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students in lab photoAlthough the curriculum of each department is unique, important generalizations can be made about the presence of a research component at all levels. At the introductory level, courses include laboratory sections, led by the professor responsible for the course, in which students learn basic research techniques and research design. Students write lab reports that are evaluated by the professor. Primary research material is introduced along with textbook material. Because of the reliance on primary materials in courses it is relatively easy for Reed faculty to incorporate emerging scientific developments into their teaching.

students in lab photo  
students in lab photo  

In mid- and upper-level courses, students propose research, indicate analyses, anticipate outcomes, and discuss implications. Some courses require students to do quasi-independent research, often in groups. Primary research material is emphasized. Independent research, designed and executed by students, is required in most upper-level courses. These experiences prepare students for the senior thesis research project.

The commitment to the integration of research and education is exemplified by support for student research opportunities and access to equipment. The college recently created an institution-wide undergraduate research expense endowment available to all juniors and seniors for costs associated with student research. Students are also supported with faculty grants and college funds to do research in on-campus faculty laboratories during the summer, an important complement to the regular academic program.

The science laboratories at Reed are among the best equipped of any undergraduate college in the United States. More important than the equipment itself, however, is the philosophy of its use. While sophisticated instruments in university laboratories are often available only to graduate students and faculty, Reed undergraduates have complete access to all equipment. Upper division students receive keys to laboratories and offices, and these facilities are often used around the clock. This tradition of "open shop" access enables Reed students to become familiar with instrumentation techniques not commonly available to undergraduates and gives them a distinct advantage in more advanced scientific environments.

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