Honors Research in Chemistry

About Honors Research

A chemistry major who wishes to graduate with honors in chemistry must complete a one-year program of research, culminating in one quarter of Chem 498, Honors Research In Chemistry.  The student must also maintain a 3.50 cumulative grade point average, submit a senior thesis and present a public seminar covering the research topic.

Criteria for candidacy for department honors are:

  1. A minimum grade point average of 3.50 at the conclusion of the penultimate year


  2. Acceptance for admission to the program by the Chemistry Department.

Chemistry majors who are in the University Honors College must also satisfy these departmental requirements.

Entry into the honors college is selective and by application.  As part of the application process, the prospective honors students must choose a faculty research director.  In consultation with the research director, a project is chosen and a timetable for completion is established.  A senior thesis and seminar presentation are also required.

Apply for Honors Research

To apply for admission to the honors program, complete the application form (link provided below) and submit it to the Chemistry Program Coordinator, at chemistry@wwu.edu. Acceptance into the program is granted upon review of this application by the Chemistry Honors Board.

Honors Research in Chemistry Esign Application Form

Upon completion of the first quarter of research under CHEM 401, a brief (1-2 pages) written report which summarizes your progress and future plans is due.  Write this in consultation with your research director and then submit it to the Chemistry Department Program Coordinator.  Advancement to candidacy is granted after review of this report by the Chemistry Honors Board.

The honors project continues with two more quarters of research and culminates with the honors thesis and seminar presentation.  Further details are given in the document "Guidelines for the Senior Honors Project and Thesis."

Guidelines for Honors Research


A.  The Project

The honors project shall involve significant individual work by the student resulting in a senior thesis.  The project will normally consist of original laboratory research work, though it may also consist of theoretical or computational research, or materials developed for teaching, such as computer assisted learning materials.  The magnitude of the project cannot be specified explicitly but in no case shall it constitute less effort than that demanded of a student to fulfill all the requirements of nine quarter credit hours (or equivalent) of senior-level coursework, including preparation, class attendance, study, research, reflection, discussion testing and writing.  The nine credit hours shall be distributed over three quarters (normally during the senior year) as follows: 

Course Quarter Credits

Q1 CHEM 401 

Q2 CHEM 401

Q3 CHEM 498 (WP1)

*CHEM 498 can be taken in any quarter, but should be the quarter of graduation.

B.  Supervision

Each project shall be supervised by a Chemistry Department faculty member chosen by the student. If research is performed primarily outside of the department, a Chemistry Department faculty member must agree to sponsor the honors thesis.

C.  The Honors Thesis

The thesis shall take the form of a regular or full paper in a refereed journal of the appropriate sub-discipline or be agreed upon between the student and faculty advisor.

D.  Thesis Format

The general format shall be that of the thesis for the master's degree, as currently in effect in the department.

E.  Thesis Approval

A final draft of the thesis, approved by the faculty research advisor, shall be presented to the Chemistry Honors Board for its approval no later than the end of the ninth week of the student's final quarter.  A final, corrected copy is due in the department office no later than one day prior to graduation.

F.  Seminar

The results of the honors thesis project shall be presented by the student in a regular seminar of the Chemistry Department.