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 3.200 or higher for all chemistry courses taken and achieved a 3.200 overall GPA. They must also have achieved a 3.200 GPA in all CHEM courses taken and courses accepted for the major. To declare honors in the major, students should complete an honors in the major declaration form and schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Chemistry Advisor.

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.

To earn the B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Chemistry students must satisfy both the requirements for the major and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA.
  • Earn a 3.300 GPA for all CHEM courses and all courses accepted for the major.
  • Complete at least 3 credits of advanced work beyond those already required for the major. This requirement may be met in one of three ways:

    1. Additional 500-level or higher non-laboratory CHEM or BIOCHEM courses;
    2. Additional CHEM 699, BIOCHEM 699, or CBE 599 credits that are not already being used to satisfy the 3 additional laboratory credits required for the major;
    3. Additional breadth courses in other related disciplines1
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis CHEM 681/CHEM 682 for a total of 6 credits
  • Present their work to their peers in a symposium

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.

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1Examples 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.