Research Experience Term Course

Course Numbers

SC/CHEM 2200 0.0, SC/CHEM 2201 0.0, SC/CHEM 2202 0.0
SC/CHEM 3200 0.0, SC/CHEM 3201 0.0, SC/CHEM 3202 0.0
SC/CHEM 4200 0.0, SC/CHEM 4201 0.0, SC/CHEM 4202 0.0

What these courses are

A sequence of non-credit, pass/fail courses providing part-time supervised research and supplementary laboratory experience. Open only to Chemistry and Biochemistry majors, by permission and subject to availability. Pre-requisites apply. Minimum time commitment: 5 hours per week. One term each, and each available in Fall, Winter and Summer terms.

These non-credit courses provide the structure by which Chemistry and Biochemistry majors can seek and obtain enrichment in terms of professionalism, research experience and practical, specialized laboratory training supplementing that provided by credit courses, to be conducted on a part-time basis under the supervision of one or more participating faculty members. Regular on-campus attendance, face-to-face communication with the supervisor(s) and/or laboratory personnel and active participation in group meetings may be expected.

There are to be three instantiations of the courses at the 2000, 3000 and 4000 levels, allowing students to enrol in up to three terms at each level. The prerequisites are sequential and the pass/fail grading will prevent students having failed one instance from continuing at that year level. The course and grade will appear on the student's transcript.

Potential supervisors are identified by the student. A written Student-Supervisor-Agreement listing the student's course load and other obligations, outlining the tasks and other expectations, and detailing the hours involved will be filed with the Course Director before permission to enrol is given. At the end of the term, the supervisor(s) will provide the student and the Course Director with a pass/fail grade and an assessment of the degree to which the student will have met the agreed-upon expectations and the learning objectives.

Learning Objectives

Laboratory-based work will provide opportunities for practical instruction and experience in some aspect of experimental and analytical chemistry. Alone or in combination with laboratory work, computational work will provide opportunities for data mining, software use and/or programming in simulation or modeling tasks. In all cases, the opportunities are meant to enrich and stretch beyond what is available in other courses. While remaining consistent with the student's past experience, the specifics will vary with the type of work and the level of the student. Unlike the Research Project course, there will be no need to achieve specific research goals, and there is considerable freedom in the definition of the tasks and in the expected contribution of the student. Participation in many individual tasks or projects, especially in collaborative groups, will expose the student to a wide variety of experiences. In general, the objectives are to:

  • increase useful experience, versatility and breadth in the student's practical skill set
  • promote team work
  • promote ethical practice
  • promote rigour and meticulousness
  • train in literature awareness
  • train in experimental design, in implementing the scientific method and in research planning, as appropriate to the type of work chosen
  • train in laboratory management
  • practice scientific communication, both written and oral
  • promote time-management strategies
  • enhance professionalism and marketability

The actual objectives achieved will depend on the student's prior experience, the time commitment and the nature of the assigned tasks.


The normal sequence is to start with a 200 course in your year level, then progress as desired to a 201 and 202 course. These courses can be taken in any term.

  • For SC/CHEM 2200 0.0: Open to year 2 students in a Chemistry or Biochemistry program having completed SC/CHEM 1000 3.0 and SC/CHEM 1001 3.0.
  • For SC/CHEM 2201 0.0: SC/CHEM 2200 0.0.
  • For SC/CHEM 2202 0.0: SC/CHEM 2201 0.0.
  • For SC/CHEM 3200 0.0: Open to year 3 students in a Chemistry or Biochemistry program having completed at least 22 credits in CHEM and BCHM courses.
  • For SC/CHEM 3201 0.0: SC/CHEM 3200 0.0.
  • For SC/CHEM 3202 0.0: SC/CHEM 3201 0.0.
  • For SC/CHEM 4200 0.0: Open to year 4 students in an Honours Chemistry program having completed SC/CHEM 3001 3.0, or to year 4 students in the Specialized Honours program in Biochemistry having completed SC/BIOL 3140 4.0, or with permission of the Course Director. May not overlap with SC/CHEM 4000 4.0 or 8.0, nor with SC/BCHM 4000 8.0.
  • For SC/CHEM 4201 0.0: SC/CHEM 4200 0.0. May not overlap with SC/CHEM 4000 4.0 or 8.0, nor with SC/BCHM 4000 8.0.
  • For SC/CHEM 4202 0.0: SC/CHEM 4201 0.0. May not overlap with SC/CHEM 4000 4.0 or 8.0, nor with SC/BCHM 4000 8.0.

Note that the university's definitions of year level apply.

How to proceed

You can
There are two ways in which you can find a supervisor for a Research Experience Term course:

  • Identify one or more supervisors yourself, perhaps by first searching the Faculty Research web pages for people working on research topics of interest to you, or by contacting the professors you already know, either in person or by email after consulting the Directory for their room numbers or email addresses.
  • Fill out the on-line request form This will be sent to all professors in the Department. Since professors generally experience much email traffic, this may not have much success in eliciting a response and you may need to follow up with in-person contact. There will be no need to fill out the form again, since the Course Director will have a copy, unless there is some detail that you wish to change.
  • Once you have identified a professor, agree with the professor as to the general tasks, the expectations and the time commitment. With your supervisor(s), fill out and sign a Student-Supervisor Agreement form, which will give these details and to which both parties shall be held. You can only engage in one Agreement and register in only one Research Experience course each term.
  • You will be asked to list your current obligations on the form, detailing your academic (course load) and non-academic obligations for the term.
  • Submit the form to the Course Director (for the moment, this is the Undergraduate Program Director) prior to the enrolment deadline for the term in which you wish to volunteer.
  • If the terms of the Agreement are satisfactory (they serve to meet the Learning Objectives) and realistic in view of your other obligations, you will be issued permission to enrol and notified by email. Enrol yourself before the permission expires. There will be no tuition and no fees due.
  • Carry out your assigned duties, as per your Student-Supervisor Agreement.
  • If it appears that you will not be able to fulfill the terms of your Student-Supervisor Agreement, you would be well advised to either seek an amendment to the Student-Supervisor Agreement and re-submit it for approval by the Course Director, or to drop the course prior to the drop deadline.
  • At the end of the term, the supervisor(s) will report on your participation in the course and issue a Pass or Fail grade that will appear on your transcript. A copy of the report will be available to you.
  • Assuming that you pass and that your course load allows it, permission to continue into the next term by enrolling in the next course in the sequence, with the same supervisor(s) and under the same conditions, will be issued upon request, without additional paperwork. This will result in a new entry in the transcript.
  • Assuming that you pass, you should be able to secure a recommendation letter from your supervisor, should you need one, on the basis of his/her experience with you.