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These are postgraduate qualifications that requires additional study beyond a traditional bachelors degree. It is a degree classification that is different from ordinary or foundation ones and it goes a long way towards helping to distinguish a graduates achievements.
|In the UK degrees may be awarded with honours or without, having said that currently virtually all students in this country only enrol on honour degree courses.
To be awarded a honours degree graduates must
- Attain a comprehensive understanding of their subject matter.
- Be able to analyse and understand current processes and practices in their chosen field.
- Utilise sound judgment when making decisions.
- Be able to clearly explain detailed academic theory.
- Demonstrate a ability to achieve set academic goals and deadlines.
- Write and communicate coherently.
- Use teaching resources effectively.
At the end of a degree programme a students overall work and examination results are assessed and marked. A Board of Examiners will decide on how well they did in their studies and if their coursework is good enough to be awarded a pass mark.
Facts about honours degrees
- On most honours course students have to undertake a minimum of 360 credits over a three year period. On the majority of courses (for instance medical related ones) they have to pass all 360 credits. Only once they have achieved this will they be awarded a Bsc (Hons) or BA(Hons).
- Some honours degree courses require students to take a year of practical practice.
- The abbreviation ‘hons’ is commonly used instead of the full ‘honours’.
- They are considered more valuable than ordinary degrees, and subsequently can make people more employable.
- Your must have been awarded a honours degree first before you can proceed to doing a postgraduate course.
- On some courses students are graded more on major projects or a thesis than on coursework or exam results.
- In some fields a good honours degree can replace or be the equivalent of a masters degree.
- Certain careers require applicants to have a honors accreditation and not just a ordinary degree. For this reason alone it is important that you research the entry requirements of your chosen industry.
- In Scotland honors degrees are normally only given to students who enroll on four year courses. As opposed to England where it can be awarded to those on a three year course, although certain fields will insist on a additional year of study.
A honours degree will teach students how to
- Research, investigate and think independently.
- Explore their chosen subjects in greater depth.
Below is a rough breakdown of the main type of honours degree classification
First Class Honours
Known as a 1st or First.
70% or above is required to achieve this.
A double first means obtaining a first class honours degree in two separate subjects.
Upper Second Class Honours
Known as a Two One or 2:1.
Between 60% to 70% required to achieve this.
This is the most common Honours degree classification awarded in the UK.
Lower Second Class Honours
Known as a Two Two or 2:2.
Between 50% to 60% required to achieve this.
Third Class Honours
Known as a Third or 3rd.
Between 40% to 50% required to achieve this.
The above percentages are not fixed and a certain amount of discretion is allowed by the authorities.
The benefits of attaining a honours degree
Research has shown that they are more likely to successfully attain higher paid jobs.
Their earning potential is greater.
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