Honors Program in Chemistry & Biochemistry

Majors in chemistry and biochemistry may apply for the departmental honors program if they have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5* and are enrolled in undergraduate research CHEM 48498 or CHEM 48499. Application should be made to the Director of Undergraduate Studies via the online application by the end of the first week of classes in the senior year. Completion of the honors program requires the course CHEM 48500 with a grade of B or better and a minimum of two semesters of undergraduate research after the beginning of the junior year. Data from previous semesters of research can be included in the thesis, but students must participate in research for at least two semesters during the junior or senior years following acceptance into the program. Research must be within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (have a CHEM 48498/48499 classification) or be part of an equivalent undergraduate research program at the University of Notre Dame, approved by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Successful completion of the requirements will result in the designation “honors in chemistry” or “honors in biochemistry” on your student transcript.

*Students who do not meet the GPA eligibility requirement for departmental honors may still complete a thesis with the support of their research advisor. Students interested in pursuing this option should still submit the online application. The remaining completion requirements are the same but will not result in the "honors" designation on the student transcript.

CHEM 48500: Research Thesis in Chemistry or Biochemistry

CHEM 48500 is a course in scientific writing to produce a thesis that describes work undertaken in the course of an undergraduate research project. Through written drafts that are critiqued by the thesis director, skills in organizing and presenting scientific data, scientific literacy, and writing are enhanced. In order to register, you must have at least two semesters of CHEM 48498 or CHEM 48499 after the beginning of junior year, one of which can be taken concurrently.

Thesis Format

  1. Abstract (200-250 words). This is a synopsis of your work, a condensed version of the entire thesis. It should provide enough information for the reader to understand the rationale and significance of the work. It includes: background, rationale for the study, methods, important results, analysis and conclusions.
  2. Background/Literature Review (5-6 pages). This section reviews pertinent literature in sufficient depth that the reader will come to appreciate why you are conducting the research.
  3. Methods (3-4 pages). This section documents the methodology used in conducting the research and should include sufficient detail for the study to be repeated by the reader.
  4. Results (4-8 pages). This should include all pertinent results presented in a concise and readily understandable format. In general, all data should be presented and not restricted to the data that supports the conclusions. Figures and tables should be included in the text to support the results section.
  5. Analysis/Conclusions (8-12 pages). This should integrate the results you obtained with existing knowledge and summarize the analysis. Conclusions and final comments should be clearly highlighted. It is useful to end this section with specific recommendations for further studies in the area.
  6. Bibliography. Cite all sources of information using a standard and consistent method of citation appropriate to the discipline.