Undergraduate Research

The opportunity to participate in cutting edge scientific research as an undergraduate is one of the most exciting features of Emory College. As early as freshman year, students can begin collaborating with a research group in the Chemistry department.
dyer lab research

Research transforms the knowledge obtained in courses into actual methods of investigation and creative approaches to problem solving. Undergraduates work alongside graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to pose and pursue questions central to the priorities of the research group.  Many of our students produce results that lead to publications, such as Qiushi "Ben" Yin 10C, who was the lead author on a Science publication citing his work on renewable energy. Ben yielded the most potent homogeneous catalyst known for water oxidation, a discovery considered a crucial component for generating clean hydrogen fuel using only water and sunlight.

You might be wondering....

How do I get started?

The best way to begin your research experience is to spend time looking at the faculty websites to identify what most interests you. Research requires a significant time commitment, so you need to be passionate about your area in order for the experience to be rewarding for both you and your advisor. You should then approach the individual faculty member to inquire if they have positions available. When you introduce yourself it is best if you are able to tell them about yourself - why you are interested and what courses you have taken (or other experiences you have had) that you think prepare you to do research in their lab.

Can I do research with faculty outside the Chemistry department?

In exceptional circumstances, students conducting research in a laboratory in another department can apply to the Chemistry Department Undergraduate Committee to have their research count for chemistry credit, if it is primarily chemistry based research.

How do I apply?

To apply you need to submit a petition with the following pieces of information:

  1. Write a description of the research, explaining the main research question (specifically of your research), the techniques you will be using, and the fundamental chemistry underlying the research. Please address this petition to the Undergraduate Committee, Department of Chemistry, and send a copy to both Prof. Doug Mulford (Director of Undergraduate Studies) and Prof. Susanna Widicus Weaver (Undergraduate Research Coordinator).

  2. Number of hours per week you have committed to your research (this should be discussed in advance with your faculty research advisor

  3. Also, have the Professor you will be working with send an email to Prof. Susanna Widicus Weaver (and copy Ethel Ellington, Undergraduate Program Coordinator), confirming that you are conducting research in his/her lab, which is heavily Chemistry based, and the number of hours per week you have agreed to spend on research

Once the committee has all of this information, they will be able to decide if the research is appropriate for Chemistry research credit.

I am not a Chemistry major, can I do research?

Due to the large number of chemistry majors with research interests and the relatively small size of our program, it will likely be difficult for you to find a position. If you go through the appropriate channels described above and find there are not suitable positions in chemistry, you should pursue research opportunities in your major field.