Undergraduate Research


The department strongly encourages Chemistry majors to participate in research at UMKC.  Undergraduates participating in research get to experience the excitement of discovering answers to real world problems using principles learned in courses. By participating in research, undergraduates have the opportunity to not only perform cutting-edge research, but also gain the potential to present at national & international conferences and earn co-authorship on scientific publications.  There are multiple opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research at UMKC, across the nation, and even internationally.  If you are interested in performing undergraduate research at UMKC, we have provided a list of questions and answers to help you below. 

How do I learn about faculty research?

The best way to begin is to view the webpage of faculty and read the descriptions of their research interests and current projects. Also, talk to friends who have performed undergraduate research with faculty.  We recommend that students should consider exploring research opportunities in other interdisciplinary subject areas (such as material physics, geosciences, or molecular biology).  

How do I approach a faculty member about doing research in their group?

Once you have identified a few faculty members that perform research that looks interesting to you, the next step is to contact them directly for more information.  Most faculty prefer to be contacted through email.  In the first message, you should tell a little about yourself. Examples of what to say are:

  • What courses you have taken up to the current semester
  • What are your future plans
  • A sentence or two describing the research in which you are interested (if applicable, a sentence describing prior research you have done)
  • Ask to set up an appointment to meet and discuss about participating in research

Usually, faculty try to respond as quickly as possible.  Keep in mind that when you first work with a group, it is a time to learn about the research and be productive.  You should not expect to be paid a salary during the year (although some faculty do offer a stipend), but expect to gain ample research experience.

What other summer research opportunities are there outside the University?

There are a wide variety of summer research programs for undergraduates across the country and abroad.  A few programs with web links are listed below. One of the largest formal research programs for undergraduates is the National Science Foundation Research Opportunities for Undergraduates (REU).  Government laboratories such as Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offer various research opportunities. Other opportunities exist in various industries and we recommend visiting their websites for more information.