Honours Stream

Honours Stream — Policy Studies

The honours degree option of the Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies program requires students to complete a thesis with the supervision of a faculty supervisor/co-supervisors. The principal requirement of the honours degree is to write a 40–60 page paper (not counting notes, bibliography and appendices) that showcases the qualitative and/or quantitative skills that a student has acquired as an undergraduate at Mount Royal University, and is of sufficient quality and interest to present to an employer or a graduate school. The thesis should reflect some independent research in the policy field that is genuinely the student’s own work.

In undertaking the honours thesis, the student’s goal is to teach the reader something, and to show that her/his analysis answered a research question that was laid out at the beginning of the thesis. The supervisor/co-supervisors will help the student to refine the research question, to find and analyze data, and to help ensure that the student’s research efforts are both disciplined and efficient. This assumes, of course, that the student will conduct her/his own research and write her/his own thesis.

Policy Studies Honours Handbook

Purposes of the thesis include, but are not limited to:

  • encouraging the student to undertake independent policy-related research and to develop appropriate academic and experiential skills;
  • providing the means by which the student can demonstrate her/his ability to undertake policy-related research at a professional standard and communicate the results in a professionally acceptable way; and
  • furthering the student’s general expertise in policy.

The chief advantages of acquiring a thesis in honours are:

  • Honours graduates are an elite group. The opportunity to do sustained, independent research with academic supervision is an “apprenticeship” which will likely be beneficial in more advanced (graduate) studies, as well as in future employment.
  • Due to the scope and quality of independent student work required, the thesis distinguishes the honours year from previous years in the POST degree program.
  • The thesis provides an opportunity for the student to bring together many of the aspects of policy which have been learned in earlier years as separate subjects.
  • The thesis assumes an environment where distinctive qualities of a high-achieving student are exhibited clearly, so the honours thesis is a valuable instrument for assessment. Among the qualities assessed are originality, mastery of policy ideas, the appropriate structure of presentation, the requisite academic and applied knowledge, and how to use them.
  • The thesis develops and tests a student’s ability to organize and execute a sustained piece of research and to present complex material both effectively and well.

Contact Us

For more information on the honours program, contact:

Ben Atkinson
Department Honours Coordinator — Policy Studies
Office: EA 2041K
Phone: 403.440.5950
Email: batkinson@mtroyal.ca
Lori Williams
Student Advisor
Office: EA 3007
Phone: 403.440.5964
Email: lwilliams@mtroyal.ca