What is the Honours Program?
The Honours Program gives you the chance to study intensively in a sub-discipline you find compelling.
If you meet program requirements, it provides a challenging and invigorating learning environment that exposes you to the demands of rigorous intellectual research. For Law and Society majors, students are only eligible if they will complete the program during the following academic year.
As part your BA Honours degree, you will spend two terms (fall and winter of your final year in the program) preparing a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. During each of these terms, you will enrol in SOCI or LWSO 590, which provide credits for work done on the thesis. You should expect to dedicate as many hours, per semester, to your thesis as you would a normal 3-unit course. Honours students are expected to present their research at the annual Honours Symposium, usually held in early April.
There are no firm rules about the content or form of your thesis; however, most are about 35-50 pages.
The Honours thesis is normally a written document, though websites, blogs and podcasts are also possible options. These are still to be accompanied by a critical written component, such as a short report.
It is anticipated that you will have arranged a supervisor for your Honours Program by the beginning of the fall term; if arrangements are not formalized by mid-September, Honours students will be required to drop the course (i.e., SOCI 590 or LWSO 590).
By the end of March, you should have an abstract submitted for consideration of your Honours Symposium presentation.
Honours Symposium usually takes place in early or mid-April.
Grades are due usually late April or early May. Students not finished by this point will receive an “F” unless a change of grade is submitted and/or they have applied for an extension.
This criteria applies to Fall 2023 admission to the Honours Program only.
- At least 54 units, to a maximum of 72 units, in courses constituting the field of sociology while fulling the following requirements:
- Core: 18 units Sociology 201, 311, 313, 315, 331, 333.
- Honours thesis: 6 units Sociology 590.
- Advanced-Level Sociology: 12 additional units at the 400 level or above.
- Sociology options: 18 additional units from courses constituting the field of sociology.
- Minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.30
- For Sociology majors, completion of Sociology 313, 311, 315, 331, and 333 by the end of Winter 2023
- For Law and Society majors, completion of LWSO Methods Requirement by the end of Winter 2023
- For Law and Society majors, students are only eligible if they will complete the program during the following academic year
Note: Admission to the Honours Program is competitive, and students meeting these minimum qualifications are not guaranteed admission to the program.
Note: GPA calculated for purposes of admission does not include grades from the Winter session in which the application is made.
Application process, step by step
Contact the department before you apply
Meet with us in the fall semester before you apply to make sure you're eligible.
Review the criteria
Review the admission criteria (above) and major field requirements to ensure you qualify.
Find a supervisor
Review the Supervisor FAQs (see below) regarding selecting and approaching potential supervisors. Arrange to meet with them as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of them supervising you.
Prepare your application package
Your completed Honours application package should include your completed Honours application, via the Apply Now link above.
Late applications cannot be accepted. All components must be submitted electronically via the link above.
Wait for our response
The Arts Student Centre and Sociology Department will notify you of the success of your application near the end of the Winter term
Students will receive an email notification and their Student Centre will be updated with the decision immediately.
Upon acceptance, students will need to register in either SOCI 590 and LWSO 590 in the fall and winter terms.
You should contact potential supervisors in the fall term. You will need to find a committed supervisor prior to the application deadline of Jan. 15.
The most important characteristic is mutual interest. The ideal supervisor is in an area of enough interest to you that you can imagine yourself spending at least eight months working intensively with them on a research project.
Does my thesis have to directly relate to my grad studies specialization?
Your Honours research project will provide an opportunity to gain significant research skills that will be useful going forward, including for graduate school. However, you are not expected to select a project that necessarily aligns with any future graduate studies specialization.
Why is it important to work with an expert in the field?
It is important that you carry out a well-designed project that makes some contribution to knowledge in the field of sociology, or law and society. It is also important that you do this in a competent fashion, while learning new skills and expanding your knowledge of the discipline. This is most likely if you work with an expert in the field.
Why is it important to choose someone I can work with?
The quality of the relationship between you and your supervisor is important. This is a one-to-one mentoring relationship and obviously your learning will be enhanced if you work well together.
Most of our thesis supervisors can be found within our sociology and law and society programs, though we often have supervisors from other units such as law, political science, history, etc. If you find a potential supervisor outside of sociology or law and society, please contact us to discuss further.
Supervisors must be full-time faculty members (i.e., not sessional instructors nor adjunct professors).
Where can I find a supervisor?
Before you submit your application, you should contact potential supervisors and seek their support and permission for you to identify them on your application.
Many of our thesis supervisors can be found within our sociology and law and society programs.
How should I prepare for meeting my potential supervisor?
Your initial email should be a brief request to set up an initial meeting to discuss working together. Ideally, you should have a draft statement of research intent (about 200-300 words) ready for them to review, and discuss the possibility of their supervising your Honours thesis.
Be sure to read some of your prospective supervisor's articles and become familiar with their area(s) of research (you can usually find a list on their personal contact page, or request some sources directly from them).
How can I help a prospective supervisor prepare for our meeting?
Be ready to give the potential supervisor the same information you'll have to give in your application:
A copy of your university grades
A statement of intent
What do I say when I meet my potential supervisor?
Tell them about yourself and why you'd like to work with them. Ask what kinds of projects they're willing to supervise, and their expectations for Honours students (e.g., do they expect you to work regularly on Saturdays or Sundays, or during evenings?).
Are there any other questions I should ask?
Feel free to ask potential supervisors about their ability to supervise you given their current responsibilities (e.g., other students they may be supervising, whether they may be going on a research leave, etc.).
How should I manage my expectations?
You should not expect them to commit to working with you on the spot. The purpose of that first meeting is to get acquainted with one another. Either one of you may decide, upon reflection, that this is not the best supervisory arrangement.