Should you pursue honours, that is, conduct a research project and
write a thesis?
This is an important decision and you should consider it carefully:
- Do you have the motivation and the perseverance?
- Is there a research topic that interests you sufficiently to warrant the effort?
- Are you prepared to meet the sometimes-demanding deadlines and accept the pressure to meet the necessary standards?
Conducting an honours thesis is not the only way to learn about the discipline or even to prepare for graduate school. The honours thesis requires a major investment of time and energy and you should be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. Your individual circumstances, aptitudes, and interests will determine how appropriate the honours program is for you.
A thesis represents an opportunity for scholarly work in psychology that differs in type and depth from the rest of the undergraduate program. It provides an opportunity to take part in a research project in close collaboration with a faculty member and an opportunity to learn the difficulties and frustrations that often accompany this process. Most theses come off reasonably well, and even if your thesis does not come off perfectly, you will feel that you have learned something important about the discipline and about yourself.
The thesis project will often, but not always, be a part of the supervisor's research programme, for several reasons. First, this is the area with which your supervisor is most familiar and most actively involved and therefore, able to provide the best advice and guidance. Secondly, it is difficult for an undergraduate student at the outset of his or her honours year to be sufficiently familiar with a specialized area to be able to generate a research idea or design the necessary study which has the potential to be a real contribution to the literature. Therefore, you should begin, as early as possible, to discuss with various department members your interests and their research.
For more information, contact the co-ordinator of the Honours Programme: Dr. Genevieve Desmarais.
Before starting their honours theses, students must:
- Complete all course requirements for the B.A. or B.Sc. in Psychology for the first, second and third years.
- Obtain an average of 3.0 or more in their Psychology classes and an average of approximately 3.0 overall in their second and third year, or obtain the permission of the department.
Note: you must maintain the 3.0 average in your fourth year to be eligible for the Honours degree.
- Find a faculty member willing to supervise the thesis, preferably by the middle to end of your third year.