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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Romualdo deSouza
Associate Chair
Undergraduate Education
Chemistry 230A
Prof. Cate Reck
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Chemistry A271
Carly Friedman
Chemistry Undergraduate Advisor
Chemistry C021

1. How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?

The Director of Undergraduate Studies in Chemistry, Dr. Cate Reck, and the Chemistry Academic Advisor, Carly Friedman, work with the faculty who are teaching chemistry honors courses in administering the program.

2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program? How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend themselves?

Incoming freshmen who score exceptionally well on the Chemistry Placement Exam are invited to enroll in CHEM-S117, the initial chemistry honors course. Entrance into the other chemistry honors courses (CHEM-S341, CHEM-S342) is open not only to students who have done well in previous honors courses but also to students who have done very well in the regular (i.e., non-honors) sections. Students may also request approval from the course instructor to be admitted into an honors course.

3. How does a student graduate with honors from your department?

To graduate with honors in chemistry, a student must have completed a CHEM-X499 Chemical Research Capstone, completed the requirements for either the B.S. in Chemistry or Biochemistry, and earned a minimum college cumulative GPA of 3.3. Although enrollment in chemistry honors courses is strongly recommended, it is not required.

4. What courses do students take as juniors in order to prepare for working on the senior project: How are these honors seminars and courses typically conducted? What are the usual requirements in such couses?

Students can start learning about research opportunities in their first year by taking C107: Frontiers of Chemical Research (1 cr.), which is offered every spring. This course is primarily a freshman seminar featuring talks by various chemistry faculty about current their research in the department. No courses are required as prerequisites, but research directors may require certain courses for specific projects (e.g. lab course work). Undergraduate research (CHEM-X399) and completing an undergraduate research thesis CHEM-X499 is the heart of the Chemistry Honors Degree Program. Undergraduate research (CHEM-X399) normally begins during a student's sophomore year, although it can start earlier. This program is open to superior students making good progress toward the completion of a major in chemistry. The undergraduate research thesis (CHEM-G410) is normally completed during the student's final year, although it can also be completed earlier. Enrollment in CHEM-X399 or CHEM-X499 must be approved by both the student's prospective research director and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Kate Reck.

5. Are there departmental resources available to support internships or research projects related to the senior project?

Summer research scholarships are available from the department on a competitive basis; applications are due in late January of every year for the following summer. Research advisors receive an allocation from the department budget for consumable supplies.

6. What is the nature of the senior project and what are the requirements for completing it?

At the termination of the research program and before the research director assigns a final grade, the student, under the direction of his/her research advisor, must prepare a final written thesis. This thesis must be comprehensive and thoroughly prepared, following the general format of papers in the best chemical journals. Final theses are uploaded into the IU Libraries' IUScholarWorks database for use by the scholarly community at IU and elsewhere. The student must also formally present the findings of his/her research before colleagues and peers before a final grade is assigned (this is either done through an oral symposium or a poster presentation).

7. How might the work required for earning an honors degree be particularly beneficial in future endeavors?

The majority of students completing the honors degree program enter graduate or professional school. A number of students go directly into industrial positions. Students often find the skills obtained from the honors degree particularly good preparation for any post-graduation plans.

8. What are the advantages for students who pursue the honors degree compared to a regular degree in your area?

Honors courses differ significantly in the depth and breadth of subject manner. Enrollments are limited to ensure strong faculty-student interaction. This interaction provides "role models" for students who are innately talented. Many students are challenged by superior peers to perform at their best. Undergraduate research is an advantage for any student seeking entrance into graduate school and to those seeking industrial positions.

9. Please list suggestions for other departments based on activities that have worked well for your students.

Each semester students are required to complete and resubmit an updated X399 form to the Chemistry Undergraduate Office (C021). This information is used to track the student's progress in our honors program.

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