Honours Degree in Psychology
An honours degree is almost essential if you plan to continue on to graduate school in Psychology. Although not absolutely essential for other post-secondary options (e.g., social work, speech language pathology, occupational therapy), an honours degree is well-regarded, and will likely increase your chances of admission. If you are planning to continue your education after the undergraduate level, then you should at least consider pursuing an honours degree.
There is no difference in the courses you take in your first two years, regardless of whether you are doing a regular Psyc major or an honours degree. Be sure to keep your grades up, however. To be considered for the honours program, you must have at least a 3.33 GPA (approximately B+, or high 70s), and all your courses offered towards your Psychology major must have grades of at least B- or 70.
The difference in curriculum starts in your third year. There are certain specialized courses you will take if you are planning to pursue an honours degree (i.e., Advanced Research Methods, Honours Seminar, History and Systems). You will apply to the honours program half-way through your third year. If you are accepted into the program, you will be matched with a faculty supervisor. In conjunction with your supervisor, you will then work on a large-scale research project throughout your fourth year. This project will involve developing an idea for a study, designing the study materials, securing ethics approval, collecting the data, analyzing the data, writing up the study, and presenting it to the department. It is excellent experience, and very valuable for graduate applications. Again, it does not affect your registration in first year, but keep it in the back of your mind for the future. There are information sessions about honours offered each year, or you can speak to a faculty advisor for more information down the road.
It is possible to do an honours degree within either the BA or BSc programs. With proper planning, it can also be combined with a double major, or with the Neuroscience or Applied Psychology Options. Click here for more information on exactly what is involved in the honours degree.