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Honours in Science

Enhance your future career opportunities with a single year of additional study
Honours provides a unique opportunity for you to explore your research potential and extend your undergraduate studies.

The honours year in science is a widely recognised and highly regarded additional year of study available to you after you complete your undergraduate course.

An honours qualification in science is not only impressive in academia, but also in industry where research experience and a command of critical thinking are highly sought after. Honours is a unique opportunity for students to explore their potential by designing and conducting an independent research project and producing a thesis of their work.

Honours also provides you with a pathway to higher degree by research, such as a PhD.

More information about honours can be found on the understanding honours page.

If you are looking to undertake an honours year in Science, you can consider the appended Bachelor of Science (Honours) or Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science (Honours).

Please read the scenarios below to see which applies to you.

  • Students who are currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree at the University of Sydney, see our advice on the current student website.
  • If you’ve completed a qualifying bachelor’s degree and are either returning after graduation or transferring from another institution:

How can I undertake honours in science?

Options depend on how many majors you have or will complete in your undergraduate degree, as well as when you started your degree.

If you have some discipline-specific questions about honours or honours projects, get in touch with a coordinator below.

Honours topics and projects

Honours projects available in:  

  • Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry

An honours year in chemistry provides the opportunity to be involved in a research program and provides training in research techniques and experience with modern state of the art research instrumentation. The honours program adds a new dimension to the skills that you have acquired during your undergraduate years and enhances your immediate employment prospects and, more significantly, your future career potential. You will have the opportunity to work on research for 90% of the year. 

In the honours year, each student undertakes a research project under the supervision of a member of staff, writes a thesis which explains the problem, outlines the research undertaken and the results obtained, and also attends advanced lecture courses and seminars. 

An honours year widens the range of employment possibilities and it may lead to the opportunity to proceed to a postgraduate degree.

The School of Chemistry offers a wide range of projects for Honours students covering all areas of contemporary chemistry. You will join a group of approximately 40 honours students in chemistry and work alongside approximately 120 postgraduates currently enrolled in MSc and PhD research programs. 

All students with a sound record in chemistry are strongly encouraged to enrol in an honours program in the School of Chemistry. 

Application is a two-step process: Honours and Graduate Diploma in Science applicants must apply directly to the School of Chemistry as well as the Faculty of Science.

Honours projects available in:

  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Information Systems
  • Software Development

Contact:

Dr William Umboh
Ph: +61 2 8627 7122
E: william.umboh@sydney.edu.au

Do you want to graduate from the University of Sydney with a research thesis you can show to prospective employers? The School of Geosciences offers honours in the areas of:

Honours in Geosciences is available to students with a major in any of the above and who meet the University’s admission requirements for Honours (which include a minimum SCIWAM of 65 and approval by the School of Geosciences). It involves an advanced coursework program of seminars and reports (accounting for 25% of the program’s assessment) and an individually-written Honours thesis of 20,000 words addressing a specific research question (accounting for 75% of the program’s assessment). The process of working with your supervisor in developing your topic, and then generating new knowledge about it through original research, represents an additional dimension to your future employability and long-term career prospects.

The research problem that forms the basis for your Honours thesis will be developed in consultation with a supervisor. The academics in the Geosciences units you have taken during your undergraduate degree are able to act as supervisors, subject to their availability. In the first instance, you should contact an academic and discuss your interest in Honours. It is possible for your Honours thesis to be developed either as part of a wider research project being undertaken by the supervisor, or as a stand-alone project guided by your own interests and passions.

Honours in Geosciences provides the opportunity to develop real-world research skills and apply them to a specific problem. You will work closely with a supervisor, be part of a small group of committed, high-achieving Honours students, and be part of the wider community of staff and students in the School of Geosciences

Applying for Honours in Geosciences

The application for Honours in Geosciences is a two-step process. First, students should email prospective supervisors and arrange a meeting to discuss Honours. The Honours coordinator in Geosciences should be copied into emails. You should do this in the semester prior to your proposed entry into Honours, and our strong advice is to contact prospective supervisors earlier rather than later. Don’t delay the discussion.

Second, students also need to apply for admission into Honours through the University. Choose the faculty that your degree is administered by on this page for further information on applying.

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Honours coordinators: 

  • Associate Professor Jo Gillespie (for queries about admission, supervision, the program and Geography, Environmental Studies) 

  • Dr Vasilis Chatzaras (for queries about Geology & Geophyscics) 

  • Queries about Honours in Marine Science can also be directed to us. 

Honours projects available in:

  • Health
  • Human Movement

Studying fourth year Honours in history and philosophy of science can lead to many different career paths such as science policy, science administration, science education, science journalism, and science writing, and, in particular, serves as an excellent preparation for an academic career. 

Working closely with an academic supervisor in a lively and supportive department, HPS honours students gain experience in formulating a research question and producing a substantial piece of original research.

While some students have pursued PhDs in our Unit, several students who have obtained an honours degree with us have continued their postgraduate education at leading programs at the most prestigious universities around the world, among them the University of Cambridge and Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and Pittsburgh Universities.

The structure of the HPS honours year

Honours students are expected to complete four Honours level Units of Study successfully and write a 15,000 words thesis based on independent research. A thesis supervisor will guide you through the steps of conducting research for your thesis and writing up the results. 

We currently offer four honours level units, which provide a comprehensive background in history and philosophy of science. 

Semester 1

Semester 2

In addition, there are four units of study in which you need to enrol which represent work on your thesis.

Your thesis will be graded by two independent academics who are familiar with the thesis topic. The final grade for your Honours year is: 50% (average grade for Units of Study) and 50% (thesis mark).

Applying for Honours in HPS

To be eligible to enrol in the Honours program, you need to have a bachelors degree with an average grade of at least a credit. If you graduated from the University of Sydney, you are expected to have majored in HPS. If you are from another university, you are expected to have a similar background.

However, we have accepted students with a minimal background in HPS if they have good reasons to pursue an honours degree with us. You could acquire the required knowledge by taking units of study or reading courses either before or during your honours year. Whether this option is appropriate and what should be the courses taken will be decided for each applicant personally, according to the judgment of the Unit.

If you would like to pursue this option, please contact HPS Honours Coordinator.

Application process

  1. Make appointment to speak to relevant supervisor or honours coordinator 
  2. Complete and submit the HPS honours application form

Honours projects in the following areas:

  • Agriculture
  • Animal and Veterinary Bioscience
  • Animal Health, Disease and Welfare
  • Animal Production
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Environmental Science
  • Food and Agribusiness
  • Food Science
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Marine Science
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition Science
  • Plant Production
  • Quantitative Life Sciences
  • Soil Science and Hydrology

Do you want the chance to do real research under the guidance of some of the most highly respected scientists in Australia? Your honours year of research in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences will give you that and much more, as you delve into your area of interest in a year-long research project.

Choose from an array of exciting projects in life and environmental sciences, and delve into detail like you’ve never had the chance to before, as you focus on your sustained research project.

You’ll get technical training in research techniques and instrumentation, as well as invaluable skills in communication, project management and critical analysis. 

For instructions, projects and supervisor information please read the handbook:

Contact soles.education@sydney.edu.au if you have any questions or issues.

More information on the Current Students site on how to apply and the SOLES Student Portal on Canvas (internal student access only).

Honours projects available in:

  • Data science
  • Financial Mathematics and Statistics
  • Mathematics (Applied)
  • Mathematics (Pure)
  • Quantitative Life Sciences
  • Statistics

In all cases, assessment is by a combination of coursework (~40%) and a project (~60%). While the three divisions offer courses separately, the honours program is flexible and students are encouraged to consult the relevant honours coordinator if they are interested in taking a course from another division. 

Honours projects available in:

  • Anatomy and Histology
  • Applied Medical Science 
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Neuroscience
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology

An honours year in medical sciences is undertaken in one of the specified honours areas listed above, either within a research laboratory at the Camperdown or Westmead campuses, or externally in an affiliated Research Institute or Clinical School. For more information about pursuing Honours in medical sciences, including projects available, application deadlines and expressions of interest, please refer to Honours in medical sciences page.

To obtain an honours degree in physics it is necessary to complete a fourth undergraduate year which is devoted to the study of physics: 50% on coursework, and 50% on a research project. Projects are available in a very wide range of research areas.

Students can commence honours in either first or second semester. Honours is full time. In some cases it is possible to take honours part-time over two years, with special permission from the Associate Dean.

Upon completion, a student is eligible for the award of First Class Honours, Second Class Honours (Division 1 or 2) or Third Class Honours. University Medals in Physics are awarded to the top students if the standard achieved is sufficiently high. 

The same course is taken by candidates for the Graduate Diploma in Science (Physics).

Honours in Psychology is a full-time year of study requiring completion of coursework (50%) and a major research project produced under the supervision of an academic from the School (50%) – successful completion of Honours in Psychology makes you eligible to apply for APAC-accredited postgraduate professional programs and/or Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs.

Applying for Honours in Psychology

All applicants must complete the School Application, and then all applicants (except Bachelor of Psychology students) must also complete a University Application – more information about both applications can be found in the Honours Information Booklet for 2022 [PDF, 119KB] and a general overview of the Honours in Psychology program can be found in the recording from the Honours Information Session for 2023.

Due to the competitive nature of Honours in Psychology, all applicants will be ranked on their Honours Application Mark (HAM) – prospective students can get an idea of where they stand with our Honours Application Mark (HAM) Calculator [xlsx, 15KB].

(N.B: the information here applies for the cohort of 2022 – the information relevant to the cohort of 2023 will be updated in December 2022).

Other key information

 
 
 

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