A particular strength of Penn State Erie's chemistry program is the opportunity students have to participate in scientific research with a faculty member. This important component of the chemistry major will provide you the experience necessary for a career in industry or prepare you for graduate work. The practical experience you gain while participating in undergraduate research, will give you a significant advantage over your peers after graduation in both applying to graduate school and finding that first job.
Students are encouraged to interact with faculty and learn more about their research by attending seminars during their freshman year sponsored by the Behrend Chemistry Club. During the sophomore or junior year, students should meet with individual faculty to discuss research opportunities. During this meeting, students should obtain signatures of the faculty on the application on the next page. Sometime during the junior year, the student should be involved in a research project. A minimum of three credits of CHEM 494 (or CHEM 496) are required for graduation. Up to three additional credits can be used as supporting credits and any additional credits may be applied to free electives. Students are encouraged to do additional research and start early. Typically 1-credit is awarded for a minimum of 3-hours laboratory work per week during the semester.
Opportunities for students to obtain undergraduate research grants are available from Behrend while under the supervision of a faculty member. Coordination with the faculty mentor is needed to be eligible for the grant. Behrend grants for the spring semester have a $700 maximum, while summer grants can reach a $1200 maximum. In addition, students who obtain significant results during their undergraduate project may have the opportunity to present their research locally, regionally or even nationally. At the discretion of the faculty research advisor, partial funding may be available to cover student travel.
Applications for the Behrend spring and summer grants can be found at here and student requests for travel can be found at here.
In addition to our local program, the National Science Foundation offers Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) where students can participate in undergraduate research at other universities. Although these programs are extremely competitive, they are excellent opportunities for students. Students can participate in research projects throughout the nation after completing their sophomore or junior year. More information about REU’s can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/reu.
Please do not use the information contained here as a substitute for your academic advisor. The chemistry major and required courses are constantly changing. The only sure method to obtaining accurate information is to see your academic advisor at least once a semester or check the official university catalog.