Honors Guidelines

The chemistry department encourages students to engage in independent research, which may be in the form of independent study or honors research projects.
Poster Session

Approximately half of departmental majors earn honors by completing two semester independent study projects and then reporting their work in a formal honors thesis. 

In addition to completing the honors thesis, there are other requirements to receive an honors in chemistry.


Important Honor Project Dates

All Requirements for Honors in Chemistry

Requirements for Honors in Chemistry

Course and Grade Requirements:

A "B" average in courses submitted for the major with the additional requirement that the candidate shall have received no more than two grades below a B in these courses.

  • Courses submitted for the major shall include work in other departments that may be required for the chemistry major. If you have any questions about qualifying for honors please consult with a member of the department.

Regular attendance at departmental seminars.

  • To a large degree, the education of a chemist goes far beyond course and laboratory work and into the "real world" of the practicing chemist. The department provides the opportunity to discover this world through regularly scheduled Friday afternoon seminars presented by chemists in various professions. Typically, the speaker will be available to discuss their job and related opportunities with students at a Kamerling lunch or at pre-seminar socials.

Independent Study and Research

Two semesters of independent study devoted to the study of a single topic are required for an honors in chemistry:

  • At the outset of the project, the student should clearly define the goals and objectives of the research with the advisor. This may include a written proposal or detailed literature search containing the requisite background material.
  • Because independent study is not a highly structured activity, the department expects students to approach it in a conscientious manner with full knowledge of the time commitment needed. The student should establish a schedule with their advisor which recognizes the commitment involved for the scholarly research proposed. This commitment will typically average twelve hours a week, including time spent in the laboratory, library, examining data, and thinking about your project.
Favorable consideration of the project by the department at a mid-year review. This will be done before the end of the fall semester and will contain the following components:
  • A brief written summary of the project by the candidate due prior to the oral presentation. This paper should be a concise summary of the project background, goals, and work completed to date. It should include a bibliography and should be between five and ten pages in length.
  • An oral presentation by the candidate to the department and other interested persons toward the end of the first semester. This will be a twenty-minute presentation based on the written summary and any preliminary results. Each presentation will be followed by a short discussion of what was presented.
  • A written response to the candidate from the department.

Second Presentation

  • This will be in the form of a poster session normally given during reading period. The presentation will be a summary of the results of the project based on the results and discussion section of the honors thesis. Further details will be provided early in the second semester.

Favorable Consideration of the Honors Thesis by the Department.

  • Requirements for the preparation of the thesis are established by the faculty and may be obtained from the librarian. In addition, the announced deadlines for the production and approval of the thesis must be met.
In unusual circumstances, certain students may find themselves unable to meet one or more of these requirements. In such cases, you should meet with your advisor and discuss the possibility of petitioning the chemistry department for a modification of the requirements for honors.