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Understanding honours

Honours is an additional qualification where you can build on your undergraduate studies by completing a supervised research project and disciplinary or research-focused coursework. This may be embedded in your undergraduate degree or require an additional year of study.

Overview and types of honours

You can undertake honours through an appended honours degree after your undergraduate degree. Some professional or specialist degrees also have embedded honours study options.

Honours provides an opportunity to work on an independent but supervised research project and is usually completed as one year full-time study (some disciplines offer part-time options).

Under the guidance of an academic supervisor, you will choose a thesis topic, create a reading list and identify your method of research.

Academics in your faculty or school will provide supervision as you write your thesis. This thesis will document your research from proposal through to conclusion.

Why study honours?

Completing honours shows you have achieved high academic standards and gives you a Bachelor (Honours) qualification. 

An honours degree can open the door for further research study, equipping you with the prerequisite research skills to undertake a research degree such as the PhD.

Alternatively, if you decide to complete an honours degree without pursuing further research, you will graduate with a robust set of transferrable skills including:

  • time management and research skills
  • project management and delivery
  • showing future employers that you can investigate independently and achieve more complex goals.

What’s involved

Generally, honours will consist of two components:

  • an independent research project, under the supervision of an academic staff member
  • additional honours units in research design and technical training.

You will usually complete a dissertation or thesis and attend regular meetings with your supervisor to discuss your research.

Once you complete the requirements for your honours, you will graduate with a Bachelor (Honours) degree.

You can contact the faculty or school honours coordinator from the area of interest you are considering, for more information about honours. We also hold honours information sessions (usually in September) where you can discuss your options.

Types of honours

The type of honours you undertake depends on your individual study circumstances.

Appended honours

Appended honours is an additional qualification that you complete after you have finished your undergraduate degree. Generally, appended honours is available to both current University of Sydney students and external applicants. You’ll find information and eligibility criteria for most appended honours degrees in Find a course.

As a current student, often you'll need to apply through Find a course in the same way that external applicants apply, but may also need to submit an additional application form to your school or discipline. When searching for these on Sydney Courses (Find a course) these degrees will look like the Bachelor of Arts (Honours).

If you enrolled in a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies program prior to Semester 2, 2024, and plan to apply for honours, we will advise you during your candidature of your appended honours degree options.

Embedded honours

Some bachelor’s degrees have an honours program embedded within them. You will complete your honours study during your current undergraduate degree by completing specific units. Honours will not increase the overall time taken to complete your studies.

Joint honours

Joint honours is when you complete one honours thesis in two subject areas closely related to each other. A special program of study is designed that allows you to complete the course concurrently in one year.

To apply for joint honours, you need to meet the eligibility requirements for both honours.

Contact the honours coordinator in your faculty or school to discuss your options.

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Last updated: 24 April 2024

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