Lab Curriculum

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
  • Biotechnology
  • 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:

  • it is composed of 12 independent modules
  • students may register for one to four modules per semester
  • 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

URIECA Module Descriptions

5.39: Research and Communication in Chemistry

This is an independent research class under the direction of a member of the Chemistry Department faculty. It allows students with a strong interest in independent research to fulfill part of the laboratory requirement for the Chemistry Department Program in the context of a research laboratory at MIT. The research must be conducted on the MIT campus and be a continuation of a previous 12-unit UROP project or full-time work over the summer. Instruction and practice in written and oral communication is provided, culminating in a poster presentation of the work at the annual departmental UROP symposium and a research publication-style writeup of the results. Permission of the faculty research supervisor and the Chemistry Education Office must be obtained in advance.

5.301: Chemistry Lab Techniques

The aim of this IAP course is to provide first-year students with intensive practical training in basic chemistry lab techniques, including:

  • Transfer and manipulation of small quantities of organic and inorganic compounds
  • Purification methods for liquid and solid substances (distillation, recrystallization, chromatography)
  • Structure and determination by NMR, infrared, UV spectroscopic analysis, and Mass Spectroscopy
  • Quantitative analysis of biochemical, organic, and inorganic substances by spectroscopic and chromatographic methods

5.301 is intended to provide first-year students with the skills necessary to undertake original research projects in chemistry. Students selected for this course are guaranteed a UROP in the Department of Chemistry for the Spring or Summer 2019, however, this course is not a Prereq for a Chemistry UROP.

For more information and to apply for this IAP course, please visit the 5.301 page.