The Honors Program in Chemistry
The Honors Program in Chemistry (departmental honors) provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduate (B.A. or B.S.) students to pursue a program of research under faculty guidance during the junior and senior years. Students who complete the requirements, including the written thesis, will, upon recommendation of the department, graduate with "Honors in Chemistry." (This program is independent of the University Honors program.)
Admission to the honors program in chemistry is available to highly motivated and superior students. Normally, such admission will not occur before not before the junior year.
Students interested in entering the program should visit with several faculty members (as described in Research) who have diverse research interests in analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. After selecting a faculty research advisor, a completed application form (available in the main Chemistry office, 2010 Malott) should be submitted to the Chair of the Department prior to or during the week of enrollment in the fall or spring semester. The student should also submit letters of recommendation from the research advisor and one other faculty member in the department.
Decisions on admission to the program will be made early in the semester. Each student selected for the program shall enroll in at least two semesters of CHEM 699, Undergraduate Honors Research (total accumulation of 4-8 hours) and should attempt to arrange their weekly schedule so that substantial blocks of time are available to carry out their research activities.
Courses: A minimum of 41 credit hours of course work in Chemistry is required for graduation with Honors in Chemistry. The specific requirements are the following:
- 10 hours of General Chemistry (CHEM 170 and 175, or 190 and 195)
- 10 hours of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 330 or 380 and 331, and CHEM 335 or 385 and 336)
- 5 hours of Analytical Chemistry (CHEM 620 and 621)
- 9 hours of Physical Chemistry (CHEM 530, 535 and 536)
- 4-8 hours of Undergraduate Honors Research (CHEM 699) and
- 3 hours of a 700-level Chemistry course or CHEM 660 or CHEM 661.
Grade-Point Average (GPA): Academic excellence and superior performance will be expected in the various areas of basic chemistry. To complete a departmental honors program, the College requires that students have achieved a GPA of at least 3.25 overall and 3.5 in the major by the end of their final semester. Both GPAs include grades received at other institutions as well as at KU.
Research and Thesis: Each student shall enroll in at least two semesters of CHEM 699, Undergraduate Honors Research (total accumulation of 4-8 hours) under the supervision of a faculty member (or members) of the Department of Chemistry. At the completion of the research, the student shall submit a written thesis for evaluation and approval by his or her advisory committee, which will consist of the student's research supervisor and at least two other faculty members in the Department. The results of the research will then be presented orally at a special seminar.
Students should plan to finish all the required research by the middle of the spring semester of their senior year to allow adequate time for the preparation of the thesis. The format of the thesis shall be similar to that used for a graduate thesis in the Department; that is, it should include a title page, table of contents, historical background, experimental procedures, experimental results, discussion and appropriate references. The student should present a final typed copy of the thesis to his or her advisory committee for evaluation at least three weeks prior to the week in which final examinations begin in the spring semester of the senior year. The special seminar (mentioned above) will be scheduled prior to the beginning of final examinations.
The Chemistry Department's grading policy for honors courses conforms to the University guidelines on assigning letter grades (see University Senate Rules, Article II, Section 2.2 The Grading System, which can be found in the KU Policy Library. Although we expect that honors students, who have superior preparation and are highly motivated, will achieve a higher proportion of excellent grades, and that the class average will be higher than in the corresponding non-honors classes, there is no guaranteed minimum grade in honors courses.