Is An Honorary Degree A Real Degree?

The numerous variations between an honorary degree and a regular one may be a key concern for many. It may be difficult to understand what an honorary degree is and what makes it different. Is it even a real degree? One may even wonder if it is the right degree for them?

An honorary degree is indeed a real degree. However, it is of course, different from a simple bachelor’s degree. How different are the two and which one should you prefer are questions that need answering?

If you have any of these perplexing questions brewing, rest assured for they will be addressed as you read on. 

What is an honorary degree?

An honorary degree is an additional qualification that builds on your undergraduate education by requiring you to complete a self-directed research project as well as discipline or research-focused coursework. 

While a Bachelor’s degree may be typically completed within three years if you are a full-time student, an honorary Bachelor’s degree will often take four years or more to complete. You can often differentiate an honors degree through the use of the word “Honors” or “Hons” in the qualification title.

An honorary degree can mean different things depending on where you are studying. 

Taking Canada as an example, most of the Master’s programs would require a four-year honorary degree as a prerequisite. In other countries, however, the difference between a simple degree and an honorary one may be minor. The variances could be in the workload, difficulty level, and the nature of final-year projects. 

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Are There Any Benefits?

Their curriculum is usually designed to be of a higher difficulty than that of a conventional undergraduate degree program. Due to this distinction, completing an honors project can give you an edge when entering the professional world or pursuing further studies. 

It is also believed that honorary degrees can allow an individual to develop a diverse skillset that may not be always possible to develop under a regular undergraduate program. The ability to critically analyze issues and devise solutions lends itself to both professional and research professions.

It is an excellent academic achievement that will serve you well when applying for a Master’s degree or Ph.D. program as you can expand upon the research you undertook as an undergraduate. 

Who should pursue it?

There is no hard-and-fast rule as to who can pursue an honorary degree. It all boils down to one’s personal objectives. 

For example, if you are someone looking forward to pursuing further education or building a career in research and academia, then an honorary degree program may serve you well. However, if your sole focus is not academics, maybe because you want to work part-time or engage in co-curricular activities, a standard Bachelor’s degree may be the best option.

It is also important to consider if the difference between an honorary degree and a regular one is even that big at your institution. If the distinction is minimal, choosing one or the other will not matter much.

The Takeaway

An honorary degree is prestigious for sure. However, it may not always be in line with personal goals. Hence, being mindful of your needs can be helpful when making such a decision.

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