Department of Chemistry

Honors & Awards

The Department of Chemistry recognizes outstanding undergraduates.

Honors Requirements

Chemistry and Chemical Physics

  • Greater than 3.50 GPA in concentration (based on courses approved in ASK)
  • Poster presentation (generally a week or two before Spring break) on your research
  • Thesis that has been approved by advisor and department

AB Candidates

AB candidates are also eligible for Honors if you satisfy these criteria (i.e. earning the ScB is not a requirement for Honors.)

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations (typically held during Reading Period) are required for students who want their thesis to be considered for the Clapp Prize, but others are welcome to present as well.  


  • A strong grade record in concentration courses.(See Quality Grades below)
  • Two semesters of Independent Study (CHEM 0970, CHEM 0980) or equivalent. Guidelines and requirements associated with Independent Study are in the Undergraduate Concentration Handbook. Please note students enrolled in BIOL1950/1960 must complete a project proposal form, please see the Biology website for more information and discuss with your concentration advisor.
  • A Thesis in a form approved by the research advisor, and recommended by the research advisor. Additional information about thesis guidelines will be provided by the Concentration Advisor in the first half of the fall semester.

Quality Grades

Students who have earned a majority of "A" grades in courses required for the concentration and who are are in good academic standing are eligible to apply for honors at the start of their penultimate (typically 7th) semester at Brown. Classes taken S/NC will count as qualifying towards that majority if they are marked "S* with distinction" indicating that had the student taken the course for a grade, the grade would have been an "A". Courses with a grade of S may be counted when a Course Performance Report indicates a grade of A. Students just shy of meeting the grade requirement for honors are encouraged to apply. Grades earned in penultimate semester concentration courses will be accounted for in the determination of quality grades made in the final semester. Students in the class of 2021: A strong grade record in concentration courses. This means a grade point average for the concentration that is higher than 3.25. For students in the classes of 2022 and after: Students must have a majority of either As or S with distinction grades in concentration courses.

Thesis Archival in the Brown Digital Repository

The BDR is Brown University's online archive of student and faculty scholarship maintained by the Brown University Library. By choosing to deposit your honors thesis in the BDR, you are making your scholarly work discoverable and accessible into the future.  Information on access and licensing are provided in the form.

Sigma Xi

The Brown University Chapter of Sigma Xi invites applicants from chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical physics. Seniors (semester 7 and semester 8) who have demonstrated a high level of competence in science qualify.

The following are intended to be guidelines for additional qualifications:

  • A grade point average of 3.4 or better in the sciences. If your G.P.A. is close to this, and you have done research, please submit an application.
  • Twelve semester courses in sciences, including courses at the elementary level.
  • Two courses beyond the elementary level in a science outside the student's department, OR
    • Three courses, including courses at the elementary level, in two or more sciences outside the student's department, OR
    • Involvement in a research project under supervision for at least one semester.

These qualifications are intended to be guidelines.

Undergraduate Prizes & Awards

  • Biochemistry – Filip Aubrecht, Samara Cummings, and Claire Hightower
  • Chemistry – Peter Gonzalez, Liam Haas, and Tony Pan
  • Division of Physical Chemistry – Noah Whepley
  • Division of Organic Chemistry – Casey Chan
  • Division of Inorganic Chemistry – Luis Tsatsos-Montoliu
  • Casey Chan

Paul  C. Cross Prize is awarded to an undergraduate with extraordinary potential for achievement in the field of physical chemistry, broadly defined.

  • Noah Feng
  • Biochemistry  - Troy Kanji “The Evolutionarily Conserved Alternative Splicing of the TDP-43 C-Terminal Domain and its Association with Male Fertility and Neurodegenerative Disease”  Thesis Advisor: Robert Reenan
  • Chemical Physics – Noah Feng “Uncovering Novel Structural Insights into Lubricin’s Mucin Domain via Replica Exchange Molecular Dynamics Simulations” Thesis Advisor: Brenda Rubenstein
  • Chemistry (2 this year)
    • Jacob Kaiserman “Development of a Novel Oxindole-Based Antiviral Against JC Polyomavirus” Thesis Advisor: Walter J. Atwood
    • William Pelit “Independent Versus Combined Neurotoxic Effects of Cigarette Smoke and Ethanol Exposure on Frontal Lobe White Matter in an Experimental Rat Model” Thesis Advisor: Suzanne de la Monte

The Chase Award recognizes students whose extraordinary leadership and service contributions during their years at Brown improved the department or the academic and educational experiences of all undergraduate students.

  • Pedro Camacho-Leon,
  • Jacob Kaiserman
  • Abbie Macher
  • Rebecca Schwartz

Two New Awards This Year

Prof. Uhlig received his BS in chemistry from Brown University in 1929 and his PhD in physical chemistry in 1932 from MIT.  He had a long and distinguished career as a professor at MIT and endowed this gift in support of the chemistry department.

Inaugural recipients of the Uhlig award are: 

  • Ian Bartlett
  • Peter Gonzalez
  • Josh Saskin
  • Anna Shlimak

Reade Tompson passed away 1 year ago at the age of 103.  He earned a BS in chemistry in 1940 and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke in 1945.  He worked at Dupont for over thirty years.  Reade Tompson wish to support the chemistry department at Brown with a generous donation and we are pleased to name this prize in his honor. 

The winners of the Reade Y. Tompson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research are: 

  • Oren Lederberg
  • Aaron Gruen
  • Ainsley Baker