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Forums > Social Discussion > Higher Education - to honour or not to honour?

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Rouge Dragon
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction

Total posts: 13215
Posted:Currently after some advice and ideas to bounce off people. This might be long but please bear with me.



I'm in my final year of my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts (Languages) which is a specific language degree, overseen by the arts faculty (not unlike how psychology comes under the arts faculty in many universities in Australia). I'm majoring in Japanese and Spanish with a compulsory minor in linguistics. Unfortunately, on it's own, the degree doesn't qualify me for anything.



As yet I don't know for sure what I want to do with my life - but I know I don't want a desk job! I studied my course because I love language and because it would give me a wide field to start with and multi-lingual capabilities that I could bring to almost any career. But to actually qualify me for anything specific, I'd need to do a masters or a graduate diploma.



Although I'm not sure, I'm considering work teaching, interpreting, aid organisations or diplomacy, with a focus on Spanish because I don't relate to Japanese.

-Teaching requires a diploma of education (I already have high enough levels of the languages to teach them at a highschool level)

-Interpreting is best with a masters in interpreting (then accreditation by a formal body)

-Aid work has post graduate degrees but can be entered through graduate positions and I feel would be more interested in life experience in developing countries. I've been told by AusAid that they'd like a candidate who speaks a pacific island pidgin.

-and diplomacy can be entered through graduate positions but would have other entry points too.



The question is: Do I do honours? Or do I go overseas again and do postgraduate in a few years? Or do I do both? Is there an advantage to both?



If I did honours, I'd be looking at a thesis on something Latin American - possibly on propaganda during the dictatorship eras. Interest only. I can't see it being useful for a job.



If I went overseas I'd be teaching in developing countries (looking at Vanuatu (where I'd learn a pidgin), Tanzania and Tibetan refugees)



Has anyone done honours?

Why?

Was it worth it?

What are the advantages of it?



If you were any employer, what would you prefer: life experience or honours? I remember my dad looking through resumes a few years back and ignoring people with PhDs and no experience.



I hate university; I hate how for my course I could learn more *in* country than out of textbooks, but in this day and age I need a university degree to do anything. I see honours as a chance to study what *I* want to study and not to have to follow coursework that I don't really care about. But is it worth it in the long term? At what point does experience become more important?



So, at this point, I'd like to thank you for reaching the end of my post. I'm going to make an appointment with a career counsellor and my Spanish teacher, but I'd really like to hear what people have to say from their own personal experience or from they've observed.



smile

EDITED_BY: Rouge Dragon (1210667391)


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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Pogo69
SILVER Member since Apr 2006

Pogo69

there's no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness
Location: limbo

Total posts: 3764
Posted:I can't speak of the specific requirements, as they apply to your chosen field of study. however, I can tell you what I've looked for when responsible for the hiring of staff within mine.

if I was hiring for a research position within a university or an R&D role in a private firm, I'd be more inclined to look kindly upon a potential applicant with honours; simply because they've demonstrated the ability to research a topic, reach some form of conclusion(s) and report on them; exactly what I'm looking for in the role. (yes, this is rather simplified, but it'll do for illustrative purposes).

however, if I'm hiring a graduate, I'd be far more impressed by a graduate who'd completed a graduate placement for a year, in a real-life commercial role (QUT here in QLD has a program that places students between 2nd and 3rd year into a commercial role for a year), than someone who'd spent the additional year completing their honours.

so... basically, it all depends on what it is you want to do from here.


--pogo (pat) [forever and always]

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Pink...?
BRONZE Member since Apr 2002

Pink...?

Mistress of Pink...Multicoloured
Location: Over There

Total posts: 6140
Posted:I agree with Pogo69's last statement, it all depends on what you want to do from here.

I personally don't even have a degree. I always thought I would get a degree when I knew what I wanted to do in life, then I could study what I want to do, and choose a vocational course.

Luckily I landed myself a job doing something I love... and I got this job from my past experiences.

I think that you need to decide what you want to do for your next step. Do you want to stay in Aus or go abroad (you know you want to come back to the UK and hug me)? Do you want to settle down and earn money, or carry on being a student?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time... what steps will that require?

I wouldn't necessarily shun 'desk jobs' either, I mean I used to think I'd never want to do a desk job, but here I am with a 'desk job' although most the time I am not at my desk! Just make sure you don't close of any potentially good things

Anyway there's a couple of my opinions/thoughts/ramblings.


Never pick up a duck in a dungeon...

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87wt2gxq7


87wt2gxq7

veteran
Location: Birmingham

Total posts: 1502
Posted:What does 'honours' mean, Rougiebean? Is it a research/thesis year? UK degrees are all honours, y'see.

If it is, then I wouldn't disregard it out of hand, the skills you'll learn researching and writing a substantial piece of work are good general skills to have that an employer would rate highly.

Besides, speakin' from bitter experience, it's much easier to get the qualification while you're already at uni than deciding later on in life that you need it and trying to get back into education.


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fanged_angel
BRONZE Member since Jul 2007

fanged_angel

poiromaniac
Location: liverpool, uk

Total posts: 162
Posted:its the equivalent of a masters degree over here in england smile

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Thanks fanged_angel, I was wondering as well.



While there are many variables depending on not only what you want to do, but *where* as well (since with language degrees the international doors open up).



In the US alot of companies hire based on degree *and* experience. They want to know you have the academic knowledge to handle the depths of a job but the real life experience to handle the pressure.

In fact, many will sponsor people to get higher levels of education with a contract that says they will stick around for another 5 years, that type of stuff.



Also, on that line, it was recently on CNN that alot of companies that do regular lay off procedures are now starting to lay off based on degree, instead of any other qualifications. If a person does not have a certain degree level for their position, irregardless of the fact they've held the position for 20 years and know all there is to know about it, they are first on the chopping block.

It was also reported that this is becoming a more global issue as well.



But that's all from a US perspective.

In the end it really depends on what you want to do.


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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BurdaA
SILVER Member since Jul 2007

BurdaA

Sacrebleu
Location: At the quiet limit

Total posts: 377
Posted: Written by :fanged_angel


its the equivalent of a masters degree over here in england smile


Sorry Fanged_Angel, close..but no cigar.

An Australian Masters (Taught) = UK Masters.
An Australian Bachelors (non-hons) = UK 'Ordinary' degree.
An Australian Honours degree = UK Honours

we just don't tend to specify here unless it's an Ordinary degree.

But according to NARIC (a UK National equivalencies Agency)'Ordinary or Pass degrees are common in Australia, and many faculties do not offer Honours degrees. Where Honours degrees exist they are of at least four years in duration.'

Rouge, I'd personally go for both, as if I can't see where I'm heading I try to keep as many options open as possible. I can't see any downside to being experienced and expert.

But I spend all day trying to convince people to go to University, so this may be a reflex suggestion biggrin


Poi(poi~y) n. : A Hawaiian food made from the tuber of the taro that is cooked, pounded to a paste, and fermented.
- part owner of Wooktastic

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:dunno if you are on AusStudy yet Rougie, but there is a limit to years of govt funding, and some post grad courses arent covered by it. Do teaching. Its only 1 extra year of study, and then you can travel the world with it if you want. Especially with your languages.

IMHO, Honours is really not that big a deal, if you want to prove you can reasearch you might want to try a Masters later on?


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted: Written by :Rouge Dragon



I'm in my final year of my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts (Languages) which is a specific language degree, overseen by the arts faculty (not unlike how psychology comes under the arts faculty in many universities in Australia). I'm majoring in Japanese and Spanish with a compulsory minor in linguistics. Unfortunately, on it's own, the degree doesn't qualify me for anything.







Ahh Rouge, welcome to the dillema all arts students have at the end of their degree! eek



At the end of my undergad study, I realised I was qualified to read a dead language and to think - my majors being old english and philosophy.



Have you considered doing a Masters by coursework to become 'qualified'? There are plenty of masters programs that do not require honours (thankfully as I would never have been able to get in!) and are not developing you for an academic life.



Graduate Diplomas are also excellent, and some allow you to continue onto a final masters year if you like.



Employers will go for different things, some are wiling to develop you further, some don't have the resources to do that and expect you to hit the ground running, so there's no straight answer on experience vs quals. But a good balance is always looked upon favourably by an employer.



And don't forget the transferable skills you have been developing while working and studying, you are not soley a student...



dunno if that helps shrug

EDITED_BY: Ade (1210726100)


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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:I did honors. I learned something about lab work.

I also get to put it on my resume, which is helpful.

There you do.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted: Written by :BurdaA



 Written by :fanged_angel



its the equivalent of a masters degree over here in england smile



Sorry Fanged_Angel, close..but no cigar.



An Australian Masters (Taught) = UK Masters.

An Australian Bachelors (non-hons) = UK 'Ordinary' degree.

An Australian Honours degree = UK Honours



we just don't tend to specify here unless it's an Ordinary degree.



But according to NARIC (a UK National equivalencies Agency)'Ordinary or Pass degrees are common in Australia, and many faculties do not offer Honours degrees. Where Honours degrees exist they are of at least four years in duration.'









Actually both are somewhat correct...



In australia your honours YEAR is traditionally your 4th year of study - which can be coursework/thesis depending on the stream.



for engineering at least, your honours YEAR is compuslery to become an accedited engineer - so you arent allow to graduate in less than 4 years. Additionaly, i have to achieve a certain grade in my honours YEAR to be allowed to say i graduated with honours GRADE - and so now i can write 'B.E. (hons)' after my name smile



For other degrees such as science and arts, honours year is not compulsary, so one can finish after 3 years - but no honours are given.



I believe (although i may be wrong) that a Engineering degree is 3 years in UK (with honours GRADES bestowed according to marks), but most students spend a 4th year to get their Masters afterward.

This is why at least in engineering an Aus bachelor degree (with honours) is considered to be equivalnt to a UK masters degree, as they both take 4 years.



Feel free to correct me if ive made any mistakes there.



--------------------



Back to Rougie - well in technical fields its definitely worth the extra year - in arts fields its a different question.

Having the (hons) thing next to your byline may make you appear marginally more impressive for your first couple of years of employment - but id say after that potential employers will see youve got a degree then just look at your experience.



I agree with your father ignore the Phd guys with no experience. I used to think a doctorate was impressive - but then realised most doctorates in engineering couldnt be bothered finding a job so just didnt leave!



However completing honours certainly will not rule you out of any job - its only 1 year (whereas a doctorate is 3 more years on top of that). Id say honours will open up many more doors and close almost none.



How desparate are you to leave the country? It may be worth just getting your honours over and done with while your settled down where you are...



then again you feel you need to travel and have some life experience - go for it!



1 year wont really make too much difference in the long run of life.



D. ubbrollsmile

EDITED_BY: Dentrassi (1210741691)


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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BurdaA
SILVER Member since Jul 2007

BurdaA

Sacrebleu
Location: At the quiet limit

Total posts: 377
Posted: Written by biggrinentrassi



I believe (although i may be wrong) that a Engineering degree is 3 years in UK (with honours GRADES bestowed according to marks), but most students spend a 4th year to get their Masters afterward.

This is why at least in engineering an Aus bachelor degree (with honours) is considered to be equivalnt to a UK masters degree, as they both take 4 years.



Feel free to correct me if ive made any mistakes there.





Yep. This has become so common that most Engineering schools here will offer integrated 4 year MEng programmes as well as a 3 yr BEng. This is also frequently the case for Maths and Physics courses (MMath & MPhys only... i.e. not MSc Astrophysics).


Poi(poi~y) n. : A Hawaiian food made from the tuber of the taro that is cooked, pounded to a paste, and fermented.
- part owner of Wooktastic

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Rouge Dragon
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction

Total posts: 13215
Posted:Yeah to clear stuff up, over here, honours is an extra year tagged onto your undergraduate degree. For me it would be a research honours, but coursework ones are also available.

Josh, I don't get any assistance from the government, apart from HECS. I'm not eligible for any and I'm rather happy that way as I've seen makes deal with Centrelink and I don't want a part of it! And I'm likely to do a dip ed since I am thinking of working as a language teacher in regional schools who otherwise wouldn't have access to LOTEs

Ed, How desperate am I to leave the country? In a word: Very! I have a teaching job in a village in Vanuatu that I can take and I'm itching itching itching for it.

I had a chat with a careers counsellor today and I think I've pretty much made up my mind to not do honours. The experience I already have with my two jobs (and the third I have in summer) already put at an advantage and the careers I'm looking into aren't going to need research.
I think a large part of the reason why I want to do honours is because I want my parents to be proud of me, which I realise is not the right reason to spend another year at uni!


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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georgemc
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

georgemc

Sitting down facing forward . . .
Location: Christchurch

Total posts: 2387
Posted:MHO...
... and this is coming from an Engineering based perspective which is a "trade" based in logic and practical stuff and I really think it may be completely and utterly irrelevent to Arts which are more esoterical... biggrin

I didn't see the point in a degree at all, and then the Air Force put me through NZCE which is a kind of "practical degree" worth about 3/4 of BEng in academic terms but has a lot more practical work component to it so was often more highly regarded. Since then I worked through various roles which brought me into the management arena and I started wondering if I should go "back to school" and do an MBA. I have always come back to my own view (shared by many others in the field) that "real world" experience is much more relevant and better than "a piece of paper".

I think this view is fairly valid in "practical" roles as I said but for the arts perhaps pieces of paper are very relevant. If however Rougie, you intend getting a "real" job wink then, probably, the quicker you get into it and get some real world experience, I think it's better than staying in school longer.

Oooh - better add that this view seems valid for New Zealand but from the little I understand about the USA for instance, the reliance on letters and pieces of paper is quite different there. Would that be correct??

my 2c (did anyone realise that 2c aren't legal tender anymore!)

Rougie - go and get a real job and stop hiding from the world in school! ubblol


Written by: Doc Lightning talking about Marmite in Kichi's Intro thread

I have several large jars of the stuff. I actually like it... a little. And don't tell anyone I admitted to it.
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