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Research Proposal Requirements in Chemistry & Biochemistry

Students should discuss with their adviser and committee members the expected scope of the proposal significantly in advance of submitting it for review.

Proposal Summary

  • (1 page)
  • The proposal summary contains a description of the proposed activity suitable for publication. It should NOT be an abstract of the proposal, but rather a self-contained description of the activity that would result from the research.
  • The summary should be written in the third person and include a statement of objectives (specific aims and sub-aims) and methods to be employed.
  • It should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and insofar as possible, understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader.

History and Background

  • (minimum 3 pages)
  • How did this research area develop?
  • What is already known?


(1 page)

  • Why is this research area important?
  • What important questions in this research area remain to be answered?

Research Design and Methods (minimum 5-6 pages)

  • Describe how your research plan will accomplish the specific aims of the project.
  • Describe and critically discuss the experimental techniques that you plan to use in your project.
  • Discuss any possible difficulties that may occur and possible solutions.
  • Provide a timeline for completion of each specific aim (and sub-aims).

Preliminary Results

(as appropriate)


  • (1/2 page)
  • Discuss the anticipated outcomes/results and their significance
  • Discuss how the proposed project will add to the knowledge base of the discipline.


  • References must be sequentially numbered in the text and cited according to standard ACS format with complete titles.
  • The bibliography must include at least 30 citations.