Student Research

Research involving students and faculty is an integral part of our chemistry curriculum.

All chemistry majors are required at least one semester of independent research and most of our majors complete more than that.  See individual faculty members' websites for details:  Faculty and Staff

American Chemical Society March 2007 ACS conference in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Krystal S. Lee

Many options exist for involvement in research activities from volunteering in a research lab at Wellesley, taking one or more independent study courses, doing a senior thesis, doing summer research at Wellesley or elsewhere and doing research away from the college during the academic year.  

Our department is pioneering a new program within the college by separating the senior thesis experience from graduation with departmental honors. Departmental honors via a senior thesis are open only to students with the requisite grades. We think that the experience of a senior thesis is of value to all of our majors and that is the reason for decoupling the two processes. 

The chemistry major requires one semester or summer of research. The research requirement for the chemistry major can be fulfilled in the following ways:

1. Independent Study in Chemistry (CHEM 250 or CHEM 350): Research is supervised by a member of the Wellesley College Chemistry Department. Off-campus research requires active participation of a Wellesley faculty member throughout the research period. In order to fulfill the research requirement for the major, the student must complete an 8−10 page paper on the research and give a presentation to the Chemistry Department during one of the two research seminar presentation periods. The paper must contain substantial literature references, demonstrating a familiarity with searching the chemical literature. A copy of the paper must be submitted to the chair of the Chemistry Department. (Note: paid internships are not eligible for CHEM 250 or CHEM 350.)

2. Thesis in Chemistry (CHEM 355/CHEM 365 or CHEM 360/CHEM 370): If the first semester of thesis (CHEM 355 or CHEM 360) is used to fulfill the research requirement, the student must complete a paper of 8–10 pages on the research and give a presentation to the Chemistry Department during one of the two research seminar presentation periods. The paper must contain substantial literature references, demonstrating a familiarity with searching the chemical literature. A copy of the paper must be submitted to the chair of the department. If the student completes the second semester (CHEM 365 or CHEM 370), the thesis and the thesis defense fulfill the paper and presentation requirement.

3. Other Research Experiences: A student may participate in an approved off-campus research program during the academic year (10 hours per week minimum for one semester) or an approved summer research program (eight weeks minimum length), write an 8−10 page paper on the research, and give a presentation to the Chemistry Department during one of the two research seminar presentation periods. The paper must contain substantial literature references, demonstrating a familiarity with searching the chemical literature. A copy of the paper must be submitted to the chair of the department. Students electing to use an off campus research experience to fulfill the research requirement must have the research project approved by a faculty member in the Chemistry Department before starting the program.

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Contact Us

Department of Chemistry
Science Center
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

 

Adele Wolfson
Department Chair
awolfson@wellesley.edu
Tel: 781.283.3106
Fax: 781.283.3642

 

Deborah Nickerson
Administrative Assistant
dnickers@wellesley.edu
Tel: 781.283.3114
Fax: 781.283.3642

 

Karen Blake
Administrative Assistant
kblake@wellesley.edu
Tel: 781.283.3022
Fax: 781.283.3642