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 1 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.

Name: Prathulesh Balasubramanian

Previous Institution: University of Toronto Mississauga

Area of Study: Organic (Rousseaux Group)

Program: MSc

Testimonial: The Summer Research Program was incredibly helpful in helping me ease my way into the research I was going to pursue for my Master’s Thesis. One of the major advantages of starting in the summer, is that I was able to familiarize myself with the department and the labs, as well as get an idea of how Sophie’s research group is run. Doing research in the summer also allowed me to have a slower transition into graduate school. I was able to fully integrate into my research group and become comfortable with my surrounding and the instruments. This was especially important to me, since I had not used many of the instrument’s tat I would need to use on a regular basis. I was able to focus on my research and practice my laboratory skills and techniques before beginning my courses and TA positions, along with all the other departmental requirements. One example where this transition was very noticeable is at the start of the first semester. The first semester of graduate school has a lot of adjustments that can be very overwhelming. Since I had already completed the safety training required, moved into my workspace, and gotten my keys to the lab in the summer, it eased the number of things I had to do at the beginning of the semester. Overall, I found that the Summer Research Program better prepared me for graduate school, and I was grateful for taking advantage of such a valuable opportunity.

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!

Name: Marco Quintanilla-Riviere

Previous Institution: Western University
Area of Study: Organic (Batey group)

Program: MSc

Testimonial: Coming to graduate school, I knew that I wanted to try an area of chemistry that I had the least experience in, and that was organic chemistry. Not only was this a huge shift from the inorganic background from which I came, but I had to learn a wide array of organic synthesis techniques and lab skills. The summer program at UofT provided me with a much-needed head start during the low-stress summer that allowed me to adjust to being an organic chemist. The slow transition into the heavy demands of graduate school made the whole experience more manageable, and I would recommend everyone take this opportunity if you can. Another bonus of the summer program is being able to test out a particular lab and supervisor before making that commitment in the fall; think of it as a 3-month trial and training program that pays you!


Name: Mina Stefanovic

Previous Institution:  McMaster University

Area of Study: Analytical (Wheeler Group)

Program: MSc

Testimonial: Having the opportunity to participate in the Summer Research Program has made my transition to graduate school a lot smoother. Adjusting to a new lab environment takes time. This program allowed me to focus solely on familiarizing myself in the lab, while completing much of the administrative tasks/training, without the overlap of TAships and graduate courses. Additionally, this program gave me a chance to get to know my supervisor and my colleagues, as well as learn the dynamic of the lab, an important factor when selecting a research group for your program. By the end of my three months, I felt very confident in my decision to pursue my master’s degree in this lab, and I even got a bit of a head start on my research project. I encourage all incoming graduate students who apply early to enroll in the Summer Research Program. I found that establishing those early relationships with members in the lab eased my transition into my program in September.

Name: Marvick Lee

Previous Institution: McMaster University

Area of Study: Organic Chemistry

Program: Master of Science

Testimonial: The Summer Research Program is an extremely beneficial experience that new students should take advantage of. As a student who spent half of my undergraduate degree online, being part of this program had provided me an opportunity to improve on my research and lab skills. Without the workloads from courses and TAship during the year, this program had given me sufficient time to learn and get used to conducting full-time research and using the equipment in the lab. I was also able to familiarize myself with the lab environment and how the lab functions during this program. More importantly, I was able to understand the background of my research project and my supervisor's expectations on research progress. Overall, the summer research program is a great experience where you can get yourself a comfortable head start and transition into grad school.

Nahil Al Zuhaika Name: Nahil Al Zuhaika

Previous Institution:  University of Toronto

Area of Study: Inorganic (Stephan Group)

Program:  MSc

Testimonial: Being able to participate in the Summer Research Program was extremely rewarding. While it allows you to get a head-start on your research, it also benefitted me by giving me the opportunity to brush up on some of my research and laboratory skills that I did not get to practice as much due to the pandemic. It is truly a game-changer, as you get to focus completely on research without the interference of other graduate responsibilities such as your grad courses or TAships. The Summer Research Program was also a great way to get familiarized with a lab's environment, a commute, and the campus before officially committing to joining a lab in September, which is one of the most important decisions you need to make when you pursue your graduate studies. Overall, submitting my application to grad school by the early deadline and participating in this program was one of the best decisions I have made and I would recommend anyone considering joining our program to follow in those footsteps!