Studying Honours offers a chance to develop your research and professional skills guided by staff who are passionate about research and the development of new researchers. An Honours year provides the satisfaction of advanced study, a close supervision relationship with an academic, the ability to engage in specialised and extended research, and enhanced job opportunities. It is also a pathway to a postgraduate research degree such as a Masters by Research or PhD.
What is Honours?
Study at Honours level represents the highest level of training in an undergraduate degree within the Australian tertiary education system. Honours is an extra year of study, usually following immediately on from a pass degree, that combines aspects of undergraduate study with those of postgraduate research. It introduces advanced research training through the completion of a thesis or a creative or practice-based research project.
An Honours degree is available only to students who have attained a specified level of academic achievement in a particular program of study, involves both coursework and advanced research training, and usually has an extra year of university study devoted to it.
Why do Honours?
Undertaking an Honours year will allow you to get your first real glimpse of what being an academic involves. You will devise your own thesis/research project which will involve you developing your own research questions and conducting original investigation, analysis and reporting to complete your project. Completing an Honours degree brings many rewards. These include:
- obtaining a much deeper understanding of your academic discipline
- working one-on-one with your supervisor and receiving instruction on the finer points of reading, writing and critical thinking, and
- developing a sense of collegiality with a select group of Honours students who will be your peers, and with whom you will share all the excitement, interests, aspirations, and insights that come with an intensive period of study.
Students undertake Honours for a variety of reasons including preparation for a research degree, improving their employment opportunities or simply a passion for advanced learning in their discipline.
Honours can be taken in the School of BEES in the following disciplines: Biological Science, Botany, Ecology, Environmental Science, Human or Physical Geography, Geography, Geology, Marine Science, and Zoology.
Surveys of recent graduates of UNSW consistently reveal that the employment prospects of honours graduates are markedly superior to those with pass degrees, which suggests that employers, including those outside the biological field, value the extra training of the honours year.