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Undergraduate Advising

Successful completion of a chemistry degree requires that you make a series of informed decisions about your future. Advisors are here to help you make the best possible choices in order to help you achieve your educational goals. Academic advising is one of the most important services offered at KU. Advising is not just scheduling classes for the following semester. It also involves discussions about career goals and progressing towards academic and career success.

The advising process is a two way street. When you meet with an advisor you should have some idea of the requirements for your degree interest, bring appropriate resources and materials, be prepared to clarify your interests, abilities and goals and be prepared to ask questions. Undergraduate advising with a departmental faculty advisor is strongly recommended for all Chemistry majors on an annual basis, and especially those that have newly declared Chemistry as their major. If you would like to discuss enrollment, graduation plans, KU CORE courses, explore double majors/minors, or learn more about the resources available at KU and college policies, please schedule an appointment with Erin Kelley-Garrison by calling 785-864-3500, visiting Strong Hall Room 109 or via Jayhawk GPS. Follow this link for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Information & Policies web site

The Honors Program

The honors program in chemistry (departmental honors) provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduate (B.A. or B.S.) students to pursue a program of research under faculty guidance during their junior and senior years. This program is independent of the University Honors program. For more information about admission requirements and graduating with honors, click here.


     Chemistry Major Advisor

photo of testtube containing yellow chemical in clear fluid

      David Benson
      Office: 3142B ISB (CDS1)

Academic Advisor

Erin Kelley-Garrison
Office: 109 Strong

Departmental Honors Coordinator

      Cindy L. Berrie
   ​   Office: 3121 ISB (CDS1)

Undergraduate Programs Administrative Assistant

 Betsy Carlson
Office: 1140 ISB (CDS1)


Frequently Asked Questions

The CredTran tool is helpful to get an idea of which courses will transfer from a variety of universities nationwide. We understand that there are exceptions and a course audit will need to be requested for those courses or schools not on the list. Contact your advisor. If you have taken a course at another institution while enrolled at KU (i.e. summer semester or online course), once you’ve completed the course have your official transcript (with grade of C or better) sent to KU’s Office of Admissions so it can be posted to your record.

Please be aware, that courses taken at a community college do not transfer as Jr/Sr hours, even if they might satisfy a particular Jr/Sr course requirement. Discussion of possible solutions should be held with one of our advisors.

The most current and accurate list of degree requirements can be found in the Course Catalog. Students should follow the requirements in effect for the year you entered KU, also know as your matriculation year. The department site also has current curriculum information, but changes from year to year to reflect the most current requirements. The College has a time limit policy concerning degree requirements: "Students readmitted 10 years or more after the initial term of degree-seeking admission to KU must fulfill all current requirements (this includes general education, major, minor, and all other related policies) to earn a degree."

There are different math and physics course requirements for the B.A and B.S degrees.

  • B.A. majors take business calculus and algebra physics.
  • B.S. majors take engineering calculus, calculus physics, and mathematical methods for the chemical sciences.

Please consult the Course Catalog for accurate information that applies to your degree.

Biochemistry is a biology degree that focuses on the structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids, and encompasses all the chemical processes of organisms.

Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter.

A Chemistry degree with a Biological Chemistry option includes courses in biochemistry, biochem laboratory, and biology electives such as genetics, microbiology, cell function along with the chemistry curriculum. The chemistry department offers both a B.A and B.S. biological chemistry option. Many students interested in the pre-medical professions often select this degree path as it closely follows the required courses needed for entry exams.

We are glad you asked! There are undergraduate research opportunities all over campus and here are some suggestions on how to find a research lab.

1. Plan ahead.

When do you want to start conducting research? Some students start their first year, some wait until their fourth year. In most cases, the earlier the better. If you love research, you may want to pursue a job that will have a research component. If you hate research, you learn that although you may love science, the laboratory is not a likely job for you. This information is important to learn early in your college experience.

Mentors may need up to 6 months notice for taking on a student. So If you are interested in starting in the fall, you should contact professors in the spring. If you are interested in the summer, then contact professors at the end of the fall semester.  Keep in mind that it may take many emails to finally find someone who has an opening.  Just keep trying.

2. Who do you want to work with?

What do you think you are interested in? We encourage students to spend some time on department websites, locating research laboratories that are working on projects that students find interest them the most. There are research labs with a variety of disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches. Talk to your advisor about the different areas of research available,

3. Email the professors you want to work with.

The email should include

  • your name
  • your year
  • the type of commitment you are looking for (credit or paid/unpaid summer research)
  • the length of commitment you are looking for (two years, one year, one semester, etc…)
  • a statement of interest
  • attach an unofficial transcript and/or resume

Statement of Interest: Read the description of the laboratories research on their webpage. Even look up a review or current paper the laboratory has published. (This will probably be too technical for you to understand completely). Find the key terms in this description, look them up in the index of your textbooks and read the relevant sections of the text. Try to get a basic understanding of what the lab does. The more you know about the research the more the professor is likely to take you seriously. Don’t regurgitate the description; explain why the research interests you.

Keep in mind that the professor will be providing:

  • Ideas: The professor will discuss the research that is going on in their laboratory and may provide a few suggestions as to projects that would be feasible for a new researcher and that would benefit both the student and the lab. In assigning a project, it usually means that other members of the lab will not be doing the exact same thing. Therefore the professor is depending on you to carry out the project.
  • Time: Initially, you will require a lot of supervision to learn the system and master the techniques. Often things may not work right away, and therefore time must be spent by the professor, post-doc, graduate student or technician in training you and troubleshooting the experiments. Although this effort by other members of the lab is helpful training for you, it is also taking away time from their own experiments.
  • Space: Space is often at a premium in many labs. In some big labs, people only have a few feet of bench space or work in shifts. Therefore providing a bench to an undergraduate may in turn mean that the lab is not able to provide space to a more experienced or long term researcher such as a graduate student or post-doc.
  • Money: In an average molecular biology lab, each researcher (graduate student, post-doc, or technician) will use over $5,000 a year in supplies and reagents. In labs that use expensive reagents such as cell culture media or large quantities of enzymes, this number could easily be over $10,000 a year. Therefore, even working part time in the lab on your research project will easily cost the lab over $2,000 in reagents and supplies during the year.

The Center for Undergraduate Research is an excellent resource, not only for information about research, but for awards, advising and symposiums. Click below for a link to their helpful video page on undergraduate research at KU.  


ADV-WELC – First year advising hold. All students in the College receive this hold to assure that students receive at least two semesters of advising. 

ADV-CSRD – Non-declared major hold. Students who have not yet declared a major after 45 credits receive this hold and again at 75 credits for non-declared in a major. The notice will give instructions on how to lift this hold. 

ADV-GRAD – Candidate for Graduation hold. Seniors (90+ h) receive this hold (perhaps every semester until they graduate). Students must read the accompanying Academic Notice in the Kyou Advising Portal to click on a link to an online degree progress assessment. The hold will be removed by a College graduation advisor after the assessment is completed, normally in 1-2 business days.

Information on other holds that may be on your account can be found on the CLAS website under Enrollment or by clicking here

Graduation Information

Students that have applied for graduation will need to meet with an advisor to have your Major/Minor Certification form signed.  Please contact Dr. Benson to make an appointment.

Additional information about May Commencement, August or December graduation can be found on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences page.

Graduate Advising

Chemistry Department Policy

First-year students will be advised by the Graduate Affairs Committee for the Fall semester upon their arrival and for the Spring semester in October. After the first two semesters, each student must consult with their research adviser before the beginning of each semester about future enrollments. Students' advisers will check to be certain the necessary requirements are being met and will answer any questions or help students solve any problems which might arise. If you have questions about changing research advisors and transferring from your current group, please consult page 6 of the graduate student handbook for more information. The handbook can be found under the Resources tab.

Graduate Academic Advisor

Avery Meadows

KU Policy

Advising of graduate students is primarily conducted within the graduate programs by program staff members and the individual faculty members who act as mentors and advisers. Students are encouraged to work with the director of graduate studies regarding course selections and individual program requirements to ensure that all program milestones are reached as expected by the program faculty and CLAS. The graduate studies director or coordinator is also responsible for the regular assessment of students in the program and should be the one to address questions regarding a student’s progress toward the degree.

For more information regarding College policies and university degree requirements, contact the College Office of Graduate Affairs, 108 Strong Hall, coga@ku.edu, for assistance.

Chemistry department receives more than $8.5 million in research grants annually
14 chemistry faculty members have NSF CAREER Awards
Longest-running chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates in the nation
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