Requirements for Honors in Chemistry

Requirements for Honors in Chemistry

1.  “B” average (3.0 GPA) in courses submitted for the major. 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 Chemistry Department.

2.Two semesters of Advanced Independent Study conducted in a fall/spring sequence during the senior year devoted to the study of a single topic.

(a) 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.

(b) 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 that recognizes the commitment involved for the scholarly research proposed. This commitment will typically average 12-15 hours a week, including time spent in the laboratory and library, examining data, and thinking about your project.

3. Regular attendance at weekly Workshops and Department 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 scientists. The Department provides the opportunity to develop writing, record-keeping, and communication skills through Workshop activities and to discover the world through regularly scheduled afternoon seminars presented by chemists in various professions. Typically the speaker will be available to discuss their careers paths and research with students at pre- or post-seminar meetings.

4. Favorable consideration of the project by the Department at a mid-year review. This will be done before the end of the fall semester. The mid-year review will contain the following components.

(a) Submit a polished written summary (the Midyear Report) to the Department. This report should, at a minimum, include “Abstract”, “Introduction and Background,” “Methods,” “Preliminary Results and Discussion,” “Conclusions,” and “Future Work” sections. The “Introduction and Background” section may not exceed 10 pages, but there is no page limit for the other sections. 

(b) An oral presentation by the candidate to the Department and other interested persons. This will be a 15-minute presentation based on the written summary and any preliminary results. Each presentation will be followed by a short discussion of what was presented. 

(c) A written response to the candidate from the Department. This response will note any areas the Department feels are weak in the candidate’s progress, and may also include recommendations for addressing them.

5. Second Presentation. This will be in the form of a poster presentation. Candidates are encouraged to study the posters of previous candidates currently exhibited in the hallways for useful presentation ideas. The presentation will be a summary of the results of the project based on the results and discussion section of the Honors Paper. The advisor will provide further details early in the second semester. These presentations will be during the Reading Period.

6.Favorable consideration of the Honors Paper by the Department. Requirements for the preparation of the thesis are established by the Faculty and may be obtained from the Librarian. 

(a) Final draft of paper submitted to advisor. This draft should not contain excessive typographical or stylistic errors and you should consider it to be excellent, and not draft, condition. The advisor will likely make considerable revisions of the paper that must be addressed prior to submitting it to the Department.

(b) Three copies of the paper (one copy for our advisor and two for the departmental readers) submitted to the Department. The paper should be in a form suitable for submission to the Library. Only a limited number of minor mistakes may be corrected at this stage. More than minor errors at this point are signs of sloppy, unprofessional work and will result in rejection of the paper and denial of Honors by the Department.

(c) Paper submitted to the Librarian; you must also submit one final version of your paper (ordinary photocopier paper is fine) to the Department for its archives.

7. In unusual circumstances, certain students may find themselves unable to meet one or more of these requirements. In such cases, students should meet with their advisor and discuss the possibility of petitioning the Chemistry Department for a modification of the requirements for Honors. Requests to petition should be submitted by the student to the Department Chair.