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Honours Degree vs. Bachelor of Science

  1. Jan 12, 2008 #1
    what on earth is honours degree. Like bachelor of science vs. bachelor of science honours. Thankyou b/c nobody is telling me the difference although it sounds like a big deal
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2008 #2
    Well, this could mean different things at different schools. At my undergrad school, you could receive Latin honors, such as cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Basically cum laude required 3.5 GPA, and the higher honors required even higher GPAs. Also, physics majors were required to complete certain additional requirements, such as "honors experience" courses, and a senior thesis. I'm not sure what it means at your school, but I'd assume the honors program is similar.

    Is it a big deal? Well, that depends on how you define a big deal. You can get a good job or grad school offer without it. Such things tend to depend more on your GPA. But it certainly doesn't hurt to complete the additional requirements, because they'll certainly look good to most admissions committees. But again, you should really ask a professor or someone else at your school, because this varies somewhat between institutions.
  4. Jan 12, 2008 #3


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    At my school there is an honours program vs. a majors program, and the difference is that for each class there is a majors and honours version, the honours being harded. For physics, the majors program seems to have more of experimental focus, while the honours has more of a theoretical focus. You also need to keep up a fairly high GPA to stay in the honours program.

    I have heard that at other schools, to graduate with honours you have to stay an extra year or so and do some extra classes. Or at some others it depends just on GPA and a few additional requirements.
  5. Jan 12, 2008 #4


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    Depends on which country (see wikipedia). In countries under the English system, honours is a typical path to a PhD and involves an extra year with a significant research component. Honours of this type is usually the most intensive time you would encounter in your academic career, and it is certainly a lot harder that the straight bachelors. Some Universities make course requirements more major-focussed throughout the entire bachelors.
  6. Jan 12, 2008 #5


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    That's not true. I'm from England and thus hold a degree under the English system. The norm over here is to obtain an honours degree. One can obtain an "ordinary" degree. This basically means that they have taken one or two less classes each year during their course. There is no "extra year" for an honours degree however: both honours and ordinary bachelor degrees are three years full time.
  7. Jan 13, 2008 #6
    Not sure about elsewhere, but at my university (in Canada) the Honours program simply needs more courses in the same amount of time. 6/semester, or 5/semester if you're doing co-op. Apparently it is way recommended if you're planning on going to grad school. Not sure if this is Canada-wide or just specific to my university though.
  8. Jan 13, 2008 #7


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    Not Canada-wide, as mine is in Canada, and different, as I previously stated.
  9. Jan 13, 2008 #8
    I'm in Canada too. An honours degree at my university consists of the basic requirements for a degree, plus a number of extra courses, mainly at the 4th year level. You also have to complete a thesis or a comprehensive exam depending on your major.
    There's no time limit though, I'll need 5 years to complete my honours in pure math (mainly because I only decided in my 4th year to continue on with it). Most other honours students in my faculty are there for 5 years too, unless their highschool offered APs and they were able to skip first year math.

    I've been told that it's pretty much required to get into grad school, but I know a few people who are in grad school now and didn't do honours.
  10. Jan 13, 2008 #9
    Ah okay. In my defense you didn't state the school you go to or the country you reside in. :P
  11. Jan 13, 2008 #10


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    I mean I previously stated how honours is different at my school, not that it was in Canada. Sorry if that came across as rude.
  12. Jan 13, 2008 #11
    Usually honours just means a bit more intensive time at university. I go to UofToronto, and when I looked at the difference between a regular major and an honours/specialist it was basically the amount of courses that were different. a major requires around 8, while an honours or specialist requires around 15. Also those extra honour courses are usually tougher than the regular major classes, and in most research degrees you would be required to take a research on your fourth year.
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