Main content start

Research Opportunities

Research at Stanford is a transformative experience for many undergraduates. Students who join labs often make valuable contributions to advancing the frontier of scientific knowledge, co-author publications, and pursue scientific careers. The undergraduate is usually assigned an independent task on a larger project and supervised by the faculty member or a graduate or postdoctoral student.

Academic Year Research

Chem 91 (Exploring Chemical Research at Stanford)
One day a week. This course provides a survey of research programs in our labs.

Chem 90 (Directed Instruction/Reading)
The course provides an opportunity to begin independent research at the undergraduate level.

Chem 190 (Introduction to Methods of Investigation)
Contact faculty about a research position in their lab, as done for Chem 110. A minimum two-page research report is required at the end of the term. The research report is submitted to one's research advisor, then signed, and a copy is given to the Student Services Manager. 

Summer Research

The Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship in Chemistry is a 10-week program for current Stanford University undergraduate students. The purpose of this program is to provide Stanford undergraduates an intensive research opportunity. The program has been run since 1992 and is administered by the Undergraduate Affairs Committee of the Chemistry Department with funds largely from the Undergraduate Advising and Research Office. Stanford summer housing is available. 

Deadline: Applications are due Monday, April 1, 2024 (the application opens in February each year).

This a 10-week program starting June 24 to August 30, 2024 (40 hours per week). Students must participate for the duration of the program. Selected students will receive a stipend of $7,500 + up to $1,500 need-based supplement for qualifying students. 

The faculty mentor must be a Chemistry faculty or courtesy faculty member.  Consult the Chemistry Faculty and Courtesy Faculty pages to identify faculty members whose research interests most closely match your own. Contact individual faculty members to discuss research opportunities. If you find a good match, plan a course of research with that faculty member for the summer quarter, including identifying a prospective research mentor (typically a graduate student or postdoc) in the faculty member's lab. The research pursued by undergraduates is often related to a project of a current postdoc or graduate student. This mentor will be very important in helping formulate your ideas for the proposal. After discussing the project with the professor and/or graduate student/postdoc, write a two-page proposal detailing the research that will be pursued. The proposal should provide a justification of the research and provide a focused research plan. Realize that this is a limited research program -- be realistic. First and foremost, write the proposal in your own words.

Arrange a deadline with your sponsoring professor by which time you will send him/her your final document in the form of the Word file specified in the template.doc below. Arrange that s/he will append his/her letter of recommendation at the end of your file and email the completed documents to administrator Wenlin He (wenlinh [at] (wenlinh[at]stanford[dot]edu)) by the deadline. 

Notifications are expected to be made by May 31st. Awards will be made on a competitive basis according to the following criteria: (1) the quality and reasonable nature of the proposed plan of research, (2) the strength of the supporting letter, and (3) evidence of scholarship from the applicant as reflected in their academic transcript. A major in chemistry is not a necessary requirement for a fellowship but you must be a Stanford undergraduate student.

The summer includes:

  1. A mandatory organizational meeting on the first day of summer quarter. This meeting provides a chance for all the students to meet and begin organizing a number of activities for the summer. After the meeting, students who have not completed safety training need to do so before working in the lab.
  2. There will be mandatory "chalk talks" to give a brief presentation to your peers about the research you are doing.
  3. In the few last weeks of the program, a group presentation with the professor and lab members covering your summer research progress is required. Please schedule this presentation with your professor several weeks in advance—they have been informed of this requirement. This presentation will aid in the development of the poster that you will present.
  4. A poster presentation (usually nine to twelve panels) will be presented at an open department event the last week of the program. We encourage our students to also present at S.U.R.P.S. The Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Public Service (S.U.R.P.S.) will be held in mid-October.
  5. A final (approx.) five-page report detailing your research progress, signed by your advisor, will be due by the last day of the program. These reports will be posted to a Stanford website accessible only to the Stanford students. Be sure to talk to your professor about the issue of unpublished results. If the final report contains sensitive unpublished material that should not be accessible to the Stanford community, please indicate this on the cover of the report.

For full eligibility requirements, please visit VPUE's student eligibility requirements page.

Summer Research Application Template


1. Can I enroll in a class during the summer?

The chemistry department program does not allow enrollment in academic classes during the summer because the research program is full-time.

2. Can I participate in the summer research for less than 10 weeks?

First preference will be given to those students who plan to be involved in research for the specified 10-week period of our program. If you plan to be gone during any extended period during this time, this should be indicated in your proposal.

3. Can non-Chemistry majors apply?

All undergraduate students matriculated at Stanford are eligible for the program as long as they are a Stanford student who will be enrolled for classes in the fall quarter. In past years, we have supported majors in chemical engineering, biology, computer science and physics.

Program Support

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Chemistry has been training students since summer of 1993. Originally called the Bing Summer Program, the program was funded by a generous grant from the Bing family. The Student Services Office of the School of Humanities & Sciences has also helped provide funding for additional students in the last several years. 

Recently, the program has been able to fund 15–20 undergraduate students each summer. The Undergraduate Advising & Research Office, part of the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, has generously provided funds to support the majority of our program. 

UAR Major Grants

Undergraduate Advising and Research funding that may be requested for summer research. Students with previous summer program or extensive lab experience under a faculty sponsor are especially encouraged to apply, and may apply in addition to the Chemistry Department program.