All ESSRC researchers offer honours projects from time to time. In many cases these aren’t formally advertised, and so prospective honours students should make contact with possible supervisors well ahead of their intended honours year.
If you’re considering honours in the ESSRC Research Centre, chances are that you already have some idea about what you want to do. Sometimes, though, it can be tricky to find a place to start.
First things first, consider why it is that you are interested in undertaking honours. Are you interested in pursuing a research career? Looking to enhance job opportunities? Or simply fascinated by a particular research area?
In many cases, Honours can be a pathway to a Masters by Research or a fast-track to a PhD. An honours project can be a way to get a feel for the field or undertaking research and decide if you really like it, or it can be a valuable way to gain skills and knowledge which will give you an edge when moving on to further study. Consider that an honours project might be used to lay the groundwork for ongoing research, but also keep in mind that you aren’t necessarily limited to that research area upon completion. The skills you gain may prove to be more important to your career progression than the particular topic.
In certain study areas, an honours degree is fast becoming a requirement for many job opportunities upon graduation. Considering whether an industry-relevant research topic might give you a competitive edge, and even offer possible networking opportunities, many university based researchers continue to engage with a variety of government bodies and industry partners.
Whatever your motivation for undertaking honours, the next step is to identify a researcher who is working in the area that you’re interested in. Try looking at the ESSRC lab pages to get an idea about current research and research interests, or try looking at individual researcher profiles.
Often, researchers may offer honours projects which stem from a component of their own research. Sometimes these are advertised on notice boards around the School of BEES or online, but often they aren’t. The best option is to contact the relevant researcher directly to discuss the possibilities.
In some cases, you may already have a particular research topic or project in mind. Remember that it isn’t always necessary to find a researcher working on precisely the same thing. Often a researcher in the same field will have sufficient knowledge and skills to supervise an honours topic that is somewhat different to their own work – or they will know someone who can. This is best discussed with your prospective supervisor well in advance of application deadlines, so plan ahead!
Finally, remember that there are often scholarship opportunities available for a variety of honours topics, many of which your supervisor may not be aware of. It is up to you to plan, research and seek out these opportunities.