About this program

The Chemistry Distinguished Scholars Program offers an opportunity to a diverse group of students with a broad array of interests in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Up to 24 incoming first-year students are selected to participate each year based on academic achievement.

The program places students into groups that are guaranteed enrollment in introductory courses, including Honors General Chemistry. These courses offer a smaller, more inclusive learning environment, and provide a gateway to genuine research experiences in the Chemistry Department.


  • First-Year Student
  • 3.0+ GPA
  • Academic interest in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Engineering & Design, Environmental Science, Geology, Materials Science, Polymer Materials Engineering, or Pre-Medicine

Apply by March 10

This program is exclusively for admitted Western students; you will need to log in to your Admitted Student Portal to register.

A smiling student unpacks boxes in the chemistry storeroom
Assorted laboratory equipment and glassware in a chemistry lab


  • Access to peer study cohorts so that you can make meaningful connections during your first year at Western.
  • Enhanced lab experiences in a smaller, more inclusive learning environment.
  • One-on-one advising with a Chemistry faculty member will help students chart coursework, access research and internship opportunities (many Chemistry Distinguished Scholars start research projects with faculty mentors early on in their college careers), and plan for the future after graduation.
  • Guaranteed enrollment in the following courses*:
    • First Year (Fall 2023): CHEM 175 (Honors)
    • First Year (Winter 2024): CHEM 176 (Honors)
    • First Year (Spring 2024): CHEM 225 (Honors)
  • Priority registration in the following courses:
    • First Year (Spring 2024): BIOL 204
    • Second Year (Fall 2024): PHYS 161

*Students will have a seat in the appropriate Math class depending on their Math Placement and/or AP calculus scores. In order to enroll in any General Chemistry class, including Honors, students must demonstrate proficiency in pre-calculus (MATH 114) either through taking the Math Placement Exam or having equivalent college coursework already completed. Students who have demonstrated high achievements in Math and Chemistry in their high school coursework who do not meet the math requirements may petition for admission, which is subject to review by the Chemistry Department.