make suitable arrangements (as outlined in Section 1
above) directly with your chosen research advisor. CHEM298
or 398 is a one-term course worth 0 units.
1-page graphic summary. On or before the last day
of classes for the term, email me a single page "poster", 10"
(25.4 mm) wide x 7.5" (19.05 mm) tall. Put your name, CHEM
298 or 398, advisor's name, and title of the project somewhere
on the page. Use most of the page to illustrate your
project with one or two key graphics. Perhaps one-line
description or summary on there too. See some examples at the
top of this page.
Grading. You will receive a 'COM' grade, based on
the recommendation of your research advisor, after I receive
your graphic summary.
CHEM 399: Research Project
This project course (formerly known as CHEM 498) is a for-credit
version of CHEM 298/398. Suitable projects should have
exposure to research techniques, have a defined goal, and a very
good chance for completion within the time frame allowed.
CHEM 399 is a one-term course worth 1.5 units.
Final Report, recommended length is 5 pages. No
title page. Put your name, CHEM 399, date, advisor's name,
and the title of your project at the top of the first page.
Grading. The final grade will be based on your
advisor's assessment of your effort, research results,
performance in the lab, and your written report.
CHEM 498 or 499: Thesis-based Research Project
498/499A followed by 498/499B is a two-term course worth a total
of 3 units. Make sure to register yourself online for both parts
of this course. Note that you will receive a grade of 'INP' (in
progress) following completion of part A. After part B is
complete, the same grade will be given for both parts (replacing
the INP on your transcript). CHEM 499 is open to, and required
by, all chemistry honours
students. CHEM 498 provides
the same experience, but is open to all students.
This is an intensive research project. It would be
beneficial if you would have already made arrangements with a
research advisor prior to the start of the term, but you can do
this (quickly!) during the first week of the term.
As you are preparing to take CHEM 499, you should also consider
our new accelerated MSc program in Chemistry. After you have registered
in the course, talk to your research advisor for details.
, emailed to me in pdf format, on the
specified date (according to emailed instructions). Late reports
will receive a penalty of 5% per day.
The exact format should be decided upon through consultation
with your advisor. A suggested format includes a title page,
table of contents, abstract (200 words), introduction (purpose,
review and description of the research problem, review and
discussion of pertinent literature), experimental, results,
discussion, conclusions, bibliography. The report should
be no more than 20 pages (double spaced, 12pt font, 1" margins)
including all figures and bibliography. If you (or your
research advisor) would like to include additional data in the
form of an Appendix, that is okay, but it is understood that the
Appendix will not be read in grading the report. (The
Appendix may be useful to you or other members of your research
group in the future.)
A sample cover page in PDF format is available for download here
. (For LaTeX users, the
source file is available here
Presentation and Question Period
. You will give a
15-minute (max) presentation of the proposal and results. This
will be followed by a 10-minute question and answer session
during which two reviewers will take turns asking you questions
for 5 minutes each. Using a computer to project slides during
your talk is the normal style (more details in Section 3
below). You will probably find it useful to arrange a
practice talk with your research advisor prior to your CHEM 499
All students registered in CHEM 498/499B are required to
attend all presentations.
The detailed schedule will be
sent to you by email. The presentations will be scheduled 30
minutes apart. Please make sure that your talk is no more
than 15 minutes. I'll give you a 2 minute warning at 13
min, just so we can all stay on time.
I imagine that most of you will prepare slides in one of
.pdf/.ppt/.pptx./.odp format. The room (TBA) will have a
data projector. I'll help you in connecting to the
(1) If you want to transfer your slides to a USB memory key, I
recommend that you try to open the file on a different computer,
just to make sure it works. (That way you'll know that you
actually embedded all the photos, etc you imported, and that you
are not missing files, fonts, etc.)
(2) If you intend to use your computer, please make sure that
you have what is required to connect it to the projector.
The projector will have only a (standard, 15-pin) VGA
cable. Many computers these days (and all recent Macs)
require a separate adapter/dongle, as they don't have a VGA port
built-in to the computer. Worst case scenario, we can
always transfer your slides to someone else's computer, but in
that case note point #1 above! :)
. Grades for the course will be based on an
evaluation of your performance in the various components of the
course, together with an assessment written by your
advisor. The formula I currently use is:
final grade = 0.8*(advisor's recommendation) + 0.1*(presentation and question
) + 0.1*(written
Any questions, please feel free to contact me