We encourage all CHEM majors who are hoping to graduate with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or above to consider the departmental Honors thesis option. The departmental Honors thesis allows you to engage in your education in a unique and challenging way, paving the way for your development as an independent thinker. Additionally, an Honors thesis is a highly valuable asset for entry into graduate programs or medical school, obtaining personal and insightful letters of recommendation from your thesis advisor and committee members, and making you stand out to future employers.
Interested students should identify one or more faculty members whose research interest are compatible with your own. You should also contact the departmental Honors Program director, Dr. Robert Parson, for more information about the CHEM Departmental Honors thesis and to be accepted into the CHEM Honors program.
General Guidelines to Graduate with Honors
- Be a Chemistry major with a GPA of at least 3.3, or obtain permission from the Departmental Honors Advisor, Dr. Robert Parson.
- Complete a research project in chemistry. This requirement is normally satisfied by taking 6 (or more) credit hours of independent study (CHEM 4901). With the approval of the Department Honors Advisor, a student may substitute an equivalent amount of research work done through the UROP or Hughes Initiative programs, or through other individual arrangements. Students may carry out their research with a faculty advisor from another department, so long as the work is chemistry related. In exceptional circumstances, with prior approval, students may satisfy the requirements for advanced work with 3 credit hours of independent study and 3 credit hours in a formal, graduate level course.
- During the final semester of undergraduate study, submit a written thesis and make a formal oral presentation based on this research to a committee of three faculty members. The thesis is typically 25 - 50 pages in length and provides experience with data analysis and interpretation. The oral presentation provides experience in scientific speaking and answering questions posed by a discerning, but friendly, committee. The committee normally includes the student’s research advisor, the Departmental Honors Advisor, and the one faculty from outside the Department of Chemistry. The oral presentation, which is a University requirement for the granting of Departmental Honors, is arranged in consultation with the Honors Advisor.