Honours FAQ

Why should I do Honours?

Unlike a Bachelor's degree, an Honours degree gives you exposure to advanced coursework and research. This provides you with a taste of cutting-edge research topics and establishes a foundation for postgraduate study.

At the same time, an Honours degree is a certification of excellence in Mathematics and Science and, in particular, demonstrates that you have mastered a range of skills that are coveted by employers, including research skills, technical writing and oral presentations skills. It also shows that you have focus, perseverance, and creativity! 

Where do Honours students end up?
Our Honours students have stepped into exciting careers all over the world - in research, teaching, government, and industry. Employers of our Honours students include Google, Goldman Sachs, Quantium, the Australian Signals Directorate, and beyond. See our Alumni webpage for many more examples of where our Honours grads are employed! 

Does doing Honours in mathematics lock you into any career path (i.e., do you become particularly specialised?)
Definitely not! You don’t need to do a PhD or become a Maths teacher after you complete your Honours year. An Honours degree in Mathematics, Statistics, or Data Science teaches you essential quantitative skills that are desired by a wide range of employers.

Does doing Honours improve your employability?
Definitely! The overwhelming feedback from employers is that they are looking for employees who can problem-solve, think creatively, and communicate effectively - exactly the skills we teach our Honours students!

Should I do Honours if I my MWAM is only slightly above the requirements?
The MWAM requirements are there to make sure that you are adequately prepared for an Honours degree. If you are at or only slightly above the requirements, you may struggle to thrive in your Honours year. If you are concerned about your grades or your preparation, you should talk to the Coordinator of the Honours stream that interests you.

Applying to the Honours year

How should I choose between Pure, Applied, Stats, Data Science and Physical Oceanography?
The main criterion for which Honours stream you enter will be the area of research for your Honours project. Typically (but not always) this is the Department your supervisor sits in. But don’t worry - if you choose one Honours stream you can still take courses in other Departments (see below).

If I choose to do Honours in one Department, can I still take subjects from another Department?
Yes! You should discuss your subject choices with your supervisor and Honours Coordinator to make sure that they are suitable. However, you can certainly take courses from other streams, and up to one course can be taken outside of the School (subject to your Coordinator’s approval).

Are there entry requirements for Honours?
See our webpageAdmission to the Honours Year, for details of entry requirements.

What third year courses are recommended (outside of those required) for doing Honours in a particular area?
If you have a good idea of what kind of research area interests you, you can talk to the Honours Coordinator and potential supervisors and ask for recommendations on good third year courses.

How do I enrol?
Please see our webpage, Admission to the Honours Year, for enrolment details.  

Are there scholarships available for Honours year?
Yes, there are several scholarships available to Honours students

Structuring your Honours year

Can I start Honours in T2 or T3?
Yes - you can commence Honours in T1, T2, or T3. 

Should my five Honours year courses be distributed 2-2-1 over the three trimesters?
Not necessarily. Many students choose the schedule 2-2-1, as it leaves more time in the third term to finish your thesis. But if there are more courses you are interested in enrolling in for your third term, scheduling your courses as 2-1-2 or 1-2-2 is fine.

I would like to spread my Honours program out over more than one year. Is this allowed?
The thesis project must be completed in one year (i.e. three consecutive terms), but some of the five courses may be done before or after that year. Note that you cannot start Honours until you finish your undergraduate mathematics degree, and any Honours courses taken before starting the Honours program will not count towards the five needed courses.

The Honours Year Project

How should I choose my supervisor and my project?
Different students have different approaches to finding their supervisor. Some students come into Honours year really interested in a particular research area, and then seek out a member of staff who is willing to supervise them. Other students are not sure about what research area interests them but are very interested in working with a particular person.

The best advice is to talk to lots of staff members early - and often - and look through the research profiles on the School website (Applied Maths; Pure Maths; Statistics; Data SciencePhysical Oceanography. Also browse through our staff members' research profiles, linked from their names in our Staff Directory). 

When should I talk to potential supervisors?
Early! You need to have a supervisor lined up well before starting your Honours year (ideally before you apply) so start talking to potential supervisors now!

More questions?

Director of Honours

Dr Chris Angstmann
Email: c.angstmann@unsw.edu.au

Honours Coordinator - Applied

Dr Amandine Schaeffer
Email: a.schaeffer@unsw.edu.au

Honours Coordinator - Pure

Dr Pinhas Grossman
Email: p.grossman@unsw.edu.au

Honours Coordinator - Statistics

Dr Libo Li
Email: libo.li@unsw.edu.au