Chemistry Department

The Research Option

One way to "beef up" your chemistry education (and resume) is to do an undergraduate research project. Most students (and professors) find it to be an exciting and rewarding experience! Professors at MTSU (and other universities) often have an interest in mentoring students. The best way to find out about projects is to talk to professors (they don't bite) or other students. See the Faculty (listed by research area) for information on faculty areas of specialization.

Why do it?

  • "Learning by doing" approach is particularly successful way for students to understand chemical theory.
  • Learn what research is.
  • Decide what area of chemistry you are interested in most.
  • Feel "special" in the department and interact with other students and faculty.

Unwritten rules:

  1. It doesn't matter what project you do, the experience is valuable.
  2. Start early. One year is essential, two desirable. Historically, students have signed up for CHEM 4880 after research was started. Discuss other credit options besides CHEM 4880 with your mentor.
  3. Pick your advisor carefully. This person could help your career immensely if things go well.
  4. Avoid the pitfalls. Be professional, dedicated, safety conscious, and take advantage of the opportunity to learn something.

Other Career Preparation Strategies

Besides undergraduate research, cooperative education experience and summer jobs in industry, government labs, other universities can be very beneficial preparation for the "real world." These jobs can also provide financial support for your education and contacts for job opportunities upon graduation.

Other employment contacts can come from professors or ACS meetings (where Employment Clearinghouses are held).

Good communication skills (both written and oral) make it more likely for you to get a lucrative and enjoyable job. Take your language classes and written assignments as chances for communication skills enhancement. Use every opportunity for public speaking to improve your ability to communicate your ideas clearly.

Many scientists have no exposure to or interest in business. But the "bottom line" in industry is economics. Although not specifically suggested by the ACS, a business or economics course would serve you well in preparing for an industrial career.