Skip to content

How to Apply for Honors

If you’re interested in pursuing honors, start talking to faculty early in your academic career to ask them about the possibility of doing research under their direction. Some faculty, depending on their research projects, may require other courses as prerequisites for working with them.

Most students begin honors work in the second semester of their junior year, or in the first semester of their senior year, although you may apply earlier.

To apply, contact the department chair via email or in writing. Your email or letter should include:

  • A statement asking to be admitted
  • An unofficial transcript
  • A brief description of the research you propose to do.


Honors students are required to conduct research in at least their senior year under the supervision of a faculty member in the Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Other requirements include:

  • Research: As an honors students, you must enroll for a minimum of one semester of research. Usually, two semesters are required. A detailed progress report must be submitted to your research supervisor to complete each credit.
  • Seminars: You are expected to participate in the faculty/student seminars held weekly each semester. In addition, you will have to present a seminar about your research during your final year.
  • Exams: You must attain a satisfactory standard in four of five American Chemical Society comprehensive exams, which are administered in your senior year in the areas of analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

Honors Awards

Honors are awarded after consultation of the entire chemistry faculty.

There are three levels of Honors — Honors, High Honors, and Highest Honors — awarded on the basis of a student’s overall grade point average in chemistry and the standards attained in research, seminars, and comprehensive exams.

Admission to the Honors Program does not necessarily guarantee that Honors will be awarded.

Recent Senior Honors Theses

  • Lyra O. Macek ’23, Chemistry, “Transition metal complexes of 4’-acetylanilinium: Synthesis, structures, and magnetic behavior” (advisor: Mark Turnbull)
  • Amanda Brown ’23, BCMB, “Progress towards the development of a kinetic FRET-based assay for the study of HECT E3 ligase inhibition by small molecules” (advisor: Don Spratt)
  • Luke Mazur ’23, BCMB, “Biochemical characterization of RAC1 mutations linked to hereditary spastic paraplegia and their effect on the ROS accumulation pathway” (advisor: Don Spratt)


  • Colin Farrington ’21
    Nicholas Mathieu ’21
  • Emma Kirkman Davis ’20
  • Samantha Fowles ’20
  • Emily Ladda ’19, BCMB (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Kayla Rich ’19, BCMB (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Riley Simons ’19, BCMB (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Yana Zubarev ’19, Chemistry, “Synthesis and characterization of Cu2O hexapod structures with transition metal hydroxide coatings” (adviser: Luis Smith)
  • Jonathan Chellali ’18, Chemistry, “Mechanochemical Synthesis of LnCuX2•mH2O (L = 3-cyanopyridine, 2-amino-3-cyanopyridine, 2-amino-5-cyanopyridine; n = 1, 2; X = Cl, Br; m = 0, 1) via Drop-solvent Grinding: Structures and Magnetic Properties” (adviser: Mark Turnbull)
  • Diana Argiles Castillo ’18, BCMB, “Biochemical Characterization of the HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase HACE1 (HECT domain and Ankyrin repeat-Containing E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1) and its Implications in Cancer and Huntington’s Disease” (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Jordan Majka ’18, BCMB, “The Effects of Atrial Fibrillation on Relative Epicardial Fat Area and MicroRNA Expression: Investigating Robust Biomarkers and Their Implications in an Arrhythmia Disorder”
  • Roela Bardhi ’17, BCMB (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Devon Fontaine ’17, Chemistry, “Synthesis and Characterization of a Multifunctional Amyloid-Binding Molecule” (adviser: Charles Jakobsche)
  • Pinky Htun ’17, BCMB  (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Vladislav Kiveliyk ’17, BCMB  (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Clare Krasinski ’17, BCMB  (adviser: Noel Lazo)
  • Alistair Richardson ’17, BCMB (adviser: Sergio Granados-Focil)
  • Noah Schwaegerle ’17, BCMB (adviser: Donald Spratt)
  • Nicholas MacArthur ’16, Chemistry, “Developing Methodology for Transforming Primary Amines into Alcohols via N-Nitrosamides with Applications to Synthesizing Hydrazine-Containing Amine Oxidase Inhibitors” (adviser: Charles Jakobsche)
  • Ashley Burke ’16, BCMB, “Inhibition Studies of Lysyl Oxidase and Other Amine Oxidases with Hydrazine Containing Small Molecules and a Molecular Probe” (adviser: Charles Jakobsche)
  • David Powers ’16, Chemistry, “Synthesis and characterization of LPEI based anionic exchange membranes for use in flow batteries” (adviser: Sergio Granados-Focil)
  • Arjuna Shenoy ’16, Chemistry, “Single Ion Poly(ethylenimine)-Based Solid Polymer Electrolyte Diffusion Studies using 7Li Pulsed Field Gradient Stimulated Echo NMR” (adviser: Luis Smith)
Contact Information

Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry

Contact Us
  • Arthur M. Sackler Sciences Center
    Room S134
    950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610

  • 1-508-793-7116
  • 1-508-793-7117 Fax