FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

PART 1: THE BASICS

Q: What is the Honours Program?
The Honours program is a two-year program that provides advanced training in psychological research to outstanding students who intend to pursue Ph.D.-level graduate studies in Psychology.

Q: For whom is the Honours Program designed?
The Honours program is designed specifically for Psychology majors who are interested in conducting psychological research and who plan to pursue a research-oriented PhD in Psychology or a related scientific field.

Students who fit this profile – and who meet the high standards for admission into the Honours program – benefit from the additional coursework that is required of Honours students (e.g., a course on advanced research methods and statistics), as well as from the research projects that Honours students conduct under faculty supervision during their third and fourth years.

(There are many high-achieving Psychology majors who do not fit this profile. For example, many excellent students choose not to pursue graduate studies. Other excellent students pursue Masters degrees in counseling, marketing, or other applied disciplines that are much less research-intensive. The Honours program is not designed to serve the career goals of these students.

Q: What are Honours students required to do during their Third and Fourth years (beyond the requirements for a regular BA or BSc degree)?
The additional requirements of Honours students fall into two categories: (a) some additional coursework, and (b) a lot of research.

All Honours students are required to take four courses that are directed specifically toward Honours students: PSYC 312 (History of Psychology), PSYC 359 (Advanced Research Methods), PSYC 349 (Honours Seminar, Third Year) and PSYC 449 (Honours Seminar, Fourth Year). There are also some additional Honours requirements pertaining to the required number of additional courses, upper-level courses, and that sort of thing. These additional requirements vary depending on whether a student is getting a BA or a BSc degree. (For instance, a regular BA degree requires that students take at least 30 credits of upper-level Psychology courses, whereas BA students in the Honours program are required to take at least 48 upper-level Psychology credits.) Complete details on these additional course requirements can be found in the UBC Calendar, where it lists degree requirements in Psychology.

These additional course requirements capture only one small part of what distinguishes the education of Honours students from that of other Psychology majors. The biggest distinction lies in the fact that Honours students conduct research projects under faculty supervision during both their Third and Fourth years. Each year, Honours students are expected to seek out faculty members as potential supervisors, and to make arrangements to conduct research under a faculty member's supervision. Honours students not only conduct research within the context of a faculty member's lab, they also discuss their own and others' research in the regular meetings of the Honours Seminar class. Honours students are also expected to present their research at the end of the academic year, during the Psychology Department's annual Undergraduate Research Conference.

Q: I see that Honours students are required to register for a full load of courses (30 credits). Can I spread out the 30 credits across the entire calendar year, so that I take some courses over the summer and do fewer courses during the winter session?
No. The Honours program requires students to take 30 credits during the September-April academic year. Note that the Honours seminar uses 6 credits, so students will typically have four additional courses in each term.

Q: What is required for Admission into the Honours program in the first place?
Admission to the Honours Program is highly competitive, and is limited to 15 new students per year. (That is: A maximum of 15 incoming Third-Year students are admitted into the Honours program each year.)

In order be considered for possible admission into the Honours program, a student must meet several minimum requirements: For instance, Honours students must have attained at least a 76% average in the Second year and at least 80% in PSYC 217 and 218 (BA Majors) or PSYC 260 (BSc Majors). These minimum standards are specified in the UBC Calendar.

(Students failing to meet either of these criteria may nevertheless apply for admittance into the program, but it is only under rare and unusual circumstances that that students who fail to meet these minimum requirements are admitted into the program . It's also worth noting that some of these minimum criteria are identified with reference specifically to UBC course numbers; students who are transferring into UBC may be considered for admission into the Honours Program if they have attained equivalent grade point averages in equivalent courses.)

Bear in mind, though, that these are just minimum standards. Not every student who meets these minimum standards will be admitted into the Honours program. Admission decisions will be based on students' overall record of academic excellence (e.g., their grades), as well as on other information bearing on the extent to which students' aptitudes are well-matched with the objectives of the Honours program.

Q: Suppose I'm interested. How do I apply to the Honours program?
An electronic application form is available on the Psychology Department's web site.

Students who wish to be considered for admission to the Honours program typically apply during the second half of their Second year. So, if you're going to be a Third-year student starting in September of the next academic year, you should consider applying to the Honours program soon after completing your December exams of the current academic year.

Current or continuing UBC students must submit their applications by MARCH 15.  Transfer students must submit their applications by JUNE 1.  Late applications will not be considered. 

Students must have already taken (or be currently enrolled in) PSYC 217 and PSYC 218 (or their equivalent at another institution) before applying.  Admission decisions will await posting of grades for the spring term.

Interviews with members of the Honours Admissions Committee take place during late March and early April, with initial decisions announced as soon as spring term grades are posted. (For students transferring into UBC from other Colleges and Universities, this review process occurs in June, and takes place only after the applicant has already been formally admitted to UBC.  Applicants must complete an interview with the Honours Admissions Committee, which can be in-person or through video chat.)  These interviews permit the Honours Admissions Committee to clarify information that was not clear in the application, and, most importantly, they permit applicants to ask questions about the Honours program to help them decide if the program is a good fit for their educational goals and life circumstances.

Prior to applying, interested students should consult the Psychology Department's web site for more detailed information about the Honours program. (That is: you should read thoroughly the entire FAQ, both Part 1 and Part 2, that are linked to the Honours page on the web site.)
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