Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pass vs. Honours? Masters vs. Undergrad?

We often get asked by students whether or not they need an honours degree in order to get into a specific field or position. Unfortunately, this is a complicated question and we will be unable to give you a definite answer. While some employers might favour an honours degree others may only want to see a completed undergraduate degree and wont care whether its pass or honours. This will depend entirely on the company and the level of the position you are applying for.

This is also the case with Masters degrees and PhDs. Some jobs, such as Social Work, require that you have a Master's degree in that specific field. There is ultimately no way around this. However, in the field of archaeology, an individual can work as an archaeologist without a masters degree though there are a high number of archaeology positions that will require a masters or even a PhD in the field. Every profession is different and ever location (country, province, city) will have different requirements that they will want you to meet.

Determining whether or not you need to go to graduate school or if you should complete a fourth honours year will require research. One way to do this is by searching for the career you are interested in on job posting boards or through professional association websites which can be found on your program's Degree Exploration Guide. Take a sample of qualifications and determine what the average employer is looking for. If you are finding that "Masters degree in a relevant field required" is coming up on a lot of these job postings you might want to consider pursuing a graduate degree or looking into an alternative career path.

When in doubt, ask your professors and anyone you know working in your field of interest. Take the opportunity to get your name out there by letting people know what you are interested in and the type of employment you are/will be seeking. Word of mouth can arguably be more powerful then job searching online. The better prepared you are now will mean less stress for you in the future!

Ashley Paolozzi, Lead Career Assistant
4th Year History of Art (Honours)

Get a Job Straight out of School: Erik, one of our Career Assistants, provided us with this great article from The Globe and Mail. Check it out!

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