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Senior Individualized Project

Senior Individualized Project

Kalamazoo College requires all students to perform a Senior Individualized Project (SIP) as a graduation requirement. Though it is not required, many students choose to pursue the SIP in their major field. The student assumes the initiative for selecting the area of the project and his/her supervisor. The project's goals are determined jointly by the student and the supervisor, to ensure that the student has a genuine interest in the area of the project and thus guarantee a high degree of motivation. For chemistry majors, the SIP usually consists of a laboratory research project done under the supervision of a research scientist.

The SIP in chemistry is typically done in the summer following the junior year.

You and your supervisor should prepare a formal proposal describing the specific project to be undertaken, for the chemistry department to review. The extent of the project should be such that it is possible to come to some conclusion at the end of the ten-week period. After completion of the project, the department requires the student to submit a formal written report and to give an oral presentation of the work. The report is to be written in ACS style and must clearly indicate the portion of the work carried out by the student. The report should include sufficient background material to make the report clear to the student's chemistry major peers. If the supervisor feels that the information in the student's SIP thesis should be kept confidential, that thesis may be withheld from the general public for a limited time, after which it will be placed in the Kalamazoo College library. The student must, however, give an oral presentation at the departmental seminar in order to receive credit for the project. Supervisors will be asked to evaluate the student's work and written report at the end of the project.

Most SIPs will take place in the summer between the junior and senior years. At this point a typical student will have completed two courses in general chemistry, two courses in organic chemistry, and one course each in analytical and physical chemistry. All of these courses include a laboratory. Some students may have had a course in biochemistry or an additional course in organic chemistry. Physics and calculus courses are required cognates. Chemistry seniors should be competent in standard laboratory methods such as conventional wet quantitative analysis, standard spectroscopic and electroanalytical methods, and in the use of computer software for data analysis. They should have reasonable competence in the synthesis, manipulation, and purification of stable organic compounds. Many students will have work experience in a research or industrial laboratory setting.