Honors in the Major

To be admitted to the honors program in chemistry, students must have declared a major in chemistry, have a GPA of 3.3 or higher for all chemistry courses taken, and fill out an honors in the major declaration form. Students should schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Chemistry Advisor to declare honors in the major.

Candidates for honors in the major should select a faculty research mentor by the fall semester of their junior year. Mentors may come from chemistry or from a related department such as biochemistry, chemical and biological engineering, or pharmacy. Students who choose a mentor from outside the department are responsible for communicating the requirements for honors in the major to their mentor.

Candidates for honors in the major are required to:

  • Enroll in Chem 681 one semester and Chem 682 a second semester, for a total of 6 credits
  • Complete at least two consecutive semesters of research on a single topic (via Chem 681-682)
  • Submit an honors thesis in their senior year (as part of their Chem 681-682 work)
  • Present their work to their peers in a symposium
  • Take at least 3 credits of additional advanced work, beyond the five advanced credits required for the major
  • Maintain an overall 3.3 GPA in all their courses and in all their chemistry courses

Chemistry 681-682 (Senior Honors Thesis, 6 credits total) provides honors candidates with the credits needed for the senior honors thesis. Honors theses typically take the form of a scientific research paper. Additional guidance can be obtained from the student's research advisor and/or the Undergraduate Research Advisor, Dr. Cheri Barta (cheri.barta@wisc.edu).

Several opportunities for students to present their work at a symposium are available at the end of the spring semester every year. These opportunities include the Chemistry Undergraduate Poster Session, the campus-wide Undergraduate Symposium and the L&S Senior Honors Thesis Symposium.

The requirement for additional advanced work may be met in one of three ways:

  1. with additional 500-level or higher courses in chemistry or biochemistry;
  2. with additional breadth courses in other related disciplines; or
  3. with additional research credits in Chem 699, beyond any credits that are being used to satisfy the three additional laboratory credits required for the major

Examples of breadth courses include engineering, physics, molecular biology, computer science, water chemistry, and business. Advanced level courses should be chosen in consultation with the student's research mentor. Courses required for the major in chemistry cannot be used to simultaneously satisfy the advanced course requirement for honors in the major.