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Implications of choosing a Major vs. Honours programme in Physics

  1. Mar 5, 2010 #1
    I was wondering what the practical implications of choosing a Major vs. Honours programme in Physics are. At UBC second degree students are namely normally not allowed to pursue the Honours programme, so before accepting the offer I would of course like to know more of what only doing a Major would entail. How would my chances of going for a PhD be limited (if at all)? How do employers look upon that? And lastly, if one is significantly worse off by doing only a Majors degree, is it then better to go for an Honours one at a "lesser" school than going for a Majors at a "better" one?

    Thanks in advance everyone.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2010 #2
    I am heading to UBC next year as a freshman too, and I like to know
     
  4. Mar 5, 2010 #3

    chiro

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    I'm not sure about other countries but in Australia an honors program is only awarded to people who make the cutoff (and possibly if there are only a certain intake it is awarded on a more competitive basis).

    In the fourth year there is typically a thesis which takes a year and it is basically a student doing some form of research. It's meant to give students a taste of research and helps them prepare for graduate coursework and more importantly research programs.

    Typically research positions (like PhD and postdoc) will more than likely require an honors background. Depending on the uni and the program the cutoff for honors could be a 65-75 WAM (Weighted average mark out of 100) or possibly higher if its an extremely difficult or competitive program.
     
  5. Mar 7, 2010 #4
    So basically in Australia it is used to denote the students that did best? From what I understand, in Canada it's a different program altogether, with having to choose more courses and maintain a better average to progress through the years, as well. Those of you who know or have studied in Canada, is my understanding correct? And how does this impact going for a PhD then, would a Majors not suffice?
     
  6. Mar 7, 2010 #5

    chiro

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    Thats basically correct but it will ultimately depend on the major and how many people meet the criteria and also who want to be honours students. If there are a very large cohort who make the cutoff then additional criteria may apply whereas some courses may have a very low amount who make the cutoff (one course that comes to mind is actuarial studies) so it depends on different factors.
     
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