Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Honors in Chemistry

If the research is considered outstanding by the research supervisor, the student may be nominated by the research supervisor for Honors in Chemistry. Generally, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • An unusual commitment of time and effort: Normally, only work accomplished during the summer preceding the senior year and the CHM 490 (independent study) results (during the senior year) will be considered.
  • Results that are publishable: Most Honors students will also have presented their results at the Intercollegiate Student Chemists Convention or an American Chemical Society meeting.
  • Independent contributions to the project from the student.
  • A well-written thesis of high quality that conforms to the Thesis Guidelines.
  • A successful defense of the project.

The Honors defense is given to a committee consisting of at least four members (selected by the research advisor who is not a member of the committee) of the chemistry department. The chairperson of the department must be a member of the committee. It is also customary to include an additional committee member from outside the chemistry department. The defense consists of a presentation of results followed by questions from the committee designed to probe the student's understanding of the underlying theory and results obtained. The research advisor does not participate either as questioner or responder. Following the defense, the committee meets with the supervisor and transmits its recommendation to the advisor. If the recommendation is positive, the student graduates with Honors in Chemistry.

Although it will be expected that the thesis read by the committee has been carefully done and is in final form, under some circumstances the committee may require that the thesis be modified in order to qualify for Honors. Honors defenses will normally be scheduled during reading days between the end of classes and the beginning of finals.