Senior Thesis

Application of Admission Progress Report Candidate Declaration Form

The Undergraduate Senior Thesis is a two-semester program culminating in a written research thesis, public thesis defense seminar, and private oral examination. The senior honors thesis is a capstone experience for exceptional undergraduates, allowing them to showcase the depth of their Chemistry knowledge and focus on independent research. Students wishing to pursue an undergraduate senior thesis must:

  • Have at least one prior semester or summer of research prior to senior year,
  • Been on the Dean’s list at least twice prior to senior year,
  • And be majoring in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Chemical Physics.

To Apply:

Students should coordinate with their research director*, register for CHEM 0195 for the first semester of senior year, and complete the Application for Admission to the Chemistry Thesis Program in the spring of their junior year. The research director* must sign the application indicating their approval. This form is due to the Chemistry Department Main Office no later than September 30th of their senior year.


Senior Year Fall Semester

All year: Attend departmental seminars (recommended, but optional)


  • Continue with research. Commit to perform at least 20 hours of research per week during the senior year.
  • Submit application form to the Department Main Office. The research director* must sign the application form indicating his/her approval. “Application of Admission to the Chemistry Thesis Program” form must be received in the Chemistry Department Main Office by Sept. 30.


  • Set up a thesis committee consisting of a minimum of two readers from the department. The research director must be a member of the committee and will usually chair the committee. A third committee member can be chosen from either inside or outside the department.
  • Have a planning meeting with the committee by the end of October (recommended, but optional).
  • Submit the online university Senior Honors Thesis Candidate Declaration Form


  • Register for CHEM 0199
  • Begin writing thesis, especially introductory section(s) during the break

Senior Year Spring Semester


  • Have a progress meeting with the committee in January. The student should make a 20 minute presentation of research progress followed by a Q&A and planning discussion. (This meeting is mandatory: the Senior Thesis Progress Report must be filed with the department indicating that the meeting has taken place and that progress toward the thesis is satisfactory).


  • Schedule the thesis defense with the committee.
  • Reserve a room with the Chemistry office and give them a title. The defense is public, announced by the office one week in advance, and the defense must be completed before final exams begin in May. The defense may take place shortly before or during the Reading Period.
  • Submit a draft of your thesis to your research director for editing and general approval.


  • Submit final thesis to the committee at least two weeks before the defense date.
  • Give the defense seminar on the scheduled date. The seminar should be 30-45 minutes, should include some introductory information so that the audience can understand the context of the research, and should be presented at a level understandable by a chemically literate general audience. After the public defense, the committee may question the student privately.
  • Deposit the thesis with the Tisch Library (formatting restrictions apply:

General information is available here:

* If the research director is not a chemistry faculty member then a department faculty member must also serve as co-advisor and also sign the form.