chem student works on a project

To fulfill the capstone requirement for the chemistry major, students will submit a portfolio of their best work. The portfolio will be submitted via Moodle and will consist of four of the six items below:

  • A laboratory report from an advanced chemistry course

  • A report from an independent laboratory research experience (either a summer research project or a report from an independent research course)

  • A detailed proposal for carrying out original chemical research

  • A literature review/critique on a current topic in chemistry

  • A video of the student's oral presentation from an advanced chemistry course or research experience

  • A poster describing a project from a research experience or an advanced chemistry course

In addition, each student will submit an essay that reflects on the items in the portfolio and the process of assembling the portfolio.  No more than two of the items may originate from any single Cornell course. The department will maintain an archive of portfolio material for consistency from year to year.

The written items in the portfolio will ordinarily be based on class assignments but may be written independently for this requirement. Work from a course must be rewritten to include all corrections and should address concerns and suggestions raised by the grader.

The Chemistry Department will evaluate each item submitted and accept it or send it back for revision within two weeks of submission. For a body of work that is considered truly outstanding, the department will recommend that the student graduate “with honors in chemistry,” provided the student meets existing honors requirements as specified by the college. The department chair will provide names of chemistry majors to the Registrar as the requirements are met.


  • 12 terms prior to graduation – meet with chemistry advisor and file a plan for completing a portfolio (normally block 5 of the student’s junior year)

  • Six terms before graduation – submit at least one item

  • Four terms before graduation – submit at least one additional item

  • Two terms before graduation – submit all remaining items

  • Wednesday (noon) prior to graduation – make all necessary corrections and revisions as required by the faculty

Capstone Plan for 2017 graduates

Capstone Plan for 2018 graduates

Capstone Plan for 2019 graduates