Doing an Honours year after you’ve completed a Bachelor's degree is a way to extend your understanding of your major subject and also find out whether you enjoy doing scientific research. Completing an Honours degree to an approved standard is necessary preparation for further postgraduate study, such as a doctorate (PhD).
A Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree generally involves an extra year of more challenging (Level 8) courses, and a short thesis summarising an independent research project. This ‘3 + 1’ format is different to four-year Level 8 degrees such as the Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Food Technology, which may be awarded with Honours.
Entry to Honours programmes is generally restricted to students with a good average grade in their last year of a Bachelor’s degree – check with your chosen tertiary institution.
Completing an Honours project under the supervision of an experienced scientist will provide you with skills in research methods and critical thinking, and understanding of the research process.
An Honours degree will generally qualify you for work as a research associate or senior technician in most research fields, although competition can be strong in popular areas such as Biological Sciences and Ecology.
Options for further study:
Honours degrees are awarded with different levels of achievement, generally referred to as first, second and third class honours. Second class honours are further divided into two divisions, referred to as ‘2:1’ and ‘2:2’.
If you enjoyed the research component of your Honours degree and achieved a good grade, you might consider doing a PhD – a further three to five years of research.