Honours degrees a great option for students serious about grad school: A chance to dive deeper into what you love

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With the 2013-2014 academic timetable up and running, many students are starting to think about what sort of options they have for next year.

While some students may choose to pick a minor with a single major, a double major or any variation of the three, students with exceptionally high grades and graduate school in mind may choose to look into the various honours programs offered here at UNBSJ.

If doing an honours degree has ever crossed your mind, there a few things to know in order to successfully apply for the program and complete it.

Most programs require students to hold a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0. This is typically in the B+ range. This average can vary, so it’s important to research the expectations of your particular discipline.

Students wishing to apply to the program must also have completed a set number of prerequisite courses determined by the subject-specific faculty.

Students are reminded that just because they meet the minimum requirement, doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be accepted. Honours candidates must be well-rounded individuals that can effectively demonstrate their ability to succeed in the program.

As admission to the program is highly competitive, students are expected to obtain a faculty member that is willing to supervise them throughout the course of their program, as well as have a thesis topic in mind prior to applying.

In preparation for applying to the program, it would be wise to establish a good working relationship with certain professors that may one day agree to be your supervisor. A strong interest in the topic is also an unofficial requirement for an honours student.

The program requires a lot of work and if the interest is not there, it can greatly inhibit your success.

Students will be required to work under the supervision of their professors in order to conduct a well-formulated, academic study. They are expected to meet with faculty members on a regular basis and will be held accountable for the research they conduct.

At the end of the program, students must present the findings from their thesis to the faculty members. Before applying for the program, students should understand that their workload will greatly increase while in this program and time management is crucial.

So what is the benefit of doing an honours degree as your undergrad?

An honours program provides excellent preparation for graduate school. It often sets your application apart from those who haven’t done the program. Your success in an honours program shows the grad school that you’re serious about the topic you’re studying and are capable of handling the workload. Some graduate programs consider it a requirement in order to even be considered for admission.

If excelling in your academic career is  very important to you and you one day hope to go to grad school, doing an honours degree may be the perfect way to get your foot in the door. The requirements differ in every discipline, so be sure to check with your advisor soon to jump-start your academic career.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.