Departmental Honors as a Chemical Engineering Major
By Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram
A lot of factors go into making this decision: Does it fit well with your major curriculum? Will you be able to take classes you’re interested in? While every single Honors student can give you a different account of their experience and why they choose a certain track, I decided to go down the Departmental Honors track—here’s why!
I’m a chemical engineering major and for the chemical engineering departmental honors program, we’re allowed to take any two Honors chemical engineering classes in addition to all the required Honors classes, an option which worked quite well for me.
A lot of upper-elective classes in chemical engineering and chemistry count as both a technical elective and a departmental honors class. There are multiple fields in chemical engineering that I hope to learn about, so taking these classes help me further my knowledge. For instance, I’m really interested in tissue engineering, especially its applications in facial tissue reconstruction.
One of the chemical engineering Honors classes is a 500-level tissue engineering class, so departmental honors allows me to take more specialized classes in areas I want to explore more.
Side note: If you’re an Engineering Honors student (regardless of your track) take ENGIN 351H! It’s an honors section of the junior year writing requirement and has a lot of Honors-friendly coursework that helps you with writing your thesis and understanding your research. Some examples of projects we did were literature reviews, thesis proposals, and interviews with potential thesis advisors!
Honors Independent Studies
The framework of the Honors independent study helped me effectively communicate with my professor about my roles and responsibilities, and it also gave me structure when I started my research.
It counts as my other Departmental Honors class, so there were a lot of benefits to it!
Going to graduate school
While I’m planning on working after graduation, I do hope to return to academia later on to potentially get a PhD in chemical engineering, and doing departmental honors is a great addition to my application! With the combination of upper-level chemical engineering courses and the research I do for my thesis, I’ll have a lot of skills and experience that graduate schools would be looking for.
So that’s why I decided to do departmental honors!
Regardless of what track you choose, the Honors curriculum is a great way to do research you're passionate about and take classes you’re interested in—it's all about what works best for you!
What track did you choose for your Honors curriculum? How did you make your decision? We’d love to communications [at] honors [dot] umass [dot] edu (hear your thoughts)!