Research Opportunities

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Students at Iowa State have the opportunity to conduct original research under the supervision of our excellent research faculty. Students will collaborate with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to learn the skills and techniques required for modern chemistry research. Conducting research as an undergraduate is an excellent opportunity to prepare for graduate studies or a career in the natural sciences.

Academic Year Research Opportunities

Nearly all of our faculty are happy to supervise undergraduate researchers. Feel free to contact them directly, or you may talk to your academic advisor for advice on which group might match your interests best. For tips in finding a research group and contacting a faculty mentor please see the guide here

Most undergraduate research is carried out on a "for credit" basis. We have course numbers for research for students to receive academic credit:

Chem 299 – This is entry-level research designed to be more observational, or heavily prescribed, by the research instructor.  Chem 299 is also designed as a single semester experience and no final research report is required.

Chem 399 – The foundational research course.  The research instructor expects students to be involved in all levels of research and research group meetings.  Students are encouraged, not required, to dedicate multiple semesters in the research group.  A research report is required after each term - chem_399_sample_report.pdf.

Chem 499 – An option for students who have conducted multiple semesters of research under the Chem 399 course heading.  Chem 499 is designed to be a student driven research experience independent of research group dictates.  The student is expected to be enrolled in Chem 499 a minimum of two semesters and submit a research report after the second term - chem_499_sample_report.pdf.

Chem 599/699 – Graduate level research class designations.  Students must be admitted to the Graduate College as chemistry students.

Research may be carried out during the academic year or during the summer. In a few instances, research may be carried out on a "for pay" basis as an hourly employee or work-study.

Summer Research Opportunities

National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF – REU)
NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location. 

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)
The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers by providing research experiences at the Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. Selected students participate as interns appointed at one of 16 participating DOE laboratories. They perform research, under the guidance of laboratory staff scientists or engineers, on projects supporting the DOE mission. 

Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Summer School (NFUSS)

For a list of faculty, research descriptions, and contact information, click here.