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Undergraduate Chemistry

Honors Program in Chemistry

Honors Chemistry Courses

The honors sections of some chemistry courses are offered on a regular basis. Students who are not enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College may take these courses but will be required to submit a Prerequisite Override request and it will go to the instructor of that course for approval. Instructions regarding requesting prerequisite overrides are available on the LionPATH Support site. Chemistry majors who have strong qualifications and are willing to accept the challenges involved are encouraged to enroll in these honors sections.

Honors lecture classes are smaller than regular classes, which allows for greater interaction with the instructor.

Honors laboratory courses involve projects that make extensive use of modern chemical instrumentation and expose students to contemporary research methodologies early in their careers.

Both aspects of honors courses are valuable preparation for joining one of the many research groups in the department at an early date.

Talk with your advisor about enrollment in honors classes. Students with exceptional academic records (CGPA > 3.7) who are not in the honors program may apply for admission as rising sophomores and juniors. Application materials are available in early March.  Learn more about Schreyer Honors College.


Below is a list of honors sections regularly offered:

Course Credits Semester Offered
CHEM 110H Chemical Principles I 3 Fall
CHEM 112H Chemical Principles II 3 Spring
CHEM 210H Organic Chemistry I 4 Fall
CHEM 212H Organic Chemistry II 3 Spring
CHEM 213M Laboratory in Organic Chemistry 2 Spring
CHEM 431M* Organic and Inorganic Preparations 4 Fall
CHEM 452H Physical Chemistry II - Quantum Chemistry 3 Yearly

*CHEM 431M is not a regular course offering but it can be scheduled as an honors option.


Research Theses

To earn an honors degree in Chemistry, a student must prepare a thesis in chemistry or a related area and do so under the supervision of a thesis advisor (or co-advisor) who is a faculty member within the Department of Chemistry. More information can be found below and on the Schreyer Honors College (SHC) website. For students who are members of the Schreyer Honors College (SHC), a thesis is required to graduate with distinction.  For all other students, the Eberly College of Science offers a certificate via the Science Research Distinction (SCIRES) program

Completing a research thesis indicates a high level of achievement, and the resulting distinction is an important addition to your CV. Details of the specific requirements and deadlines for these two approaches can be found at the SHC and SCIRES websites listed above.  From the perspective of the chemistry department, the requirements for an undergraduate research thesis in chemistry are the same for honors and non-honors students. Research in chemistry or a related area must be undertaken under the supervision of a thesis advisor (or co-advisor) who is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry.  The thesis will be evaluated by a three-person committee consisting of the research advisor and at least two other faculty members. In the case of SHC theses, one of the committee members should be your honors advisor. At least two members of the committee must be from the tenure-track faculty; the third participant may be a non-tenure- track faculty member. When appropriate, participating faculty members may be from departments other than chemistry. Note that the chemistry requirements for thesis evaluation are more comprehensive than those of the SHC or the SCIRES programs. Students fulfilling the chemistry requirements will automatically fulfill the requirements of either of these two programs.

After the thesis is approved by the research advisor, and at least one week prior to the submission deadline, students should provide a complete copy of the thesis to all committee members and schedule a meeting with the committee. During this meeting, the candidate first presents a 20–30-minute talk to their committee members and, if desired, to other interested persons. The committee members will then discuss the research with the student, decide whether it satisfies requirements for research distinction, and suggest any required changes to the thesis. Students are responsible for scheduling a meeting of their committee early enough to meet the program-specific deadlines for final submission. Contact the chemistry department's Undergraduate Program Office to reserve an appropriate room for this meeting. Be sure to bring the required signature page to the meeting. Theses must be signed by all committee members and, in the case of SCIRES theses, the Associate Head for Undergraduate Education must also sign. In the case of SHC theses, the final audit for conferring an honors degree must be completed by the Schreyer Honors College.