NCSSM Durham

Research in Chemistry

About Research in Chemistry ("RChem")

Research in Chemistry is a course for students who are interested in learning about the research process, how to independently design and execute a chemistry research project, and deepen their knowledge of an area of chemistry that excites them. 

Current Student to Contact

What would I do in the program?

During the January term students will learn how to read scientific journal articles and design experiments.  In the spring semester, students will write a literature review on their individual topic of interest as well as a research proposal.  Concurrently students will learn advanced chemistry researching techniques, both in the laboratory and computationally, and begin their research.  In the fall semester students will complete their research, and produce a research paper, poster and oral presentation, the three main methods scientists use to communicate their work.

How do I know this program is a good fit for me? 

Students in this program should be passionate about chemistry and able to work independently.  They should have good time management and strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  Research can be frustrating as there is often no “right” answer.  A strong interest in what you are studying will go a long way to help you during those periods when your experiments are not going as you planned.  This class is designed to teach you how to go through the entire process of research from formulating a hypothesis to presenting your findings.  No prior research experience is required!  Only a passion for chemistry! 

What projects have past / current students worked on?

Materials Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry

Organic and Biochemistry

Electrochemistry and Batteries

Application Deadline

September 29,
12:00 PM (Noon)


Junior J-Term,
Junior Spring,
& Senior Fall


3-Week Summer Session &
Two Semesters

Course Information

 CH4920, J-Term
CH4921 & CH4922, Academic Year

Tim Anglin, NCSSM Durham Instructor of Chemistry

Tim Anglin has been a member of the NCSSM science faculty since 2015. As a faculty member, Tim instructs AP and Core Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, and Research. Before coming to NCSSM, Tim also instructed courses in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. At NCSSM Tim also sponsors the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge that promotes student entrepreneurship and technology development.

Michael Bruno, NCSSM Durham Instructor and Chair of Chemistry

A member of the chemistry faculty at NCSSM since 2013, Michael Bruno has taught a variety of courses including Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Research in Chemistry. He received his bachelor's degree in Physical Biochemistry from Dartmouth College and a doctorate degree in Biochemistry from Cornell University. He is passionate about teaching with a guided inquiry pedagogy, POGIL, and is serving on the POGIL Project Steering Committee from 2019-2021. He has been elected as a member and officer of the faculty senate, served on the calendar committee, the Graduate Visioning Committee, the Morganton Academic Programs Steering Committee and the Faculty Evaluation Committee. He has organized on-campus and off-campus workshops in guided inquiry learning. He has served as the Chair of Chemistry since 2015. His publications include PNAS, Biophysical Journal, Faraday Discussions, and a book chapter detailing the single-molecule kinetics methods he helped develop in graduate school.

Course Descriptions

CH4920 Research Chem I (*R*)

Prerequisite(s): By application in the Fall of the Junior year.

Corequisite(s): None

Graduation Requirements Met: January Term

Schedule Requirements Met: January Term

Meeting Times: Two week intensive January Term

This is an advanced course for January Term junior students with the maturity, independence, and motivation necessary to conduct their own research project. Students learn the scientific method and experimental design before conducting a trial experiment on a small scale. Students then write a mini- literature review on the topic of interest to them. Throughout the term students read from the primary scientific literature and participate in discussion groups on current issues in biological research. Students with a final grade of P or higher are expected to continue in Research in Chemistry II. This course includes a significant research component.

CH4921 Research Chem II (*R*)

Prerequisite(s): Students with Junior standing apply in the Fall for entry in RChem I taught during the 1st two weeks of Jan Term.

Corequisite(s): None

Graduation Requirements Met: One STEM credit OR One Chemistry credit

Schedule Requirements Met: One of five courses required each semester

Meeting Times: Seven periods per week and three labs

This is an advanced course for second semester junior students who have completed the CH492. Students write a detailed research proposal. Students begin to learn additional techniques and to gather data for their experiments. Based on the outcomes of the term's work, students may be given an opportunity to participate in summer research programs on campus. Students with a final grade of B or higher are expected to continue in CH496 Research in Chemistry III. This course includes a significant research component. This course includes topics that satisfy the chemistry graduation requirement.

CH4922 Research Chem III (*R*)

Prerequisite(s): Final grade of B or higher in Research in Chemistry II, or successful participation in a summer research program and permission of the Dean of Science.

Corequisite(s): None

Graduation Requirements Met: One STEM credit

Schedule Requirements Met: One of five courses required each semester

Meeting Times: Seven periods per week and three labs

Students continue work on their previous research to produce additional data and conduct statistical analysis, as needed. They may research extension questions based on their original work. Students write a formal research paper and prepare a formal presentation. Students are required to present their results at the NCSSM Research Symposium in the spring and are encouraged to present their research at the North Carolina Student Academy of Science competition and other competitions. This course includes a significant research component.