FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

PART 2: OTHER ISSUES AND QUESTIONS

Q: What's the deal with the Biology requirement (BIOL 121 or 344) for BA students? Is that really a pre-requisite?
No. It's a not a pre-requisite for admission into the Honours program. However, it is a requirement for graduation with a BA Honors degree. If a student hasn't completed one of those two Biology classes within their first two years, then they need to enroll (and successfully complete) one of those courses while in their Third or Fourth year.

Q: What if I'm transferring into UBC; will all the Honours slots be gone by the time my application is reviewed?
We have a later deadline for transfer students because we realize you cannot apply to the Honours program until you are officially accepted as a UBC student. Each year, several of the available 15 slots are held open until applications from transfer students are reviewed.

Q: Suppose I'm already a Third-year student and I'm not in Honours? Can I apply to do Honours just in my Fourth Year?
No. Sorry. Honours is a two-year program.

Q: What if I am willing to do an additional year of undergraduate study? Could I join the Honours program at the beginning of my Fourth year?
It is usually not worth an extra year in university just to get an Honours degree because the Psychology Department offers many additional ways of obtaining the research skills and experience to prepare students for graduate study. (See below for more information on this.) We have occasionally accepted a student who was planning a five-year degree, but it is a rare event.

Q: Suppose I'm doing the Faculty of Arts Co-op Program, and I'm not going to be on campus consistently for both my Third and Fourth years? Can I still do Honours?
Probably not. Sorry. Honours is a two-year program. A significant part of the Honours program requires conducing psychological research – and that typically means being physically on campus at UBC. Another significant part of the Honours program requires participation in two 6-credit Honours Seminars (which again requires your physical presence at UBC.) To successfully complete the Honours program, a student needs to physically be on campus from September through April, for 2 years.

Q: I want to do Honours but I can't. (Or: I want to do Honours, but my application was turned down.) But I want to go to graduate school! What now?!
First of all, don't take it personally. The fact that our Honours program is a full two-year program means that not everyone who wants to do it can do it. And the fact that we admit only 15 new Honours students each year means that, regrettably, there are many talented students who seek admission but cannot be admitted to the program.

Second, do not be misled by the common perception that an "Honours" degree is absolutely essential for any student who wishes to go to graduate school. It simply isn't so. (No more than 15 UBC Psychology majors graduate with Honours each year, but many more than that apply successfully to graduate school.) Some graduate programs do explicitly state that only students with Honours degrees will be considered for graduate admission. But most universities observe no such exclusive rule. Many graduate programs explicitly state that they recommend that applicants have an Honours or equivalent degree. Words like "recommend" (rather than require) and "equivalent" provide graduate programs considerable latitude in evaluating the quality of a student's application based upon its actual merits (grade point average, GRE scores, research experience, etc.) rather than a simple label applied to the degree. So, while it's true that participation in our Honours program does provide students with the opportunity to become successful applicants to research-oriented graduate programs, these students will not be successful simply because they have an Honours degree. Rather, they will be successful because of the valuable research training and experience they attained while in the Honours program.

And so, please be aware that, in addition to our Honours program, the Psychology Department also provides other means of obtaining the kinds of intensive hands-on research experience that is valued by graduate programs in Psychology and related fields. For example, our department offers "Directed Studies" courses (PSYC 340, 348, 440, 448), which are designed specifically to give interested students an opportunity to do research under faculty supervision, and to earn course credit for doing so. While only a small handful of Psychology majors are admitted into the Honours program, a much larger number of Psychology majors receive similar kinds of hands-on research experience through their participation in Directed Studies. These students too receive excellent preparation for their applications to graduate programs in Psychology and related fields.