Undergrad Research Opportunities

Undergraduates in the School of Molecular Sciences can enhance their preparation for careers in science by getting involved in cutting edge research. Working in a research group allows students to:

  • Develop critical thinking skills and cultivate independent work
  • Work with faculty mentors in interdisciplinary research groups
  • Experience the excitement of scientific discovery
  • Use state-of-the-art equipment
  • Publish results in scientific journals
  • Present results at scientific meetings
  • Receive college credit

Research requires a substantial time commitment but can be very rewarding. Research requires persistence, and a willingness to pursue difficult paths that may not reap immediate rewards. If you are interested in attending graduate school in chemistry or biochemistry then obtaining laboratory research experience is essential for a competitive application.

Get Started

How do I get started doing research?

Follow these steps to become involved in undergraduate research at Arizona State University School of Molecular Sciences:

STEP 1: Evaluate your goals, interests, and existing commitments.

STEP 2: Decide which research option fits you best (volunteer in a lab, be employed in a lab or gain course credit for a research experience).

There are several options available to create your own pathway:

• Volunteer:
Get to know a faculty member through the courses or seminars you attend. Talk to the faculty member about volunteer opportunities available in their laboratories.

• Work as a paid lab assistant:
Lab assistant jobs can be found through the ASU Student Employment link. Although these jobs may primarily involve routine tasks, such as glassware cleaning and chemical stock preparation, there are also opportunities for motivated students to perform research projects under faculty guidance.
 

• Gain course credit:
Obtain permission to work with a faculty member and submit your request online. The following courses are available for course credit for research: CHM/ BCH 392 Research; CHM/BCH 484 Internship; CHM/ BCH 492 Honors Individual Study; and CHM/ BCH 493 Honors Thesis.

STEP 3: Review faculty research profiles to find out what ASU research interests you.

Alternatively, you may consider off-campus research at:

STEP 4: Approach faculty or research project coordinator to learn more about the projects and opportunities in which you have an interest (contact faculty/unit from Step 3.)

Students are often tentative about approaching faculty but the fact is faculty and health care professionals not only want to share their work with you but they need your help to run their labs.

  • Make an appointment to visit with the professional in-person. You can call them or make an appointment via email correspondence but it is important to go speak with the professional in-person to discuss the project and your interests.
  • Make a list of questions to ask at the meeting.
  • Discuss your interest in being a part of the research team.

STEP 5:

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Research Class

How Do I Select The Research Class and get credit?

There are several different options for research classes depending upon your particular program as explained below.

  1. All classes have a BCH or CHM option. The BCH option should be selected by students who are in the BA Biochemistry, BS Biochemistry, or BS Biochemistry-Medicinal Chemistry concentration degree programs. The CHM option should be selected by students in the BA Chemistry, BS Chemistry, or BS Chemistry-Environmental Chemistry concentration degree programs. 
  2. All research classes are 1, 2, or 3 credit hours. Each student should choose the number of credits depending upon the time they will spend in the laboratory. Here is the credit hour guideline:

    Spring or Fall semesters (1, 2 or 3 credits permitted):
  • 1 credit = 4 hours/week in the lab for the semester.
  • 2 credits = 8 hours/week in the lab for the semester.
  • 3 credits = 12 hours/week in the lab for the semester.

Summer (1 or 2 credits are permitted):

For an 8 week Summer session, every 1 credit hour = 8 hours work in the lab per week

  1. Students may sign up for a research class for more than one semester.
     
  2. Students who are not completing a thesis for Barrett Honors College will always select the BCH 392 or CHM 392 class. 
     
  3. A student in the Barrett Honors College will choose:

a. BCH 493 or CHM 493 if you will write your thesis this semester and have completed BCH 492 or CHM 492 already 
b. BCH 492 or CHM 492 if you plan to write your thesis next semester 
c. BCH 392 or CHM 392 if you have no immediate plans to write your thesis.

For additional information about the thesis requirements of students in the Barrett Honors College see: BARRETT THESIS

Syllabus

What Are the Expectations of Students (Syllabus)?

BCH/CHM 392 - Introduction to Research Techniques Fall 2020

Instructor: Prof. George Wolf
Phone:(480) 965-3321
Email: GWolf@asu.edu
Office Hours: By appointment

Class Meetings: 
No class meetings will be held this semester.

Course Description:
Introduction to Research Techniques is a course designed to give credit to chemistry and biochemistry majorswho are conducting undergraduate research in the laboratory of faculty members of the School of Molecular Sciences or chemistry- or biochemistry-related undergraduate research with faculty members of other departments.

Students conducting chemistry- or biochemistry-related undergraduate research with faculty members of other departments (e.g. School of Life Sciences) can enroll in the class with PRIOR authorization of the instructor. These students MUST include in the web-based authorization page a short description of the research project in which they will be participating. Approval to enroll in this class will ONLY be granted after the student has provided the required information and the research advisor has approved the request for enrollment in this class.

Credit Hours and Time Commitments: 
Students have the option to enroll in this class during the fall and spring semester session for one or three credit hours. Students are required to dedicate a minimum of four hours per week per credit hour, as indicated below:

  • One credit hour: 4 hours/week
  • Two credit hours: 8 hours/week
  • Three credit hours: 12 hours/week

For summer semester, students are required to register for the 8 week session. Students are required to dedicate a minimum of eight hours per week per credit hour.

Research advisors have the right to increase the minimum hours that a student must dedicate to undergraduate research per research hour. Faculty members have been asked to take into consideration the time that a student spends in the laboratory when determining the final grade. Failure to comply with the minimum time requirements could serve as the basis to grant a lower grade.

Honors Contracts: 
Honors contracts are NOT available for this class. Honors College students are able to obtain honors credit for their participation in undergraduate research while working on their honors thesis through our two Honors Thesis courses: BCH/CHM 492 (Honors Directed Study) and BCH/CHM 493 (Honors Thesis) courses. These courses are usually taken during the senior year.

Grading:
Your final grade will be determined based on the grade recommendation from your research advisor and completion of final report. Students are required to turn in a final report no later than December 4th (last day of classes). If a student fails to turn in the final report, an Incomplete grade (I) will be assigned until this requirement has been fulfilled. If a student completes the final report, the grade that the faculty advisor assigns will be awarded. Research advisors are required to provide the final grade through our web-based system by December 14th. If a professor does not provide a final grade for a student by this date, an Incomplete grade (I) will be assigned until a grade is provided by the professor.

Final Reports: Upload Report 
All students will be required to turn in a Final Report. The final report is due no later than December 4th  (last day of classes). The final report (usually 5-6 pages, single or 1.5 lines), should include an abstract, an introduction, a short list of the specific research goals, a short description of the results indicating the techniques used to obtain these results, a short discussion/conclusion, and a final statement indicating the future plans for the project. Include any pertinent references.

Only the final version of the report should be uploaded. As your research advisor will need to approve the final report and he/she may require you to make changes or corrections to your initial report, it is imperative that you start working on your final report before the due date to allow time for this process. The quality of the final report is an important factor in determining the final grade for the course. An incomplete or deficient final report will be the basis for assigning a lower grade.