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1. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
a) Students not already in the Honors Program (as Track I or Track II) at the start of their junior year (or with 3 to 4 semesters remaining) must have a 3.50 cumulative GPA or higher to be eligible to begin a senior honors project as a Track III honors student.
b) Students must have a 3.25 GPA in the major in order to be eligible to write an honors thesis. Students must have a 3.25 in the major at the time they register and they must maintain this 3.25 GPA while working on the honors thesis. The honors thesis coordinator will verify that each student's GPA meets these requirements before allowing them to register for 499 each semester. If a student's GPA falls below 3.25, his/her committee will review the student's progress on the thesis and reserves the right to terminate the thesis process at that point.
c) Ideally, two semesters of undergraduate research prior to beginning the thesis. Students will be required to register for CHEM 481, Literature and Seminar I, during the fall semester of their senior year and CHEM 482, Literature and Seminar II, during the spring semester of their senior year.
2. COMPOSITION OF COMMITTEES
a) 499 students must meet with the honors thesis coordinator no later than the first week of class to define their topic and establish a committee.
b) Honors thesis committees are comprised of three faculty members. The chair must be a member of the chemistry and biochemistry department. No more than one member may be from outside the department.
c) The honors thesis coordinator will be responsible for ensuring that committees include faculty members with expertise appropriate to the thesis topic.
d) Department faculty are expected to serve on honors thesis committees when asked by the department Head to do so.
a) Any incomplete received for one phase of the honors colloquium must be completed by the time class begins for the next phase or the student will not be allowed to continue in the colloquium.
b) Colloquium grades will be assigned by the committee chair in consultation with the committee. It is the responsibility of the colloquium instructor and the readers to communicate concerns regarding the student's progress to the committee chair.
4. CONTENT AND ORGANIZATION OF THE THESIS
An honors thesis is required to adhere to the guidelines of the American Chemical Society ACS Style Guide (Coghill and Garson 2006), and must contain the following sections (descriptions paraphrased from The ACS Style Guide):
a) Abstract: An abstract is a brief statement of the problem or the purpose of the research. It should indicate the theoretical work or experimental plan used, summarize principal findings of the research, and point out major conclusions. Chemical safety information should be included when applicable. Write the abstract last to be sure that it accurately reflects the content of the paper.
b) Introduction: This section includes a clear statement of the problem and the reasons for studying it. Provide a concise background discussion of the problem and the significance, scope, and limits of the work. Outline what has been done previously by citing truly pertinent literature but do not include a general survey of semi-relevant literature. State how your work differs from earlier work in the field and demonstrate the continuity from the previous work to your own.
c) Experimental: The experimental section should provide sufficient detail about the materials and the methods used so that other experienced workers can repeat the experiment and obtain comparable results. Site the appropriate literature when using a standard method and give only the details needed. Identify the materials used in the research and give information on the purity of all chemicals and reagents employed in the research. Include the chemical names of all compounds and chemical formulas of substances that are new or uncommon. Use standard systematic nomenclature to unambiguously define well-established compounds.
d) Results: Summarize the data collected in this section, and their statistical treatment. Include only relevant data, but give sufficient detail to justify the conclusions. It is appropriate in this section to use equations, figures, and tables to display your data. Extensive, but relevant data, should be reserved for an appendix where it is identified as supporting information.
e) Discussion: The discussion section is where you interpret and compare the results. The objective is to point out the features and limitations of the work. Relate your results to current knowledge in the field and to the original purpose for undertaking the project.
f) Conclusions: This section is written to put the interpretation of the results into the context of the original problem. Do not repeat the discussion points or include irrelevant material conclusion should be based on the evidence presented.
g) Acknowledgments: Individuals and organizations who helped with the research project and provided financing are thanked in the last paragraph of the thesis. Do not include individual titles in the acknowledgments. However, it is appropriate to state grant numbers and sponsors.
h) References: Many bibliographic styles are acceptable for publications in chemistry and biochemistry. Adopt a bibliographic style that is used by the journal where the work will be submitted for publication, and then refer to the guidelines when questions of style and formatting arise. You can find information about bibliographic styles and formatting in the Information for Authors section of a journal's website.
5. GRAMMAR AND STYLE
The ACS Style Guide (Coghill and Garson 2006) is an excellent reference to use when writing your honors thesis. Writing Like a Chemist (Robinson et al 2008) is recommended reading for those who need help getting started with an honors thesis.
Coghill, A.M.; Garson, L. R. The ACS Style Guide, 3rd ed.; Oxford University Press, New York, 2006.
Robinson, M. S.; Stoller, F. L.; Costanza-Robinson, M. S.; Jones, J. K.; Write Like a Chemist, Oxford University Press, New York, 2008.