Departmental Honors in Chemistry and Biochemistry

Requirements and Expectations



Departmental Honors are awarded to qualified undergraduate majors in recognition of scholarly achievement. To be eligible, a student must:

1.         Be a Chemistry and Biochemistry major with a cumulative grade point average in the major of at least 3.3, or obtain permission from the Departmental Honors Advisor.

2.         Complete a research project in chemistry or biochemistry. 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 or biochemistry 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.


The faculty committee for each candidate recommends the award of summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, or in rare cases no honors.   The recommendation if then considered by the Honors council of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the council votes upon the award of Honors for each candidate. The departmental recommendation is based upon the candidates GPA, research accomplishments, and written and oral presentations. A strong performance in one area can compensate for an average showing in another. The following general guidelines apply:

Cum laude: GPA in the major greater than 3.3. Satisfactory research paper and oral presentation.

Magna cum laude: GPA in the major greater than 3.5. A research paper describing publishable work and a good oral presentation reflecting general knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry in addition to knowledge of the specialized areas.

Summa cum laude: GPA in the major greater than 3.8. A superior research paper and oral presentation describing publishable work of high quality. The oral presentation and paper should reflect considerable familiarity with the research area and also a general knowledge of chemistry or biochemistry and its place in the modern world.



For more information, students should consult a departmental Honors Advisor. General information about Honors can be obtained from the Honors Program Office, Norlin Library, room M400L, x2-6617.

 For more information, students should consult one of the Honors Co-Chairs: Prof. Joe Falke, JSCBB B218, x2-3503 (Biochemistry); or Prof. Rob Parson, JILA A609, x2-7751 (Chemistry).