OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Friday, January 23


Is anyone currently doing an honours thesis? What's it like?


  1. I am in Environment currently completing a geography honours thesis. And from experience, really think on it and if it's something you really want to do. It is quite a lot of work, especially if you are in a sciencey program. The plus side is you develop a friendship with your advisor in a sense that they are a good reference for you when they graduate, and if you are going to grad school than this and your thesis will become handy. The downside is you do spend a lot of time on your computer, looking at journal articles and interpreting data. Just some things to think about, whatever you decide, goodluck!

  2. If you want to go into grad school, think about it, if not, don't do it. It is a lot of work on your own, no group work, no other students doing the same project, and not much supervision. You need to set deadlines with your supervisor and meet them. The worst thing you can do is procrastinate. At the start you are sitting there, finally chosen a project thinking "I have 8 months (or 12 if you have a co-op term in there) to do this, lets go party!" NO, this is going to fuck you over. Assume that over the co-op term you will get no work done, so if you do any work, its bonus. Treat it like any other course. Students are supposed to put in at least 40 hours a week into school. 5 courses means 8 hours a week per class, minimum. take two or three nights a week, and focus on the thesis. you will be surprised how much you get done. I procrastinated and now I have 3 weeks to do my analysis and write 50 pages so I can give it to my prof for a review and still have time to fix the mistakes before the final due date.

    Overall, the thesis is easy, if you treat it like a normal course. If you procrastinate, like I did, it will feel like the worst course you could ever take.

    Have weekly goals, example:

    after the first week you will have set a good topic and know what data you will look for (these parts are harder than they seem)

    Second week read literature, and save the files, making notes on each one as you go

    Third week write the literature review part of the proposal

    Fourth week write the rest of the proposal

    Fifth week take off while your supervisor reviews the proposal

    6th find the data, or figure out how to collect it

    7th week have all the data ready to go

    8th week run the analysis

    9th week determine what the results mean

    10th week make detailed notes on the analysis and results

    11th week show notes to your supervisor

    12th week make detailed notes on what you want to talk about for the first half of the paper

    13th week make detailed notes on the second half.

    These notes will be taken during exams, so its not too hard, and doesn't require much memorization. Make sure they have each section you need to write, and what topics are going into each section. You should be making notes where each point will turn into half a paragraph. So don't say simply "methods" say "methods" with a bunch of sub points going into detail of the methods you use.

    week 14 until the end of the term you can slack. Don't stop writing, take on the easy parts like the introduction so you don't get out of habit.

    Term 2 week 1-4 take a quarter of the notes and write them. If your notes are good, you wont have issues.

    week 5 spend editing

    week 6 take off while your supervisor reviews the paper.

    week 7 start more edits even if you don't have feedback, but in a separate file, in case they are wrong.

    week 8-9 you should have feedback, fix the mistakes, redo things you need to

    Depending on when its due you may have time for one more quick feedback/edit