Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Undergraduate Research

Research at UBC's Chemistry Department

A broad range of cutting-edge research in chemistry and related areas is performed by members of the Department spanning a range of research areas with a variety of research projects. For example, you may be interested in chemical synthesis, applications and development of chemical catalysis, materials chemistry, biological and medicinal chemistry, or studying fundamental properties of chemical systems through chemical physics projects. These are just a few of the research areas in the Chemistry Department that in principle are accessible to undergraduate students through a variety of opportunities, as detailed below.

Research ​Opportunities in the Curriculum

Several courses are available through which undergraduate students may obtain a research experience:

  1. CHEM 448 - Directed Studies with a faculty member during the summer or fall session.
  2. CHEM 445 RLE - the fourth-year Major laboratory provides the opportunity for students to pursue a research project in lieu of traditional labs.
  3. CHEM 449 - fourth-year Honours thesis in which students complete a research project in the group of a faculty member. In consultation with the Chemistry Undergraduate Advisor, this course is also available for Major students with sufficiently high grades .

Summer Research Opportunities

There are a variety of opportunities for undergraduate students to gain research experience during the summer months and earn some money at the same time. The greatest number of funded positions are awarded through the Chemistry Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA) for work at UBC. However, there are a number of additional opportunities for funded positions through exchange programs like ICE and RISE, that also allow students to take posts at other universities. Students should also consult the Go Global website for research abroad opportunities.

UBC Chemistry Undergraduate Summer Research Awards

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to offer summer research opportunities for outstanding undergraduate students. These awards, funded by NSERC or the Department, are meant to stimulate interest in research in chemistry, and to provide opportunities to gain research experience in an academic setting. The normal duration of these awards is 16 consecutive weeks with students working at UBC from the end of April or the beginning of May until approximately the end of August. Projects in all areas of chemical research are available.

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Inorganic Chemistry Exchange (ICE)

Contact Person: Prof Laurel Schafer
Application Forms and Deadline are available from the ICE Website:

Applications must be submitted electronically to Dr. Laurel Schafer at  .

ICE is a summer student exchange program for undergraduate students in chemistry, who will have completed the equivalent of two or three full years of study as of the end of the school year in which they apply. Successful applicants will be awarded summer employment in the research group of an ICE group member at one of the participating institutions (not their own), and a small travel allowance. The ICE Network is a collection of scientists at eleven institutions in Canada, whose research embraces the study of inorganic chemistry. The research interests of the individuals in the group vary substantially: there's a whole periodic table out there! All group members are committed to providing dedicated undergraduate students with opportunities to carry out original research and gain hands-on experience in the use of modern synthetic and instrumental techniques for the study of inorganic materials and reactions. At the end of the summer, all ICE scholars and their advisors get together for a two day conference that focuses on both science and social activities.

RISE Student Exchange

Contact Person:  Prof Pierre Kennepohl
Application Deadline for 2019 is December 7th 2018

Full application package includes:
1. Online Application Form
2. A copy of your current academic transcript (an unofficial transcript is fine);
3. A letter of reference (to be emailed directly to )

Submit to: Prof Pierre Kennepohl by e-mail: 

The Reactive Intermediates Student Exchange (RISE) program affords summer research scholarships to undergraduate students who will have completed the equivalent of two or three full years of study toward a BSc degree in Chemistry, Chemical Biology, or Biochemistry by the summer in which they will participate. Every year, RISE Scholarships are awarded for students to travel to another location and participate in chemical research. RISE Scholars receive a summer stipend and reimbursement for their travel to/from their host institution. A highlight of the program is the annual RISE Conference held at the end of each summer, where the RISE Scholars gather with their supervisors at one of the host institutions to present their summer research.

In the summer of 2019, the conference will be held in Ottawa. []