Why study a 3-year Undergraduate Honours Degree?

Undergraduate students are awarded a Bachelor degree in their chosen field of study upon graduation. However, there are different types of Bachelor degrees and there is often confusion about their meaning. A British Bachelor Honours degree is one of the most widely established and recognised degrees worldwide.

Denoted by the use of (Honours) after the qualification (for example, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) or Bachelor of Science (Honours), an Honours degree implies a advanced academic standard. This short abbreviation on the degree can make a big difference to an employer.

Dr. Lois Smith, Head of the MA Education Programme, and Teaching and Learning Coordinator at Middlesex Dubai said: “having an honours degree tells everyone that a student has studied to a higher level than that of an ordinary Bachelor degree. Generally, to gain the extra ‘Honours’ students need to have completed an extended piece of academic work, such as a dissertation, as well as achieving success in their regular subjects.”

In some university systems this additional honours work involves an extra year of study after completing a three year ordinary Bachelor degree. However at many British universities, including Middlesex University Dubai, students complete their Honours degree in three years. This means that students are expected to function at a higher academic level throughout, and especially in their final year.

There are different classifications within the Honours system. The highest level is a First Class Honours, followed by an Upper Second Class (or a 2:1), then a Lower Second Class (or a 2:2), and finally a Third Class Honours. Only the very best students get a ‘First’, so these are the graduates that employers will ‘snap up’ right away. First and Second Class Honours classifications are also usually required for graduate training programmes in top tier companies.

To be admitted to a three year Honours degree programme, a student must have successfully completed their A levels, or an International Baccalaureate Diploma, or the XII Grade in the CBSE system. All other students must first complete a foundation programme that will prepare them for Honours study.

“Having an Honours degree is a real advantage when it comes to getting a job, but it also stretches students academically and gives the very bright students an opportunity to shine” added Dr. Smith. It is recognises a student’s extra study efforts and the advanced skills that a graduate has upon entering the workforce. Having a Second Class Honours degree or better is also a requirement for admission to many Master programmes in the UK.