Course Specifics:

Instructor: Dr. Jason C. Hurlbert

Office: Sims 301B

Office hours: TF 10:00 - 11:00 and by appointment

Phone: 323-4928


Meeting Times:

Friday, 9:00 – 9:50AM, Sims 113B

3 credit hours

Textbook: ACS Style Guide, 3rd Edition, Anne Coghill and Lorrin Garson, editors

Course Outline and Objectives:

CHEM 552 is the second of a two-semester sequence that provides a faculty-mentored research experience that exposes undergraduates to hypothesis-based investigations in chemistry. The goals of this course align with University Level Competency (ULC) #1 – “Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems,” and ULC #4 “Winthrop graduates communicate effectively.”

During the Research sequence (CHEM 551 – 552), the student will learn to:

Grading for the course

General Assignments (Specific due dates are listed on the course schedule):

  1. Course Contract (25 pts, recorded by coordinator): After interviewing three (3) potential faculty mentors, select a research mentor (be sure to verify that he or she is available to mentor you). In consultation with your mentor, choose a research committee, and complete the course contract. This is an individual, signed agreement between student, mentor, and committee members outlining the expectations and goals for the semester. Specific guidelines and an example can be found on the course website. Copies of the completed course contract must be given to all parties involved, and to the course coordinator. Please note that failure to satisfy the requirements of the course contract may result in a grade of “F” for the course.
  2. Laboratory Notebook (75 pts, grade submitted by mentor): The mentor will assign grades based on format, neatness, organization and detail.
  3. Laboratory Technique (75 pts, grade submitted by mentor): The mentor will assign grades based on the quality of student’s laboratory performance.
  4. Laboratory Safety (100 pts, grade submitted by mentor): The mentor will assess the student’s laboratory hygiene and safety practices.
  5. Class Participation (100 pts, grade assigned by coordinator): Each student is expected to be prepared for class discussions and actively participate in course meetings. This includes occasional peer review of written assignments. In addition, students may be required to give brief in-class presentations over the course of the semester.

Written Assignments (due dates are listed on the course schedule; grades submitted by each individual committee member):

  1. Introduction (100 pts): A draft of the introduction section of the final paper. This section must include at least 7 references from peer-reviewed sources, with in-text citations and endnotes in the format detailed in class. You should also incorporate any committee feedback obtained from your written and oral proposals into this document.
  2. Materials and Methods (50 pts): Text describing the materials and methods used during your research project written according to the pinnacle journal in your research field. This section must be written so that another reseearcher in the field in another laboratory could follow your procedure and reproduce your results.
  3. Results and Discussion (50 pts): Text describing the results you obtained during your research project and their meaning. Some fields combine Results and Discussion sections, whereas other fields have separate sections of text, defer to the pinnacle journal in your field for guidance.
  4. 552 Final Paper (200 pts): The final paper summarizing your first semester of research, including the revised Title, Introduction, Experimental/Methods, Results/Discussion sections. You should incorporate any feedback received on your previously graded assignments from your mentor and committee. This draft must be fully referenced (minimum of 10 peer-reviewed sources), with in-text citations and endnotes in the format used by the pinnacle journal in your field.

Oral Assignments (due dates are listed on the course schedule; grades determined by committee consensus)

  1. “Elevator Talk” (100 pts): A 2 – 3 minute in-class presentation about your research project aimed at potential employers, friends, and family.
  2. “Presentation to the Rotary Club” (100 pts): An informative 10 minute in-class presentation about your research project geared toward non-science professionals.
  3. Committee Meeting #1 (Oral Progress Report) (100 pts): A 15 – 20 minute oral PowerPoint presentation to your research committee which will include a short review of the background, justification, and plans for your project, followed by a detailed presentation of the progress you have made and any further plans for the remainder of the semester.
  4. 552 Final Presentation (200 pts): You will give a 10 - 12 minute oral PowerPoint presentation of the semester’s work to the entire campus community. The successful presenter will: (1) provide a complete introduction to the goals and significance of the project and the techniques employed, (2) describe experimental methods utilized and results obtained thus far and (3) address specific plans for the following semester. Grades will be submitted by the faculty members attending the presentation.

Total Possible Points = 1075


A: 93 - 100%


B+: 86 - 89.9%

B: 80 - 85.9%

C+: 77 - 79.9%

C: 70 - 76.9%

D: 60 - 69.9%

F: <59.9%