The Chemistry department believes that high quality research opportunities are an essential component of science education. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in both academic year and summer research experiences.

Research Opportunities

Research OpportunitiesAcademic year research experiences can start early in a student's Bowdoin career. First year students, sophomores, and juniors can enroll in one-semester independent study projects at the 200-level, while seniors pursue 400-level independent study or Honors projects.

Summer Research

There are a wide variety of opportunities to undertake meaningful summer research at Bowdoin. The Chemistry Department's Summer Research Program gives students a chance to become immersed in a research project where they can synthesize and apply elements of their classroom learning.

Summer fellows are expected to participate in a program of summer research. The College makes housing available beginning just after commencement continuing through the summer. The program will provide each fellow with a $400/week stipend and money for research supplies.  The summer program begins in early June. Exact scheduling can depend upon your own availability and that of your advisor. The first week will include safety, literature searching, and instrumentation training.  During the summer, each participant will present their research at one of our weekly lunchtime seminar.

  • Summer fellowships are available through the Office of Student Fellowships Research. The slides from the Summer Research Info Session held on November 14th, 2017 can be downloaded as a pdf here

Goals of Independent Study and Honors Projects

The department encourages students to engage in independent research. On all projects, students share with their faculty adviser the responsibility for planning, executing, and reporting their investigations. The department stresses the importance of independent work and believes that these experiences provide a more realistic exposure to science than that gained from course work alone.

Faculty Research

All members of the department are actively engaged in research, and special opportunities for students exist in the areas of organic synthesis, marine environmental chemistry, molecular recognition, enzyme chemistry, photochemistry, low temperature spectroscopy, and high resolution mass spectrometry. The department has gained national prominence through its innovative program in microscale organic chemistry.

For a more in-depth look at individual faculty research, please see individual faculty pages.

Our Research Philosophy

In today's scientific environment, new facts emerge, once outlandish speculations become realities, and disciplines evolve to incorporate new tools and methods of analysis. Thus, today's undergraduate education must go well beyond mere compilation of theories and facts; students must be encouraged to imagine new approaches to problems and be given the tools to be involved in creating these changes. This kind of dynamic and enduring education requires that students are challenged to think critically and independently to provide innovative solutions to interesting, and often unanticipated, problems.

The Chemistry department couples strong classroom and laboratory instruction with the opportunity to participate in meaningful scientific research with a faculty mentor. Student/faculty research is a venue where students develop their abilities to design and execute experiments as well as analyze and present their results. Students also learn to critically read the literature and implement their own ideas and solutions.

The Chemistry Department has been able to maintain excellent facilities for research through a commitment to faculty growth and development and through long-term participation in research. The department fosters a friendly, personal atmosphere where classroom learning and the research laboratory come together in common educational pursuits.