CHEM 698 Undergraduate Capstone Research. 1-2 Hours AE61 / N.

CHEM 698 Undergraduate Capstone Research - Course Syllabus

An undergraduate capstone research experience in chemistry or a closely related field, consisting of experimental or theoretical work on a topic developed in consultation with the faculty research advisor. A total of 3 credit hours must be accumulated for the course to count toward KU Core Goal 6. Students will submit a final report to the Chemistry Department during the semester in which the third credit hour is completed, and also present their results in a public forum. Prerequisite: CHEM 201, or CHEM 201 concurrently (or documentation of appropriate laboratory safety training), CHEM 335 (or CHEM 385) and CHEM 336 with grades of C or higher, and permission of the Chemistry Department. IND.

KU Core-

CHEM 698 satisfies KU Core Goal 6.1 for BA and BS Chemistry majors, once a total of 3 credit hours have been accumulated. If you wish to enroll in research for credit but do NOT plan to apply it towards KU Core Goal 6, or if you don’t yet meet the prerequisites, you should instead enroll in CHEM 498 (Undergraduate Research).

KU Core Goal 6 can alternatively be satisfied through CHEM 699 (Undergraduate Honors Research) for students pursuing Chemistry Department Honors, or CHEM 636 (Instrumental Methods of Analysis Laboratory).

Credit Hours per Semester-

1-2. Experience has shown that undergraduate research produces better educational outcomes if the experience is spread out over several semesters. Thus, the maximum number of credit hours of CHEM 698 that you may enroll in during a given semester is 2. Students wishing to complete the capstone requirement in a single semester must have the prior agreement of their research mentor, and must submit a joint petition to the Undergraduate Affairs Committee outlining the rationale. If the petition is granted, the student will be permitted to enroll in two sections of CHEM 698.


Departmental approval is required. You will need to complete and sign a CHEM 698 Enrollment Permission Form, which includes acknowledgment that you have met all prerequisites and have identified a research mentor. If your request is approved, the Undergraduate Affairs administrator will issue a permission number allowing you to enroll under your mentor’s CHEM 698 line number.

Safety Training-

Research in a chemistry laboratory involves some amount of risk. You are expected to conduct research in a manner that minimizes risks to yourself and others. Violations of safety requirements may lead to the suspension or termination of your research project.

Permission to enroll in CHEM 698 requires completion, or documentation of prior completion, of several on-line EHS safety training courses (see end of syllabus for more information). You will also need to successfully complete CHEM 201 (Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences), preferably prior to beginning research or during your initial semester. If that is not possible, you must enroll in CHEM 201 the next time it is available (usually fall semester). Each research lab also has its own specialized safety training requirements that you will need to complete prior to commencing your project.

Other Pre-requisites-

Enrollment will be limited to students who have completed CHEM 335 and CHEM 336 (Organic Chemistry II Lecture and Laboratory) or their equivalents with grades of C or higher

Selecting a research mentor-

Prior to enrolling in CHEM 698 you need to identify a faculty member who agrees to serve as your research mentor. All Chemistry research faculty are eligible to serve as mentors. You are also welcome to select a mentor in another department, but the research project must have a chemistry emphasis and be approved by the Undergraduate Affairs Committee. 2 Example departments include Molecular Biosciences, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Computational Biology.

Research Agreement-

Research is much more likely to lead to student satisfaction and useful advances in knowledge if clear goals and a timeline are established right from the beginning. Thus, the first step after identifying a CHEM 698 research mentor is to begin developing a research plan in consultation with them. We will utilize an Undergraduate Research Agreement form for this purpose. A copy of the completed form must be filed with the Undergraduate Affairs Administrator no later than Friday of the second week of the semester (end of first week if enrolling in CHEM 698 during summer semester).

Student Outcomes-

Written Report. A written report outlining your research accomplishments must be submitted to your mentor and to the Undergraduate Affairs Administrator, at the end of the semester in which the third credit hour is completed. For prior semesters, an interim report will be submitted to your mentor. The report should follow the format used in upper division Chemistry laboratory courses.   

Public Research Presentation. You must do a public presentation of your research results in poster or oral format. Possible venues include:

  • The annual KU Undergraduate Research Symposium in April.
  • The Fall (November) or Summer (July) Undergraduate research poster sessions hosted by the KU Center for Undergraduate Research
  • A research conference such as a local, regional or national ACS meeting or Pittcon
  • A departmental undergraduate research symposium.

The public presentation would ideally be done during or soon after the end of the semester in which the third credit hour is completed. Identifying the venue for the presentation and its contents must be done in consultation with your research advisor, who will also guide you
through the process of registration and abstract submission.

Your advisor or an alternate designated by your advisor will attend and evaluate your presentation.

Research Data and Intellectual Property-

At the conclusion of the project you will be required to deposit all original records with your advisor. You will be entitled to retain copies of records.

Outcomes of research belong jointly to all researchers and advisors involved in the project.

Intellectual property arising from research belongs to the all researchers involved and the University of Kansas.

Decisions about how and when research findings may be disseminated (e.g. presentations and publications) are at the discretion of the research advisor.

You may be required to maintain some aspects of the research as confidential.

Important Points of Contact:

  • Lindsey Roe (Chemistry Department Undergraduate Affairs Administrator) Email: Phone: 785.864.4160 - Enrollment permission
  • TBD (Chemistry Department Academic Advisor) Appointments can be made by phone (785.864.3500) or through JayhawkGPS - General advising
  • David R. Benson (Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs) Email: Phone: 785.864.4090 - Advising, problem resolution, petitions

Course Grading-

Your letter grade each semester will be determined with the assistance of a rubric.

Disability Accommodations- 

The Student Access Center (SAC) coordinates accommodations and services for all KU students who are eligible. If you have a disability for which you wish to request accommodations and have not contacted the SAC, please do so as soon as possible. Their office is located in 22 Strong Hall; their phone number is 785-864-4064 (V/TTY). Information about their services can be found at You should also plan to meet privately with your research mentor to discuss your specific needs in their laboratory and student spaces.

Academic Misconduct-

Cheating and all other forms of academic misconduct, or the appearance thereof, including plagiarism (passing off someone else’s ideas or words as your own), falsifying or otherwise misrepresenting research data, will not be tolerated and will be dealt with in accordance with University regulations (see

Diversity, Inclusivity, & Civility-

Civility and respect for the opinions of others are very important in an academic environment. It is likely you may not agree with everything that is said or discussed in the classroom (in this case, your research laboratory). Courteous behavior and responses are expected at all times. When you disagree with someone, be sure that you make a distinction between criticizing an idea and criticizing the person. Expressions or actions that disparage a person’s race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, gender, gender identity / expression, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or marital, parental, or veteran status are contrary to the mission of this course and will not be tolerated.

Concealed Carry-

Individuals who choose to carry concealed handguns are solely responsible to do so in a safe and secure manner in strict conformity with state and federal laws and KU weapons policy. Safety measures outlined in the KU weapons policy specify that a concealed handgun:

  • Must be under the constant control of the carrier.
  • Must be out of view, concealed either on the body of the carrier, or backpack, purse, or bag that remains under the carrier’s custody and control.
  • Must be in a holster that covers the trigger area and secures any external hammer in an un-cocked position
  • Must have the safety on, and have no round in the chamber. 

This course takes place in spaces that will require students to leave belongings such as backpacks and purses away and unattended for the duration of class time. Students who choose to carry a concealed handgun in a purse, backpack, or bag must review and plan each day accordingly, and are responsible for making alternate arrangements as necessary. The university does not provide appropriate secured storage for concealed handguns.

Individuals who violate the KU weapons policy may be asked to leave campus with the weapon and may face disciplinary action under the appropriate university code of conduct.

To access the EHS Chemical Safety training courses:

1. Go to the Environment, Health and Safety Online Safety Training Web page. Scroll down to the section titled "KU-EHS Blackboard Course Self-Enrollment Instructions." Follow the prompts. Select the ID Number "EHS002 in Table 1."

2. The following list of required courses will show:

  • EHS Hazard Awareness
  • Walking and Working Surfaces
  • Waste Management 101
  • Lab Safety 101
  • Lab Personal Protective Equipment 101
  • Preventing Contamination
  • Safety Showers and Eyewash Stations
  • Fire Safety and Extinguishers (includes hands-on component)
  • Chemical Fume Hood

After you have finished all of the modules, bundle the completion certificates into a single pdf or zip file, and submit through Canvas or by email to Lindsey Roe (