Indiana University Bloomington Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington

Honors Program

The Chemistry Honors courses are open to any student at Indiana University. This program is designed for well-qualified and highly motivated students who wish to acquire a strong foundation in chemistry. Our goal has always been to provide our students with the highest quality educational experience that is possible. Often the best students need to be challenged at a higher level, and that can only be accomplished in the context of small courses of highly motivated students with dedicated instructors. Honors classes differ significantly in the depth and breadth of subject matter. Enrollments are limited to ensure strong faculty-student interaction. Most students completing the honors program enter graduate or professional school.
We teach honors sections of the following courses:

  • H117: Principles or Chemistry and Biochemistry, Honors (3 cr.)
  • S341: Honors Organic Chemistry I (3 cr.)
  • S342: Honors Organic Chemistry II (3 cr.)
  • S343: Honors Organic Chemistry Laboratory (2 cr.)

Students who show special abilities and interest in any of our mainstream courses may seek an invitation to apply for admission to the appropriate follow-on honors courses (talk to the department or the instructor of the next course for approval). It is not necessary to be a Chemistry or Biochemistry Major; in fact, most of the students in our honors courses are not!

Participation in the Honors Program in the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University affords several benefits:

  • Smaller classes in the first CORE classes in chemistry
  • Close relationships with many bright, energetic students like yourself
  • Small group, intensive study with like-minded peers
  • Students are diverse, self-directed and ambitious, coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and majors to collaborate to learn and solve complex problems.
  • Close relationships with faculty members committed to your success
  • More personalized letters of recommendation from faculty who know you well
  • Lectures go beyond the textbook to provide depth and breadth of the discipline
  • Application-based courses that encourage students to synthesize material
  • Discussion-oriented, interactive classes
  • Hands-on access to research-grade equipment and application-based laboratory experiences
  • Early exposure to real-life scientific research problems
  • Access to earlier participation independent research projects, which often results in the student’s names appearing as co-authors of publications in scientific journals and presentations at professional meetings.
  • Advantages when applying to graduate and professional schools
  • Advantages when applying for jobs after graduation

Characteristics of Honors Students

In general, successful Honors students are:

  • Organized — having the ability of time management, prioritizing, note taking, information acquisition
  • Focused – ready to come to class mentally-focused and prepared
  • Critical thinkers – eager to ask questions and listen to others
  • Committed – wanting to learn about a wide variety of topics and issues
  • Curious – about the sciences and the world around them
  • Confident – knowing they can do the work, even if they feel challenged initially
  • Eager – to work hard, even if it is challenging, when they are given a rationale for it
  • Motivated – innately driven to be lifelong learners
  • Creative – enjoying new patterns that emerge from old ideas
  • Enthusiastic – to collaborate within a community of scholars
  • Willing – to seek help (from professors, peers, tutors, counselors), to acknowledge and tolerate risk, to accept and respond to constructive criticism, to accept responsibility for their educational outcomes
  • Humble – able to work well with others and not take themselves too seriously all the time

Graduation with Departmental Honors

Participants are expected to complete the requirements for a B.S. in Chemistry or Biochemistry and earn a 3.3 cumulative G.P.A. Although honors courses are offered in general chemistry (H117) and organic chemistry (S341, S342, S343), students are not required to take honors courses to graduate with departmental honors. We feel that the honors courses are the best preparation for students pursuing graduate and professional school. Participants must engage in undergraduate research by completing a G410 thesis.

Undergraduate research, the heart of the Honors Degree Program, normally begins during a student's sophomore or junior year, although it can start as early as the freshman year. Each student works closely with a faculty advisor and his or her research group and is expected to participate in all aspects of the research problem by becoming familiar with the original research literature, participating in the design and evolution of his or her project, and aiding in the interpretation of the results. Results of the research are presented through an oral presentation (or poster presentation, depending on the semester) and submitted as a written Honors thesis prior to graduation.