Chemistry and Biochemistry Honors Program

Requirements for the Chemistry/Biochemistry Honors Program (CHEM 398)

To Qualify

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Honors Program is open to:

  • Chemistry and Biochemistry majors with GPA > 3.0
  • who have performed at least two semesters of chemical or biochemical research for a minimum of 3 credits total within the department as CHEM 399

Chemistry/Biochemistry Honors candidates must register for CHEM 398 in their final semester at the University.

Honors Thesis

Honors candidates must write a thesis in which they describe their research. In general, the thesis should include the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and References list. Candidates should consult with their advisors for guidance as to the precise format suitable for the specific discipline of the research. The chair of the Honors and Awards Committee can also supply examples of theses from past years.

The thesis is to be submitted to the Honors and Awards Committee in early May, on a specific date to be announced.


One week after the submission of the written thesis, the honors candidate presents a formal seminar describing the research before an audience that includes the members of the Awards and Honors Committee. The seminar is also open to the advisor and other members of the research group, friends, family, etc. The seminar should be given as a PowerPoint presentation.


The seminar is followed immediately by an oral examination before the committee to test the candidate’s depth of understanding of their research. During this period, committee members ask the candidate questions on the results and interpretation of their research, the background relating to the topic, and on relevant topics that were covered in previous Chemistry and/or Biochemistry classes.

The examination typically lasts 30 – 45 minutes.


Honors candidates are evaluated by the committee based on the research accomplished, the quality of the written thesis and of the seminar, and on their performance in the oral examination. The possible outcomes are high honors, honors, or no honors.

For more information, stop by the Undergraduate Office (CHM 1206), or contact the office by phone (301-405-1791) or email

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