Search within:

Departmental Honors in Chemistry & Biochemistry

The Chemistry Department Honors Coordinator is Dr. Jixin Chen. The Undergraduate Chair is Dr. Lauren McMills.

General Guidelines

The departmental honors program in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department is awarded through the College of Arts & Sciences for those students satisfying a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a GPA of 3.3 or higher and the addition of a written senior thesis (or a published research paper). There is no extra financial cost upon graduation. Details of this program can be obtained from the department

Students who meet the honors criteria and the deadlines will receive a diploma (and transcript) with the words "With Honors" after the degree.


Students with a GPA 3.3 or higher at the end of their junior fall semester are qualified. Students who meet the GPA are encouraged to apply for the program during the spring semester of the student's junior year.


The student will talk to the Department Honor Coordinator and fill out an application form that is then confirmed by his or her research adviser.

If a student has not joined a research lab, the student will meet with fewer than five faculty in the department to provide a list of research advisers to the program coordinator, who will contact the advisers to decide the first to accept the student, with priority giving to those on the top of the list. Failing to join a research lab in the department will end the application process. The student's academic adviser will be a good source of information for students desiring to pursue an honors program.

The research adviser and the student will work together to set a committee (at least two graduate faculty) for the student. This information should be sent to the program coordinator.

The student will conduct research for at least two semesters. (The student can register CHEM 4940 for credits.) Research experience in the same lab before the application also is acceptable.

The student is required to write a thesis (minimum of 25 pages). If the student is a primary author of a research paper that has been published or has been accepted for publication by the deadline for submission of the thesis, the thesis can be waived.

The committee will meet with the student (at least) one week before the college deadline. A formal defense is recommended but not required. However, the student must answer questions showing that he or she understands the details of the research project described in the senior honor thesis or publication. A final form will be signed by all the committee members after the meeting.

The final step for approval of the honors thesis is to complete a form provided by the College of Arts & Sciences and to meet the college undergraduate adviser in the college office to review the thesis for formatting. The honors thesis will be sent to Dr. Randy Price. who will review and sign the thesis. If the thesis is associated with on-progress or future publications, it will be submitted to the library with an on-hold status. See the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Approval.

Departmental Criteria

  • No extra financial cost.
  • All graduation requirements of Chemistry and Biochemistry must be fulfilled.
  • Maintain the required overall and major GPA. A 3.3 GPA or higher is standard, but exceptions can be made for students with a 3.0 GPA.
  • Meet committee (usually the project adviser and a faculty member that the student has chosen) expectations for satisfactory progress. Expectations, including appropriate deadlines, must be conveyed to the student by the committee.
  • Work at least two semesters in the same adviser's research lab on one or more projects. Safety training is required for the student working in the lab.
  • The course associated with the research is CHEM 4940 and CHEM 4941.
  • In the graduation semester, please register CHEM 4940H one credit to work with the coordinator in writing a thesis or a paper.
  • Complete an original thesis or project of approximately 25 or more pages that requires original research and significant writing. The thesis or project must be approved and signed by the thesis committee. The thesis requirement will be waived if the student is the primary author of a research paper that has been accepted for publication by the deadline for submission of the thesis.
  • Meet all deadlines.

Departmental Deadlines

  • Program application deadline: April 15 of one's junior year.
  • Thesis/paper deadline: three weeks before the exam week of the graduation semester. Papers must have been published or have been accepted for publication.
  • Committee meeting and defense deadline: one week before the college final deadline.
  • Final form deadline: See the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Approval.

Funding Opportunities

Students are encouraged to apply for funding through the Provost's Undergraduate Research Fund. The committee is expected to encourage and advise students on applying for the PURF.

How to Get Started

  • Contact the honors coordinator.
  • Review the above guidelines to know what is expected.
  • Consult with your supervisor to discuss the research project.
  • Meet with the Departmental Honors Coordinator about how to proceed.