Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

BNRS Honours Program

Is the Bachelor of Natural Resource Science Honours Program for me?

The Honours program is for students with a strong academic standing and an interest in pursuing a career in research following their undergraduate program. This interest often prompts students to continue their education through a Master's degree. The Honours program is designed to give students experience at conducting a scientific investigation and, at the same time, it provides a sense of what may be expected if they continue their education in the field of research.

Upon graduation, the student receives a BNRS Honours degree. This is noted on both the transcripts and the actual degree certificate. The student's thesis is hardbound, and a copy is placed in the TRU library.

What does the Honours program entail?

Students in the BNRS Honours Program do not write a graduating essay (NRSC 4230) during their final year. Instead, they register in the following two courses:

  • NRSC 4980 - Honours Seminar (2 credits, fall term only)
  • NRSC 4990 - Honours Thesis (6 credits, spanned over fall and winter terms)

Being in the Honours program usually results in students omitting the elective in their last year. The minimum number of credits needed to graduate from the BNRS Honours Program is 128, compared to the 126 required for the mainstream BNRS degree.

What are the requirements for acceptance into the Honours program?

To qualify for the Honours program, you must have accumulated at least a 3.5 GPA over the first three years (six semesters) of your undergraduate program, with no less than a GPA of 3.33 in your last two semesters. You also must identify a supervisor for your thesis research. The supervisor may be any of the full-time lecturing faculty in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, or under special situations, a research scientist from outside the department (e.g., government). Please note that faculty members are not required to take on honours students, and there also is a limit to the number of students each faculty member may supervise. Thus, students possessing the GPA entrance requirements are not guaranteed entry to the Honours Program. The onus is on the student to make arrangements for a thesis supervisor.

Thesis topics should fall within the professional interests and expertise of a faculty member. Costs associated with conducting the research are the responsibility of the supervisor and/or the student, not the department.

Requests to have scientists from outside the department act as the supervisor are handled on a case-by-case basis; normally the proposed supervisor will be required to apply to the department for authorization to supervise the student. Application forms for external supervisors are available through the secretary for the Department of Natural Resource Sciences.

Graduation from the Honours program requires four things: (1) successful completion of both NRSC 4980 and NRSC 4990, (2) submission of an acceptable final copy of the thesis, (3) a graduating cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, and (4) completion of all other courses and credits normally associated with the Bachelor of Natural Resource Science program (except NRSC 4230).

What exactly is a thesis?

A thesis represents a piece of individual, original research that contributes to scientific knowledge. Working with their supervisor, the student must:

  • Design and conduct an individual research project in the field of natural resource sciences; this will involve the construction of hypotheses and questions, and the collection and analysis of appropriate data.
  • Present the research in the form of a written thesis.
  • Make an oral presentation of the study (the defence), normally at the end of the winter semester.

Note: in some exceptional circumstances a student may obtain permission to incorporate data collected in previous projects into their thesis; however, the student must be able to demonstrate that he/she has taken the lead role in the entire scientific investigation: hypothesis/problem identification, research design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, etc. Discuss this with your potential supervisor.

What does the honours seminar course involve?

The Honours seminar course works as a forum for discussion on scientific issues pertaining to the natural resource sciences. Readings and topics for the discussions will vary, depending on the interests of the honours students and the instructor. The Honours seminar also allows you to obtain feedback on your research from other students and the instructor.

When and how do I apply?

An application for admission into the Honours Program normally is made by the student at the completion of the third year of study. This will be in April for non-co-op students, and December for co-op students. You must have your proposed supervisor sign the application before you submit it to the Department. The decision on your application will be rendered after all of your grades for the final Year 3 semester have been tabulated.

For more information, contact the Honours Program Coordinator in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences.