Honors Program

Graduate with Departmental Honors.

Graduate with departmental honors

The Department of Chemistry, under the direction of the Honors College, offers a departmental honors program for students who demonstrate exemplary abilities in their discipline. Students in this program will work closely with faculty mentors in an individual program of research, directed readings, independent study and seminar. Departmental Honors will be posted to the transcript shortly after the bachelor's degree is conferred.

Criteria for Admission into the Departmental Honors Program

  • Major in chemistry or forensic chemistry
  • Completion of at least 60 units of courses
  • Overall cumulative average of 3.25 or above and a 3.50 cumulative or above in their major course requirements — students below this threshold may appeal to the department honors coordinator.

Interested students should contact the department to find out more about applying to this program.

Applying for Departmental Honors

Candidates for departmental honors must select a faculty research adviser in the Department of Chemistry. The adviser will act as a mentor in the candidate's research, will serve on the candidate's thesis committee and will help to supervise the honors process. The student and adviser will choose a research topic on which the thesis will be based.

Candidates should obtain a copy of the "Departmental Honors Program Handbook" from the Honors College so that they are aware of all the relevant university regulations and procedures concerning departmental honors.

Prior to enrolling in the Honors Thesis Course (CHEM 499), the candidate must submit the following to the departmental honors coordinator:

  • A departmental honors application form
  • A copy of their academic transcript
  • An honors thesis proposal

The thesis proposal would normally be approximately five pages in length (plus a title page) with both the candidate's and adviser's names and a bibliography. This would represent the product of at least one semester's prior work reviewing the literature and doing research in the experimental or theoretical aspects of the chosen topic. The research adviser should certify the proposal is feasible in its aim and scope, and appropriate to the abilities and time constraints of the student.

After obtaining departmental approval, the departmental honors application and honors thesis proposal must be delivered to the Honors College office for approval.

Formation of a Thesis Committee

Candidates seeking the departmental honors are required to form a thesis committee composed of (at a minimum) their research adviser, the departmental honors coordinator and an additional faculty member. Candidates for departmental honors who are also Honors College students are required to have a representative from the Honors College as a committee member. The members of the committee should be chosen in consultation with the thesis adviser. Once the thesis committee membership is set, the committee members will select a committee chair. Members of the committee are responsible for reading and responding to the thesis and evaluating the work performed, the public presentation of the work and the oral examination. Once the entire process is completed, the committee members will sign the two required printed copies of the thesis, which will be kept in the Special Collections of Cook Library.

Requirements for Completion of the Departmental Honors Program

  • Completion of a minimum of six units of independent coursework. Two units will be for CHEM 499; the remainder can be chosen from CHEM 391, CHEM 491-4, and MBBB 490 (if supervised by a Department of Chemistry faculty member). A maximum of 1 unit of CHEM 391 may be included in this total, and this body of coursework must have been taken over a minimum of three semesters.
  • An overall cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 in courses required for the major. Candidates failing to reach this threshold may appeal to the departmental honors coordinator.
  • An honors thesis written in the format specified by the Publications Committee of the American Chemical Society, or a format approved by the Departmental Honors coordinator. It should include a title page, approval sheet and consecutively numbered pages through the notes and bibliography.
  • A public oral defense of the thesis project. The audience will be composed of the thesis committee, invited guests, and any interested students, faculty members and staff members. After an introduction of the student by the research adviser, the student will give an oral synopsis of their work (approximately 30 minutes in length), which will be followed by a closed oral examination of the student by the thesis committee.
  • Delivery of two unbound, signed copies of the honors thesis on white paper, plus an electronic copy (preferably on a CD) to the Honors College office by the last day of the final exam period.