Requirements for Research Independent Study

Time Commitment

CHEM 393, 394, 493, and 494 are graded courses and that will demand 10 to 15 scheduled hours per week in the laboratory at times mutually agreed upon by the faculty mentor.

First Semester of Independent Study

General Safety Training Required by the University

Prior to beginning laboratory work in the first semester of Independent Study, all majors participating in Independent Study must complete the university's general on-line safety training. Later the major is expected to receive specific safety instruction from the department in which the major is carrying out his/her research project. The following link takes you to the general on-line training area of the OESO website.

  1. From there, you select: "All Other Training"
  2. Enter your Unique ID number (it can be found on the back on your Duke Card or there is a search screen available if you do not know it).
  3. Once logged in, you need to read and complete the brief quiz at the end of the following three selections: "General Chemical Safety Orientation", "Fire/Life Safety Orientation", "Laboratory Safety Orientation"
  4. If you will be working with or around lasers, then you should also complete the selection on "Laser Safety (non-clinical)".
  5. If you are doing only computational work rather than work in a lab with chemicals, you can omit the "General Chemical Safety Orientation" unless the computer is located in or adjacent to a working chemical lab.
  6. A permanent record is created when you pass the quizzes and are complete.

CHEM 295, Introduction to Independent Study, 0.5 cc, is open to all Chemistry majors. It is recommended that majors enrolling in their first semester of independent study; CHEM 393 or in a related area and who intend to pursue graduation with distinction in chemistry, or who intend to pursue a BS degree that is certified by ACS should also enroll in CHEM 295. Majors may take CHEM 295 for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or regular letter grades depending on their needs. Those taking it for letter grades will also earn 0.5 cc toward the writing requirement (W). The writing component will focus on writing a research proposal and on writing progress reports for the major's project. The course is recommended for all majors.

Research Progress Report

At the end of each semester of research independent study, majors are required to submit a written progress report to the DUS. One of the university's graduation requirements is a competency in Writing which involves taking Writing 20 plus two courses coded W for Writing-in-the-Discipline. The procedure for W-credit for Independent Study is as follows. Prior to the end of Drop/Add of your final semester of participation in independent study, you can go to the Trinity resources site, then select "Independent Study (Research), W Coding (form included)" and print a form for requesting W-credit for one Independent Study course. Fill out the form, have your research mentor and DUS sign it, and deliver the completed form to room 011 Allen Building prior to the end of Drop/Add. It is highly recommended that you get the writing credit for Independent Study concurrently while taking CHEM 496.

Final Semester of Independent Study

Requirements for Completing Independent Study Requirements for the final semester of independent study include a poster session and a scholarly research report. The easiest way to meet these requirements is to take CHEM 496, Graduation with Distinction in Chemistry. Whether a major takes CHEM 496 or not, s/he must fulfill the following two requirements in order for independent study to count toward fulfilling requirements for a degree in chemistry:

  • Research Report (senior thesis). A final research report will be required of all students, with copies to be given to the Coordinator of Independent Study and to the student's research director. The rough draft of the paper, in the style of a technical paper in the scientific literature, will be due to the research director on the Monday before the Poster Session. The final copy, which must be approved well in advance of submission by the faculty mentor, will be due the Monday following the Poster Session. Note: this report is both a department and university requirement and cannot be waived by the research director.
  • Poster Session The last Friday of the spring semester all students who are completing Independent Study projects (i.e. those students who do not intend to pursue their projects further in any future semester) will present their work at a Poster Session open to the general scientific public.