Summer Research Program

Domestic students who accept the offer of admission into one of our graduate studies programs are also offered a Summer Research Fellowship.

  • Apply by the early deadline of February 1 and accept our offer of admission by April 15 in order to be considered for this great opportunity.
  • This is a chance to work for any chemistry graduate faculty member during the summer but may choose a different thesis advisor after officially registering in the graduate program in September.
  • Contact a research faculty in chemistry about working in his or her lab over the summer right after receiving the letter of offer.
  • Experience gained from the summer research program will tend to reduce time to obtain degree and increase chances of producing publications in the near future. These publications are important for future scholarship applications and prospective career goals.
  • Repayment of an award is required if a student is in full-time attendance fewer than 12 weeks in the program, withdraws from the summer program or fails to register in the graduate program in September.
  • Application procedures can be found here.  Further information will also be forwarded by the Chemistry Graduate Office in the first week of April.


Our Students' Experience


Riley HickmanName: Riley Hickman

PreviousInstitution: Carleton University 

Area of Study: Chemical Physics (Aspuru-Guzik Group) 

Program: Direct-Entry PhD

Testimonial: The Summer Research Program offered by the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto has proven to be an extremely valuable opportunity that I have fully taken advantage of. I was lucky enough to work alongside Dr. Si Yue Guo and several other distinguished postdoctoral researchers in the Aspuru-Guzik group on an international, multidisciplinary project. This was a phenomenal chance for me to quickly learn what is expected of me as a graduate student, and to become immersed in a plethora of world-class research. Senior group members were inviting, patient, and exceedingly knowledgeable about graduate student life. I was even able to attend seminars for postdocs regarding the academic job hunt and entrepreneurship. At the beginning of September, I really felt I was thoroughly prepared to start my degree. I would without a doubt recommend the Summer Research Program to any ambitious graduate student joining the department. 

Racquel EdjocName: Racquel Edjoc

Previous Institution: University of Ottawa

Area of Study: Organic (Rousseaux Group)

Program: Direct-Entry PhD

Testimonial: Through the Summer Research Program, I was able to comfortably ease my way into my research and familiarize myself with not only my lab but the rest of the department. Working during the summer has given me the opportunity dedicate myself completely to my research without the added stress of classes and working as a teaching assistant. By the end of the program I felt confident with using all of the instrumentation in the lab and felt completely integrated with my coworkers. I was also fortunate enough to attend numerous seminars with popular organic researchers. This was a valuable experience because I was able learn more about organic research all over the world and it has allowed me to start networking early in my graduate career. It was important for me to take a short break between my bachelor’s degree and starting my graduate program. With the flexibility of the program I was able take a short break so I felt refreshed before starting my PhD.

Chieh Hung TienName: Chieh Hung Tien

Previous Institution: Dalhousie University

Area of Study: Organic (Yudin Group)

Program: PhD

Testimonial: The Summer Research Program was a fantastic experience as it allowed me to conduct research under experienced members of the group without interference of TAship and courses. Moreover, I was fortunate enough to be put on an interesting project at the beginning of summer which opened my eyes to tons of new chemistry, and will ultimately lead to a publication within my first year of studies at U of T. Summer in Toronto is also packed with lots of activities and fests which are great experiences for anyone coming from smaller cities. In conclusion, the Summer Research Program is great for anyone who is eager to gain hands-on experience before the start of their graduate careers.

Sarah BickersName: Sarah Bickers

Previous Institution: University of Waterloo

Area of Study: Biological Chemistry (Kanelis Lab)

Program: MSc

Testimonial: Starting my academic journey in the Chemistry Department early by partaking in the Summer Research Program was a great opportunity to become acquainted with graduate student life at the University of Toronto. The program was an invaluable experience as it enabled me to connect with other incoming graduate and current graduate students, who shared their experiences and gave advice on having a productive graduate project. I was also able to reduce initial research hurtles by becoming familiarized with the campus, graduate resources as well as the lab environment. The specific project I was interested in, was split between research facilities located in Toronto and Mississauga. As someone who is from outside the GTA, the commute between the two cities seemed daunting. The Research Program allowed me to experience my potential commute, before committing to the project which I ultimately embraced with confidence. I encourage other incoming graduate students to also make use of the fantastic program!

Kelly FirthName: Kelly Firth

Previous Institution: University of Western Ontario
Area of Study: Inorganic (Stephan Group)

Program: MSc

Testimonial: I was very grateful for the opportunity to start my graduate research the summer before I was officially enrolled as a student. The extra time really helped me get my bearings in the lab before the chaos of classes and TA assignments began. I think this opportunity was especially important as a Masters student, since time is extremely limited to complete research in the 12-14 month program.

Heather LamName: Heather Lam

Previous Institution:  University of Toronto

Area of Study: Organic (Lautens Group)

Program: PhD

Testimonial: The Summer Research Program was a wonderful interlude between the end of my undergrad and my entry into graduate studies in organic synthesis. To broaden my knowledge and the spectrum of people I would be acquainted with, I opted to work in a group that did something other than what I was planning to do in the fall. I chose to work in the Winnik Group, which is well-known for their synthesis of polymers and nanoparticles. My role in the project I was a part of was to synthesize a modified siderophore, a natural iron-chelating agent, so it could be used to chelate a variety of other metals. I had the amazing opportunity to work under an insightful and detail-oriented PhD student, Cookie Cho as well the incredibly knowledgeable Professor Winnik. Under their tutelage, we were able to obtain the results that we ultimately presented to a biological research equipment company, Fluidigm, at the end of the summer. 
In addition to gaining valuable experience in the lab, I was able to meet a lot of the other incoming students and got to know many of the graduate students who were already working at Lash Miller. They were eager to share their experiences in their respective groups so I was able to form a more educated decision as to which professor to work with in the fall.

Adam PollitName: Adam Pollit

Previous Institution:  University of Waterloo

Area of Study: Polymers and Materials (Seferos Group)

Program:  Direct-Entry PhD

Testimonial: Joining the Department of Chemistry in May as part of the Summer Research Program gave me the unique opportunity to begin integrating myself into a lab months ahead of lab-mates, becoming accustomed to research during the low-key summer term. Initiating a research project over the summer (free from coursework and other obligations) was extremely beneficial for quickly developing the skills necessary to become self-sufficient in the lab, speeding project progress while simultaneously smoothing the transition into graduate life at the beginning of fall. I would highly recommend this program to graduate students entering the department, particularly those who are looking to expedite their research early on.