Study honours

Gain a competitive edge by undertaking an honours degree with a single year of study

If you’re looking to improve your prospects or open the door to postgraduate research degrees such as a PhD, honours is your next step.

Honours is an additional qualification that can be completed at the end of your undergraduate degree. Usually honours needs to be completed in full-time study mode over one year.

To be admitted to honours you need to meet specific entry requirements. Most honours courses require a WAM of 65.00 and some study areas require higher marks. Additional entry requirements may also apply.

Why study honours?

Honours is the next step if you’re seeking a competitive edge.

Through honours, you’ll develop transferrable skills to complement your bachelor’s degree:

  • Critical thinking and communication skills
  • Time management and research skills
  • Project management and delivery
  • Demonstrate to employers you can investigate independently and achieve more complex goals
  • Kickstart your pathway to further research in the future

Independent research can be a life-changing opportunity to become a subject matter expert in a niche area. You’ll have the chance to develop significant insights and make your own meaningful contribution to a field of knowledge.

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

How does honours work?

Honours is an optional, additional qualification that you apply for and usually takes one-year (full-time) to complete. Generally, your honours year consists of:

  • an independent research project, mentored by your academic supervisor
  • additional units in research design and further technical training. 

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

During the year, you’ll be mentored by scholars in your discipline as you write a thesis to document your research journey from proposal to conclusion.

About to start your bachelor's degree and already know you want to pursue honours?

  • Explore our appended honours degrees that you may be able to apply to study after completing your undergraduate degree. Check admissions requirements for each honours degree to understand the options best suited to your circumstances.

Already studying and looking to pursue an honours year?

  • Depending on your current study area, you can consider applying for a one-year appended honours degree following completion of a qualifying undergraduate degree. 

See types of honours.

Types of honours

The fees you pay for your honours study will depend on the degree you are enrolled in and the type of honours.

If you enrol in a degree with embedded honours, the honours fees are already included in the fee for your degree.

If you enrol in an appended honours degree, you can find out more about the fees payable on the relevant Sydney Courses page. If your application is accepted, your fees will be confirmed in your offer letter from the University. 

Important information about honours fees for Commonwealth supported students who commenced their studies before 1 January 2021.

Students are advised to consider the impact of the Job-ready Graduates package on their honours fees.

In 2020, the Australian government’s Job-ready Graduates package made changes to fees for domestic students who commenced new programs with a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) from 1 January 2021. The new fee rates are higher for some programs, and lower for others. Some existing students are “grandfathered” and pay the pre-2021 fees. 

Prior to 2023, honours students were only grandfathered if they completed their pre-honours course of study as a CSP before 1 January 2021 and then commenced a related honours degree. 

Following changes to the Higher Education Support Act in 2023, CSP students doing honours are now grandfathered if they start a pre-honours course of study as a CSP before 1 January 2021, complete that course of study after 1 January 2021 and then start an eligible related honours degree. For example, if you commenced a Bachelor of Arts prior to January 2021, complete this course and undertake honours through the related appended honours degree, the Bachelor of Arts (Honours), you are eligible for the grandfathered rate.

For more information about the changes, see the Higher Education Support Amendment (2022 Measures No. 1) Act 2023

If you transfer to a new course to do honours, you may not be grandfathered and will be charged the new fee rates for honours. 

Students who commenced a course with an embedded honours component before 1 January 2021 will continue to pay the pre-2021 fees for their honours component because this is part of a single course of study. 

For more information, see the Job-ready Graduates program and its impact on fees.

Some of the University of Sydney bachelor’s degrees have an  embedded honours component. This means you will complete your honours study during your current undergraduate degree by completing specific units. Your honours component will not increase the overall time taken to complete your studies. 

In some degrees, honours is integrated and runs alongside the pass degree. This means you won’t have to apply separately to do honours and won’t need to complete specific honours units. An example is the Bachelor of Engineering Honours where all students will complete and be awarded honours as part of completing the requirements of the degree.

Some integrated honours degrees may additionally require students to maintain a certain minimum weighted average mark to be eligible for an honours award, or alternatively exit with a non-honours degree.