Chemistry Honors Program

The Department of Chemistry offers an Honors Program to a select group of students to pursue chemistry studies at a level significantly beyond that defined by the normal curriculum. The focus of the program is undergraduate research performed under the direction of a faculty mentor starting in the sophomore or junior year, which provides the basis for a senior thesis project. Honors students often present their research results at annual conferences, such as the Larock Research Conference, the R. Bryan Miller Symposium and the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference at UC Davis. A list of recent students, senior thesis topics and faculty mentors is shown below.

For more information about the Chemistry Honors Program, contact Professor Annaliese Franz or our Staff Academic Adviser.


Students who have completed at least 135 units with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses counted towards their major are automatically admitted to the Honors Program. These students will be notified of their standing by the department before or at the beginning of the Fall quarter of their senior year. Potential candidates for the Chemistry Honors Program will be recruited in their freshman and sophomore years to encourage students to become involved with research in preparation for a senior thesis project.

Honors at Graduation

To graduate with Honors, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses counted towards their major at the time of graduation (see General Catalog). Please note: graduation with regular Honors does not require an Honors thesis or project.

High Honor and Highest Honors

Students in the Honors Program who meet the minimum GPA requirement and who complete a senior thesis may be recommended by the department for graduation with High Honors or Highest Honors. To be eligible for departmental recommendation of High Honors and Highest Honors with the Bachelor's Degree, qualified students must take a minimum of six units of CHE194HA-194HC, the Special Studies for Honors sequence, and successfully complete a senior thesis (or some comparable research project or scholarly paper) under direction of a faculty adviser. Recommendations will be based on evaluations of students' academic achievements in their major and the quality of their senior thesis. Conferral of these honors also depends on the GPA at the time of graduation (see General Catalog); however, maintaining a sufficiently high GPA does not guarantee the award of High or Highest Honors.

2016 Graduating Seniors Awarded Departmental High or Highest Honors

Student Research Mentor Honors Senior Thesis
Joseph Beckett Mascal Highest
Bill Chan Siegel Highest
Haley Cynar Russell Highest
Sydnee Green David Highest
Adam Jenkins Ng Highest
Anna Johnston Osterloh Highest
Sarah Lloyd Osterloh Highest
Roberto Nava Wulff Highest
Courtney Ngai Wang Highest
Austin Phung Wang Highest
Sahana Rajan Ames Highest
Carolina Ryklansky Siegel Highest
Jason Yun Louie Highest
Sokena Zaidi Berben High

2015 Graduating Seniors Awarded Departmental High or Highest Honors

Student Research Mentor Honors Senior Thesis
Eric Chan Kauzlarich High Synthesis of Hollow Germanium Nanoparticles Utilizing Galvanic Exchange
Jessica Greene Lebrilla Highest Oligosaccharide Profiles of Common Weaning Foods
Hailey Hibbard Franz Highest Catalytic Ability of NaBArF in Carbon-Carbon Bond Forming Reactions
Giang Ho Chen High Reconstruction of Uncleaved Polyprotein 1 Coxsackie Virus Type B3 Particles
Blanka Hodur Shaw Highest Light-Activated MRI Contrast Agents for Application towards In Vivo Cell Tracking
Airi Kawamura Kauzlarich Highest New Rock Salt Composites and Zintl Phases and their Potential for High Efficiency Thermoelectric Properties
Christie Lee Chen High Engineering Pasteurella multocida sialyltransferase 1 (PmST1) by mutagenesis
Eric Lovejoy Lebrilla Highest Mass spectrometry analysis of glycoproteins
Jennifer Muncan Schore High HpCgtA – A Novel Galactosyltransferase from Helicobacter pylori J99
Brian Shao Chen Highest One-Pot Multi-Enzyme (OPME) Synthesis of Heparan Sulfate Oliogosaccharide Analogs
Galen Shearn-Nance Shaw High Synthesis of Gyramides, Progress Towards the Total Synthesis of Kibdelomycin and Amycolamycin, and Development of a Method for the Formation of Esters by in-situ Formation and Trapping of Diazoalkanes
Xue Sheng Chen Highest Synthesis of Differentially Disubstituted Polythiophenes
Catherine Sierra Toney Highest Engineered Amyloid Fibril Functionalization Utilizing a Hexahistidine tag
Michael St. Peter Shaw Highest Synthesis of Bisavanthramine B
Zi Yao Shaw Highest Discovery of New Small Molecule Inhibitors of the Bacterial Cell Division Protein FtsZ


All Chemistry majors are encouraged to discuss their interest in the Honors Program with the Honors Program Faculty Adviser (Professor Annaliese Franz) or Staff Academic Adviser as early as possible to learn about research opportunities. Start to consider research opportunities during the Winter or Spring quarter (or earlier!) before you plan to take 194H in your senior year. Be thoughtful about your research interests and seek a faculty mentor whos expertise aligns with your interests. Take into consideration the significant scholarly commitment required to complete a senior thesis for the Honors Program when planning the schedule for your senior year.