Senior Thesis

A Senior Thesis is a written culmination of your research project(s) conducted during your undergraduate research experience with your Thesis Adviser. We encourage our undergraduate researchers to take advantage of this opportunity to further develop their skills as scientists and produce a record of their research.

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Why Complete a Senior Thesis?

  • Develop skills to communicate about scientific research
  • Challenge yourself as a researcher
  • Prepare for graduate school or your future career
  • Record your research for future students & scientists

Preparing for a Senior Thesis

We strongly encourage anyone interested in completing a Senior Thesis to join a research lab by their junior year. This ensures that students are able to develop strong research skills before taking on the additional task of writing a thesis. It is also important to discuss your plans to complete a Senior Thesis with your research adviser before enrolling in Chem 681/682 or 691/692.

Course Enrollment

For the Senior Honors Thesis courses 681 and 682, you must enroll in a combination of 6 credits, with a minimum of 2 credits per semester.  These two courses should be taken sequentially. Students must have Honors candidacy to enroll in 681/682.

For the Senior Thesis courses 691 and 692, you must enroll in a minimum of 4 credits (2 credits each for 691 and 692).  These courses should also be taken sequentially.

You will also need to submit a Research Authorization Form to the Chemistry Undergraduate Research Office in order to enroll in Chem 681/682 or 691/692.

Thesis Requirements

Senior Thesis Guidelines

Thesis Proposal: The first step in completing a Senior Thesis is to submit a Thesis Proposal, which summarizes your previous work and future research plans. This 2-page proposal must be completed by the fourth week of 681 or 691. Students will not be allowed to enroll in 682 or 692 until they have submitted an acceptable proposal. Expectations for the Thesis Proposal are given in the Senior Thesis Guidelines document above. The Thesis Proposal must be submitted with a Thesis Proposal Cover Sheet.

Thesis: All students enrolled in 681/682 or 691/692 are expected to follow the Senior Thesis Guidelines. The Guidelines document contains information on how to format your thesis and what content should be included. This document also provides a suggested timeline to help you spread out the thesis writing process across two semesters. If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact the Chemistry Undergraduate Research Office.

Research Presentation (681/682 only): To fulfill Honors in the Chemistry major, you will need to present your work to your peers in a symposium (poster or talk) during your enrollment in 681/682. Presenting at the Chemistry Undergrad Research Poster Session fulfills this requirement. If you plan to present at a different event instead, please notify our office.

Sample Theses

Sample Thesis 1 – Rotational Spectroscopy and Precise Equilibrium Structure Determination of Nitrogenous Molecules

Sample Thesis 2 – Nickel-Catalyzed Hydroboration of Styrenes

Additional sample theses are kept in the Chemistry Undergraduate Research Office. You can visit our office hours if you’d like to see more samples.


Your Thesis Proposal is due at the end of the fourth week of the semester you are enrolled in 681 or 692. Students enrolled in these courses will be notified of the due date each semester.

Your Senior Thesis is due on the last day of class of the semester you are enrolled in 682 or 692.  The last day of classes can be found on the Registrar’s Dates & Deadlines page.


We encourage you to contact the Chemistry Undergraduate Research Office if you have any questions about completing a senior thesis.

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Suggested Thesis Timeline

Thesis Goal
Deadline for Spring Graduation / Deadline for Fall Graduation

Discuss Thesis Plans with Advisor
Early September / Late January

Submit Thesis Proposal
Late September / Mid February

Outline of Proposed Experiments
October / February

Draft of Introduction
November / March

Draft of Methods/Experimental
February / September

Draft of Results & Discussion
March / October

Seek Feedback on Complete Thesis Draft
April / November

Submit Final Senior Thesis
May / December