Honours Program Guide

The Honours Program in the Sociology and Anthropology Department provides a select number of students the opportunity of conducting a more in-depth study in their chosen major discipline. Honours programs are available in Sociology, Anthropology, or Sociology/Anthropology.

An Honours Program allows highly qualified students the opportunity of pursuing a more research-intensive course of study than the one normally required by the regular major. The Honours degree is usually a prerequisite for undertaking study at the graduate level for either discipline, as well as providing a more in-depth preparation for students headed to professional schools and certain careers. Students contemplating entry into the Honours program should consult with potential supervisors and the Chair of the Department early on in their program of studies (during the sixth semester) so that they can receive the required mentoring.


A written application for admission must be sent to the Chair of the Department by December 1 (for those planning to start the program in the winter semester) and May 1 (for those planning to start in the fall semester). A degree audit should accompany the application.

The application should consist of a statement of intent to pursue the Honours program, an explanation of the topic chosen, the reasons for the choice, and a summary of the manner in which the student intends to proceed through the three distinct phases of the program:

  • The preparation of the initial proposal,
  • The continuation of research and reading and the planning of the paper/thesis, and
  • The preparation of the paper/thesis.

This proposal should include a preliminary bibliography of sources demonstrating that the student has already informed herself of the available research sources.

Review of Application

Upon receipt of the Preliminary Proposal, the Department will review the student's academic record and the preliminary proposal and make a decision whether to accept the student into the program. The Chair will inform the student in writing of the decision by the Department. Once accepted into the program, the student will submit a final proposal for the Honours Paper or Thesis to the Department through the supervisor.

The Roles of the Supervisor and Readers

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with a possible faculty supervisor prior to submitting an application and a preliminary proposal. The student must be matched with a departmental faculty member who is willing to act as a supervisor who supports the proposal for the research course. The faculty member's support depends on a number of factors such as: expertise in the proposed area, familiarity with the student's ability to do independent research, contractual and work constraints, and the concurrence of the Department. Student and supervisor meet on a regular basis to ensure that the work proceeds according to plan.

The student must submit a final proposal for the research course (Sociology/Anthropology 490) to the supervisor, who, after having approved it, will then submit it to the Department for review. When approved, a copy will be filed with the Chair.

The role of the second and third reader is to provide a second opinion on the quality of your work. While readers may and often do contribute ideas and recommendations during the proposal stage of the work, they are not directly involved in advising and supervising your work.

The Research Course, The Honours Proposal and Final Paper-Thesis

The Research Course (SOCI-ANTH 490) represents the student's regular meetings with the supervisor, readings accomplished as part of the Honours work, research conducted in preparation of the proposal and paper-thesis, and any other activities related to the successful completion of the Honours work. six semester hours of credits are assigned to this work.

The Honours Thesis Proposal is an outline describing the topic you wish to research, issues related to that topic, existing work done on that topic by scholars, the relevance of your own approach to the topic, and a description of the manner in which you intend to achieve your research and writing goals. Thus, the proposal should: a) identify an area of interest, including a preliminary discussion of literature on the topic, b) present a specific thesis or problem for study, while including a preliminary review of theories and other research, and, d) Include a preliminary bibliography of texts available for the actual research phase. Students should expect to spend about two weeks of intensive work formulating this proposal.

The proposal should be between 10 and 12 pages in length, not counting the bibliography. It is to be developed and prepared in consultation with your supervisor who will give the final approval before it is submitted to the second and third readers for comments. The supervisor will select the second and third readers in consultation with the student.

The research paper or thesis prepared at the end of the SOCI-ANTHRO 490 course should normally be no more than 65 pages in length. Student and supervisor should determine a final completion deadline. From the outset, the supervisor and student should begin searching for and contacting the two additional faculty members for the student's thesis committee.

The final form of the paper or thesis must be typed and double-spaced with 1 ½ inches of left margin, 1 inch of right margin, and I inch of top and bottom margin, typed in a standard 11- or 12-point font, on quality paper and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

When the paper/thesis is in its final form, the student will submit 4 copies to the supervisor who will then send two of the copies to the other committee members and one copy to the Chair. The minimal acceptable grade for the paper/thesis is 75%. The supervisor will consult with the other committee members and then assign a single numerical grade and inform the student of the result.

If necessary, in order to attain an acceptable grade, revisions will be made and the paper/thesis will be circulated again for review. Since the work must be completed by the agreed upon-deadline, students are asked to ensure that their academic and non-academic commitments do not interfere with their regular progress. Students should note that faculty are not responsible for the student's rate of progress through the program, or the time involved for its completion. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the regulations governing the Honours program and act in accordance with them.

Summary of Steps to Follow:

  1. Contact Department Chair.
  2. Decide on a topic and conduct a preliminary review of the subject. Contact the faculty member whom you feel can provide you with the most helpful support (see our expanded Faculty Profiles link on the left of this page for a list of professors and their areas of research expertise).
  3. Write a preliminary proposal for your paper-thesis and submit it with your Application for Admission into the Honours Program to the Chair of the Department by May 1st or December 1st.
  4. Following your admission to the program, write a final proposal and submit it to your supervisor. Prepare the proposal with the guidance of your supervisor. Submit the finished proposal to the Chair of the Department.
  5. One your proposal has been accepted, start your research on the approved topic with the guidance of your supervisor. In consultation with your supervisor find a reader/evaluator from outside the department and invite them to be on our final thesis committee.
  6. When the paper/thesis reaches its final form, prepare 4 copies for distribution.
  7. Following the receipt of feedback from the other committee members, the supervisor will assign a final grade to your work.



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