Study honours

Gain a competitive edge, undertake an honours research project with a single year of study

If you’re looking to improve your career 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 in your career.

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
  • Collaborative, multidisciplinary research opportunities
  • Not to mention, kick start 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 full-time pathway usually taking one year to complete. Generally, your honours year consists of:

  • an independent research project, mentored by your academic supervisor
  • additional units in research design/technical training
  • some honours and coursework units.

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 faculty as you write a thesis to document your research journey from proposal to conclusion.

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

Already studying and looking to pursue an honours year?

  • Depending on your current study area, you can consider a one-year appended honours degree following completion of a qualifying undergraduate degree. Alternatively, you can also consider transferring to a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree. Please note that any course transfers may have an impact on your units of study choice and fees.

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 or integrated honours, the honours fees are already included in the fee for your degree.

If you enrol in an appended honours, 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. For example, if you are in a single degree and transfer to the Combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree, this will be considered a new course enrolment and will not be grandfathered. 

Students who commenced a course with an integrated or 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 example, if you commenced in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies prior to 1 January 2021 and undertake the honours pathway through this degree, you will pay the pre-2021 rate (indexed by CPI each year).

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

If you are currently enrolled in a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies, you can apply for an embedded honours component in either of the two majors you have selected in your degree (you must still meet the eligibility criteria with a minimum WAM of 65). Please note some streams do not allow you to undertake honours in your second major or as an embedded component in the combined degree. Please check the stream requirements in your handbook to confirm.

If you are a Commonwealth supported student (who commenced your degree prior to 2021) and you are considering transferring to a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree at the University of Sydney, please be aware that this transfer will be treated as a new course enrolment. This means you will be charged the new Job-ready Graduates package fee rates for units going forward in your new degree. In some cases, this may mean that you will be paying higher tuition fee rates. Any units you have already studied will be credited to your new course and noted as paid under the old rates.

Please carefully check information on fees and consider the implications of transferring courses before you take any action.

Some students choose to complete either double honours or joint honours.

Double honours mean you complete two separate honours thesis in different subject areas. This usually takes an additional year, extending your studies by two years full time.

Joint honours are when you complete an honours thesis in two subject areas closely related to each other. This type of honours allows you to complete the course concurrently in one year.
To apply for double or joint honours, you need to meet the eligibility requirements for both honours programs.

For more information, check the honours page for your faculty or school. Please note that some faculties and subject areas may not offer this study option.

Some University of Sydney bachelor’s degrees have an embedded Honours component. This means you will complete your honours study in the final year of 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.