Undergraduate Research Inspired Experimental Chemistry Alternatives (URIECA)

The Department of Chemistry offers a laboratory curriculum that introduces students to cutting-edge research topics in a modular format.

Each URIECA module is based on or linked to the research of a faculty member in the department. URIECA teaches core chemistry concepts within the modern contexts of:

  • Catalysis
  • Synthesis
  • Nanoscience
  • Materials engineering
  • Biological imaging
  • Spectroscopy

In addition, many modules emphasize inquiry into the mechanical and electrical inner workings of the spectroscopic instrumentation used in the experiments, thereby presenting elementary engineering principles to the students.

The URIECA sequence is highly flexible:

  • composed of 12 independent, 4-unit modules
  • students may register for one to four modules per semester (See sample Roadmaps)
  • students have control over their workload and maximum flexibility in scheduling
  • students enrolled in up to three modules in a single semester can complete all of their lab work in only two afternoons a week


For the purpose of satisfying the definition of a subject in the faculty regulations, the 12 URIECA modules (Labeled Module 1 through 12) have been divided into four URIECA subjects (5.35, 5.36, 5.37, and 5.38). Each 12-unit subject contains three, 4-unit modules. Because the grouping of the modules does not fall neatly into the 12-unit definition of a subject, many modules do not need to be taken and cannot be taken according to their numerical sequence of 1 through 12. In addition, many modules within a subject are not offered in the same semester. (See sample Roadmaps)

Students who do not plan to complete all three modules in a subject should register for the "U" equivalent subject (5.35U, 5.36U, 5.37U).

Students who will typically opt for a "U" subject are:

  • freshmen who are exploring chemistry and wish to take only one or two modules in 5.35
  • premed students who wish to take only the organic and biochemistry modules within 5.36 and 5.37