Undergraduate research: Apply what you learn in the classroom

Three student researchers are pictured standing at a table in a lab wearing white lab coats and looking over a notebook of research results.

Whether going on to graduate school or pursuing a career in the field, undergraduate research is one of the most important and rewarding experiences a student can have while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Chemistry at Illinois has long been committed to offering a wide range of undergraduate research opportunities, including summer opportunities and research support and awards.

Chemistry majors are strongly encouraged to participate in research, which provides an opportunity to apply the principles learned in the classroom to an original problem. In addition, prospective employers and graduate schools both strongly value the undergraduate research experience.

Interested in becoming a chemistry major at Illinois? Learn about the endless opportunities.

If you are already an Illinois undergraduate (of any major, not just Chemistry) interested in chemistry research on campus, you should begin by reviewing the different research areas in the Department. Having a general idea which areas of chemistry are of interest may help narrow your search. You should also explore this list of faculty members who accept undergraduates in their research groups. Find links to the research and information in each research group, which may also help narrow your search. Once you determine which faculty member research groups interest you, reach out to them directly.

Please note that most faculty require a minimum of a two-semester commitment. You will determine with your professor whether you will enroll in research credit as Chemistry 197, 297, 397, 497, or 499.

If you are interested in viewing research opportunities from outside organizations, click on the 'External Opportunities' in the right-hand menu. If you have any questions about the undergraduate research process, please contact Tina Huang.

Why participate in research?

By engaging in research as an undergraduate, you will:

  • Enrich your educational experience
  • Have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor
  • Explore issues and methods in your field of interest
  • Gain valuable skills for graduate school, professional school and/or future careers
  • Build confidence
  • Improve your communication skills
Head shot of Aymen Roslend in front of an evergreen tree

“The Department of Chemistry at UIUC is committed to raising the next generation of scientists, medical professionals, and educators by offering numerous resources and opportunities for personal, academic, and career development. Through involvement in undergraduate research, student organizations, and teaching experiences, my education extends beyond the classroom and has imparted on me a passion for science and discovery.”

Ayman Roslend, undergraduate student researcher
Catherine J. Murphy group


Curt Althaus standing on a red bridge with a rock waterfall in background

“My research journey started during high school with a simple idea for an electrochemical carbon capture device. Despite knowing very little about carbon capture, engineering, or the broader field of electrochemistry, the amazing teaching staff, campus facilities, and guidance of researchers made it possible to do novel and impactful research that contributes to climate change efforts. If you have a brilliant idea, a revealing question, or even a simple observation, Illinois provides the tools to explore, nurture, empower and share your findings with the world.”

Curtis Althaus, undergraduate Chemistry student researcher
Joaquín Rodríguez-López group


Head shot of Lindsay Jones against a yellow background

"I chose the chemistry program at UIUC because I was excited about the wide variety of opportunities available at this large university. I can easily say that having the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."

Lindsay Jones, undergraduate student researcher
Steve Zimmerman group


Policies for Undergraduate Research