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Academics / Departments & Programs / Chemistry & Biochemistry / Research

All of our full-time professors participate in diverse year-round research, and there Calvin students find many opportunities to do research both on- and off-campus.

Undergraduate research is one way to demonstrate your passion and leadership to graduate school admission committees. Undergraduate research provides students who have a passion for science to develop scientific skills and an appreciation for evidence-based research early on in their careers. Students also get to know a faculty member who can write a strong letter on their behalf highlighting many personal attributes.

Select the type of research you're interested in below to learn more about the opportunities open to you.

Preparing Your Application for a Research Opportunity

1. Identify summer programs that interest you and compile required information in a spreadsheet (NOTE: most deadlines for competitive programs are between early-January to mid-February).

2. Identify 2 faculty members who can address some of the following on your behalf: potential for research, skills in the laboratory or class, collaboration in a classroom or laboratory setting, independence, self-motivated learning. Provide faculty members at least 2-week notice to prepare a reference letter.

3. Most programs require a research statement or statement of interest. This statement should address the following: skills you expect to obtain, ways this experience will benefit your education/career plans, skills you have that make you a good researcher, research experiences you have had (class, job, honors project, internship, etc.), skills you have applied or gained during a research experience, areas of research you are interested in pursuing.

Ask a faculty member, career services, or the rhetoric center to look over the statement before it is submitted. Give yourself enough time for revisions (at least 2-weeks prior to the deadline).

4. Some programs will ask you to send a brief and customized email to one (or more) principal investigator(s) to introduce yourself (highlight two or three things from item 3 above), demonstrate your interest in the work in the particular lab(s), and describe your summer availability. Do not send generic emails. Be sure to have another set of eyes look over your email before it is sent.

5. Apply to both on-campus and off-campus research programs if you are particularly interested in research. On-campus opportunities are in high demand and students pursuing research-related graduate programs often receive priority over students headed to professional programs in the health sciences.

6. If you are an international student on an F-1 visa, off-campus work requires authorization. You should not start work until you have received your I-20 with authorization. CPT is the most common authorization. An internship must be required for a class or major to qualify for CPT. Be sure to apply for CPT authorization 2-3 weeks before the summer program begins. Chem & Biochem and the Biology Departments have internship courses under which past international students have gained summer research experiences using CPT. If you have questions, email Brent at Also, watch this helpful video on CPT and see Calvin University information on paid employment for international students.

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