Chemistry Research Project (CHEM*4900)

Code and section: CHEM*4900*01

Term: Fall 2023


General Information

Department of Chemistry
CHEM*4900 Fall 2023
Chemistry Research Project

Calendar Description

CHEM*4900  Chemistry Research Project I  Summer, Fall, and Winter  (LAB: 12)  [1.00]  
This research project and seminar in chemistry is designed to provide senior undergraduates with an opportunity to conduct research in an area of chemistry. Students must make arrangements with both a faculty supervisor and the course coordinator prior to registration. Students cannot choose a supervisor with whom they already have research experience in another capacity (e.g. a summer research position). The project supervisor must be a faculty member of the Chemistry Department. Students should note that most projects are of two semesters' duration, and should plan their studies on the expectation that they will also register in CHEM*4910 in a subsequent semester.

Prerequisite(s): 5.00 credits in chemistry including (1.50 credits from CHEM*3430, CHEM*3640, CHEM*3650, CHEM*3750, CHEM*3760, CHEM*3870)  
Restriction(s): Instructor consent required.  
Department(s): Department of Chemistry  
Location(s): Guelph  

You MUST complete Student Science Safety IV before starting lab work.



Assessment Weight
Research Progress Assessment (by supervisor)
November 20%
April 40%
Oral Presentation (December 2) 20%
Written Report (December 9) 20%

This research project and seminar in chemistry is designed to provide senior undergraduates with an opportunity to conduct research in an area of chemistry.
Students must make arrangements with both a faculty supervisor and the course coordinator prior to registration.

Students cannot choose a supervisor with whom they already have research experience in another capacity (e.g. a summer research position).

The project supervisor is a faculty member of the Chemistry Department.


Course Information

This is a capstone course for the CHEM and BPCH programs, generally completed in the final year of study.

Research will be carried out under the supervision of a faculty member of the Chemistry department. Students are expected to spend 12 hours/week (as a minimum) engaged in their research project, and should discuss expectations with their supervisor.

Students will be expected to be responsible (in consultation with their faculty supervisor) for their own project, in the design, planning, and execution of experiments.

Students should be prepared to assess their plans with the faculty supervisor in order to ensure all safety concerns have been adequately addressed.
Students will prepare a formal research report, and will deliver an oral presentation outlining their project and progress.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • Survey and critically assess chemical literature related to their research in order to produce a comprehensive review of the field, placing their own project into the context of the literature;
  • Summarize and explain their own work, its relevance to the field, and any conclusions that can be drawn from their results;
  • Design and formally present a scientific presentation that illustrates their progress on the project over the course of the semester;
  • Analyze and critically reflect upon the peer feedback they receive, in order to use the feedback to improve their own writing.

Assessment Details

The following assessments will be utilized to gauge your success in meeting the learning outcomes:

Oral Research Presentation near the end of the semester (20%)

At the end of the semester, you will present your work orally at a conference-style session, attended by your classmates as well as faculty and academic staff members of the department.

The goal of this assignment is to provide experience in the research, design, and presentation skills necessary to orally present your research, using PowerPoint or related software.

You will design a ~15 minute research presentation which should include the background information relevant to your project, work completed during this semester, and future work to be completed.

All faculty present will be asked to grade the presentation.

Final Written Research Report at the end of the semester (20%)

The final research report will include a literature review and project proposal, a results section, discussion, experimental details, and a conclusion/future work section.

The report should be edited by your supervisor.

The grade value will be determined by your faculty supervisor and by a second faculty Examiner.

Lab Performance Grade

A grade based on your performance in the laboratory will be assigned by your faculty Supervisor.
It is important that you communicate with your supervisor throughout the semester and ensure you are meeting their expectations with respect to productivity and initiative.

Each faculty supervisor will have different priorities in assigning a lab grade and will weigh some categories higher than others. It is suggested you discuss this with them at the beginning of the project.

This assessment will gauge your ability to work as part of a collaborative research group, set goals for your project, plan and execute experiments to work towards those goals, and identify and address any difficulties that may arise.


University Statements

Covid Information

Please note that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may necessitate a revision of the format of course offerings, changes in classroom protocols, and academic schedules. Any such changes will be announced via CourseLink and/or class email. This includes on-campus scheduling during the semester, mid-terms and final examination schedules. All University-wide decisions will be posted on the COVID-19 website and circulated by email.

Students are encouraged to wear a face mask in order to attend class and lab.

Please note, these guidelines may be updated as required in response to evolving University, Public Health or government directives.

Appropriate Online Behaviour

Inappropriate online behaviour will not be tolerated. Examples of inappropriate online behaviour include:

  • Posting inflammatory messages about your instructor or fellow students
  • Using obscene or offensive language online
  • Copying or presenting someone else's work as your own
  • Adapting information from the Internet without using proper citations or references
  • Buying or selling term papers or assignments
  • Posting or selling course materials to course notes websites
  • Having someone else complete your quiz or completing a quiz for/with another student
  • Stating false claims about lost quiz answers or other assignment submissions
  • Threatening or harassing a student or instructor online
  • Discriminating against fellow students, instructors and/or TAs
  • Using the course website to promote profit-driven products or services
  • Attempting to compromise the security or functionality of the learning management system
  • Sharing your username and password
  • Recording lectures without the permission of the instructor

E-mail Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their <> e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the undergraduate calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration.


Medical notes will not normally be required for singular instances of academic consideration, although students may be required to provide supporting documentation for multiple missed assessments or when involving a large part of a course (e.g. final exam or major assignment).

Drop Date

Courses that are one semester long must be dropped by the end of the last day of classes; two-semester courses must be dropped by the last day of classes in the second semester. The regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses are available in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Copies of out-of-class assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.


The University promotes the full participation of students who experience disabilities in their academic programs. To that end, the provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student.

When accommodations are needed, the student is required to first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Documentation to substantiate the existence of a disability is required, however, interim accommodations may be possible while that process is underway.

Accommodations are available for both permanent and temporary disabilities. It should be noted that common illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not constitute a disability.

Use of the SAS Exam Centre requires students to book their exams at least 7 days in advance, and not later than the 40th Class Day.

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community – faculty, staff, and students – to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring. University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection.

Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.
By enrolling in a course, unless explicitly stated and brought forward to their instructor, it is assumed that students agree to the possibility of being recorded during lecture, seminar or other “live” course activities, whether delivery is in-class or online/remote. If a student prefers not to be distinguishable during a recording, they may:

  1. turn off their camera
  2. mute their microphone
  3. edit their name (e.g., initials only) upon entry to each session
  4. use the chat function to pose questions.

Students who express to their instructor that they, or a reference to their name or person, do not wish to be recorded may discuss possible alternatives or accommodations with their instructor.


The Academic Calendars are the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies and regulations which apply to undergraduate, graduate and diploma programs.