You may decide to culminate several semesters of research work by documenting your results in the form of an undergraduate thesis:
- 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.