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Nicolas
2005-Nov-07, 06:00 PM
I am currently folllowing an MSc in Aerospace engineering. Because I had rather good results in my Ba, I am elected to follow an Honour(s) Track. They're not really consistent with the s :).

Anyway, this Honours Track is a 30 study points (1 year = 60 study points) extra which must be completed during your MSc. In other words, you must push 150 study points in 2 years (normally 120 points). You are allowed to take a few months extra, but in theory it is meant to be completed within the 2 years of the MSc.

I have not decided yet whether I will do this Honours Track. IN fact I should have decided that in September, but my faculty and its infinite efficiency have organised the first information about the honours track whatsoever today...

I feel this could be a nice extra on my CV, and give more depth to my study. It could also be a nice preparation for a PhD. I'm not sure at all that I will do a PhD though.

On the other hand, we must be realistic: it's not like I don't have any degree without that honours track. I will still have an MSc in the top study of the Netherlands. Other considerations: after 4 years, I start to really hate the examinations and tasks. I'm not looking forward to 30 extra points in exams and tasks... Plus the MSc is heavy enough as is. Thanks to the infinite efficiency of the faculty again, it is virtually impossible to fit your lectures, internship and thesis in 2 years. Some extra months must be taken into account already. And during these years, I'll know what to do with my time. I could work harder, but I don't feel a lot like doing so :eh: . I'd rather spend the "free" time for my hobbies and the S.O. Again, I'm still doing a full blown MSc so it's not like I'm lazy. It's just that I hate the exams and don't feel like working even more for my study.

But of course, there's that special note "honours track" on the diploma if I would do it...

Any comments, tips, info? Does anyone have experience with something comparable to the Honours Track from any perspective?

Swift
2005-Nov-07, 07:50 PM
I don't really have any experience with the Honours Track; I don't recall a University in the United States with a similar program. I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect a little bit of time for hobbies and your life outside of the University - so what if you get your degree but you also fry your brain.

I think the question is, what will it buy you that the regular MSc does not. I would guess that if you are going on to a Ph.D., unless it makes a difference as to what Ph.D. program you can get into, that the Honours Track doesn't get you anything. In my experience, people pay the most attention to your most recent (highest) degree. If you are not going for a Ph.D., what do you want to do with your MSs: industry, teach, academic research.... ? Again, if you were going for a job with Airbus, for example, would it make a difference? I don't know, but maybe there are people around you can ask.

Good luck with all of that.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-07, 08:44 PM
I think the important questions are:

1) would that 'Honours Track' notation get you more money or a better job (i.e, one you want, as opposed to one you have to take, just to eat)

2) would it imbue you with any serious degree of satisfaction to have accomplished it, in spite of faculty ham-handedness?

Of the two, *I* think the second is more important

----------------------------

Never trust the faculty - they're always trying to change your mind (My father, physics/Mathematics/Astronomy professor)

Taks
2005-Nov-08, 12:27 AM
these guys are correct... does the honors thing provide any greater benefit(s) for the extra effort? the benefits could be pay, position, satisfaction, etc.

just a couple notes that may or may not apply to you:

1. with an MS degree in the states, grade point average is almost unnecessary. just the fact that you had an MS means you were accepted and met the minimum requirements, which is most certainly a B+ average or better. in other words, the MS designation automatically qualifies you for a different class of job, usually more related to research or new product development.

2. with a PhD degree in the states, nobody cares about anything else. the requirements for all but the degree factories online are enough to justify this consideration (3.5 GPA or cum laude, qualifier exam, dissertation and defense etc.). the PhD will also nearly guarantee a research related position at any company (i'm speaking in terms of science or engineering) as well as senior level status which has perks... :)

taks

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-08, 12:54 AM
One thing to keep in mind is that you are competing with a lot of other MS students, whether you go into industry or get a PhD. Doing something to set yourself apart from them may be very useful in both cases, but especially if you try to get a PhD.

Fram
2005-Nov-08, 08:50 AM
I would certainly try to know if the Honours track is beneficial for your chances of getting a PhD (I mean being allowed to go for one). If that is the case, then it may be worth the extra effort.
Otherwise, if you could learn from previous Honours Trackers what they did it for and what they have got out of it, that would be interesting as well. Perhaps it gives you first choice for some position at universities or research institutes that you would dearly love?
Apart from all that, I can thoroughly understand that there comes a time when you don't want to do any more studying in a week and need time for your life (and the BAUT).

Nicolas
2005-Nov-08, 12:00 PM
The Honours track thing is only 3 years old. There's one student who graduated with a honours track.

As far as PhD chances are concerned, I would have to ask indeed. Again, I'm completely undetermined whether I even want to do a PhD.

Concerning getting a job and payment: I don't think it matters for payment directly. If you're competing with other students for a job, the one with honours track will have an advantage for the best jobs. That way, it might be indirectly linked to your payment for your first job. But in the long run, it doesn't matter I think.

Personal satisfaction: some feeling of safety of having a high degree, but I think the pride of making the Honours track would be smaller than the stress and sacrifices. Let me put it this way: reducing the feeling of "oh no I don't know where to begin with all this work" a bit, and being able to spend some more time for hobbies and the S.O would make both me and her more happy than getting the Honours track. Certainly for the next 2 years. And as I think it doesn't really matter for a job, it won't matter for our happiness afterwards. I'm letting the PhD thing out of the picture here.

So I wouldn't do it for the satisfaction except for the feeling of safety. I don't know whether it matters for PhD chances. I don't think it really matters for most jobs. After all, I still am allowed to do a honours track which means I had good grades (cum laude in my first year but I think I didn't make cum laude over the whole Bachelor. I certainly did score higher than 7.5/10 in average though.) It can matter to get the best internships, but I have multiple personal criteria for internships, some of which won't be easier to achieve with an honours track.

I think I'll make an appointment with the department "leader" next week and discuss the subject. Problem is that he has a "fixed honours track" in mind, which in fact was never the goal of the honours track... So I doubt whether he'll approve my proposition (which is a possibbility within the honours track in theory) of getting the 24 free study points as a project within my thesis. That would make my thesis period a bit longer, but it would save me from more exams and practicals, while it gives more depth to my thesis. DOing extra things for my thesis feels OK to me, as it is "just" working a bit longer and deeper on the same subject. I'll ask him about the PhD thing as well. Other problem with PhD's here is that many are (were at least) without any payment...

I just scored a 9/10 on his course, so maybe he's a bit willing now :D.

Thanks for your thoughts on the subject. I'll let you know how the talk with my prof. went!

Nicolas
2005-Nov-08, 11:08 PM
Another consideration:

I'm not looking for ways to convince my future company of my will to dedicate my life to my career. I'm not somebody who will live for his job. I will work for my living. Of course that does not mean I won't be good at my job or won't work hard! It's just that I want a life outside of my job, just like I want a life outside of my study. So I won't need the honours track as a proof of my dedication. I'll use my grades and nominal study time to show I'm a dedicated worker within the boundaries of my duty.

Candy
2005-Nov-09, 01:28 AM
Good Luck, Nicolas, in which ever direction you choose! :)