Honours within the School of Biomedical Sciences
What is an Honours Degree?
If you are going particularly well in your Bachelor degree, then you should seriously consider an Honours degree. Honours is a research-focussed course, where your aptitude to enter a research-based career is explored. You will learn organisational, analytical, and practical skills that will stand you in good stead for a variety of future career paths. An excellent honours grade qualifies many students directly for an Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA) scholarship, which enables them to study towards a PhD, and a future career as researcher or academic.
Two types of honours degree are available to students in the School of Biomedical Sciences. If you are a Bachelor of Pharmacy student you are eligible to apply for entry to the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) course. This is a so-called “integrated honours” course, where your honours course requirements are fulfilled in parallel to your 3rd and 4th year Pharmacy subjects.
All other students can consider the Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree. This is a so-called “Add on” honours course that normally involves one additional full time year of study (or part time (2 years) by either Distance or Internal students) following the successful completion of a three-year or four year undergraduate Bachelor degree. Distance students will require somewhere to perform their research project (typically in the workplace under the supervision of at least one CSU academic and the co-supervision of a local supervisor).
Who can do honours?
Entry to the honours courses is exclusive. To be considered, you must have achieved a Grade Point average of 5 or above in your undergraduate course (i.e. a Credit average), and you must not have failed any subjects. In rare instances some leeway may be possible if you can demonstrate improving excellence in recent years. Please contact the school Honours Program Leader individually to discuss whether in your case the School can argue for an entry criteria exception to the Sub Dean Research, Honours and Graduate Studies, with whom the final decision will rest.
Advantages of an Honours degree
There are many good reasons to spend a year researching a particular question in depth. Undergraduate classes have introduced you to a wide range of topics and problems, and an Honours project enables you to explore one in much deeper detail. It allows you to add a further qualification to your degree which adds valuable strings to your professional bow: a higher level of achievement, specialised knowledge in your discipline, and advanced level research and writing skills. An Honours degree allows you to pursue a special interest or topic at a detailed level of engagement and to enjoy the satisfaction of completing a significant body of original research and writing. Honours graduates automatically take this advanced skill set with them into the future: not only into the workforce and/or higher degrees, but also into other areas of interest in their lives.
Honours and your career path
Fast-track your future. An Honours degree is the most important and widely recognised qualification for entry into postgraduate study. As such it is the prerequisite for an academic or research career in Australia. As well as this, an honours degree will enhance your employment prospects as it demonstrates your capacity to do independent research, to think critically and analytically, and to write at a reasonably advanced level. You may be able to find employment in areas directly related to the topic of your thesis research, however this is not necessary. From a potential employer’s perspective, whatever your research topic, it looks very good to have the demonstrated ability to conceptualise and achieve a complex goal, meet deadlines, investigate independently, use resources effectively, and write cogently.
What would I work on?
Honours research topics are various and sometimes negotiable – if you are really interested in a topic and want to find answers, you’ll be encouraged and supported. Please see the list of potential honours projects being offered by academics within the school, or discuss honours with any academics whose research interests you. If there is nothing right down your specific alley, note that several academics have indicated that they are open to supervise project suggestions from motivated students. Enthusiasm for your topic is half the battle won, so be motivated! Please discuss your situation with the Honours Program Leader before committing to any particular supervisor
What should I do next?
If you are considering Honours the CSU Honours pages will help you (http://www.csu.edu.au/study/honours/). The list of projects on offer from the school will enable you to get an idea of the scope and range of research possible. To find the right people to talk to, as well as specific information about contacts and enrolment into Honours in your discipline, there is an honours information session on Wednesday of week 6. Independently thereof, or if you are unable to attend, then please feel free to contact myself or individual supervisors on your own initiative. Discuss your ideas for a project with a potential supervisor, so that they can advise you, offer topic suggestions, or help you to formulate a specific research questions.
There are a variety of scholarships available for Honours students. For details and useful links see:
CSU - http://www.csu.edu.au/courses/fees-and-costs/help-with-costs/scholarships - especially Scholarships and Fee waivers.
For further questions, contact the School of Biomedical Sciences Honours Program Leader.