A Bachelor of Arts Honors degree provides outstanding students a challenging and rewarding research-intensive learning experience within a specialized subject. Honors degrees offer a greater depth of engagement within a discipline than is provided in the BA Program, and demand a higher standard of performance.
Admission to BA Honors is competitive and presentation of minimum average requirements and prerequisites does not guarantee admission. The Faculty reviews the number of spaces in all majors annually to ensure appropriate resources are available to students in each major. Enrolment in each major is limited.
Students admitted directly from High School begin the program in the Foundation Year. It is recommended that students complete a minimum of 24 units in the Foundation Year, including courses listed in the Specific Admission Requirements to BA Honors Majors chart. Students should take a range of options in the Foundation Year.
Students in the Foundation Year must submit an internal application for their selected major by March 1 provided they will have completed a minimum of 24 units by the end of Winter term. While the minimum GPA to remain in the BA Honors program is 3.0, selection into the major(s) is a competitive process. Students must meet the GPA and course requirements in the Specific Admission Requirements to BA Honors Majors chart.
Students are able to transfer directly into their major of choice from other programs or institutions provided they also meet the applicable admission requirements. Transfer students who meet the AGPA but do not meet the minimum 24 units will be placed into the Foundation Year.
Students who are not selected into a major by the time they have completed 60 units will be transferred to the BA program, provided they meet admission requirements.
See the Faculty of Arts Honors website for further information and links to detailed department information.
Students interested in more than one discipline may wish to consider the Combined Honors program in which two majors are declared. All normal admission, promotion and graduation requirements apply. This option is available for most majors in the Faculty of Arts.
The BA Honors degree is a program which normally requires a minimum of 120 units (some departments may require more) of which
- a minimum of 63 units must be in courses offered by the Faculty of Arts;
- a minimum of 60 units must be in courses taken at the University of Alberta;
- a minimum of 30 units must be completed while registered in the honors degree program;
- a minimum of half the courses required in the major discipline, including any honors thesis, paper or project, must be completed with courses offered by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta.
Course Load Requirements:
Unless otherwise noted in the BA Honors Major Requirements, there is no minimum course load requirement for the BA Honors program each year; however, all degree requirements must be completed within six academic years of admission to and initial registration in the program.
Note: The course load required for major scholarships and awards is generally 30 units (24 units for selected Faculty of Arts awards) in any given Fall/Winter term. Students who complete less than 30 units in any given Fall/Winter term may disqualify themselves from scholarship/award competition.
The BA Honors degree requires the successful completion of 120 units (or more if specified by the department). Students are encouraged to discuss their course selections with their Department advisors every year.
Common Requirements for all Honors Programs:
Junior English (ENGL)/Writing Studies (WRS) (3 units)
3 units in 100-level ENGL (except ENGL 150 )
3 units in 100-level WRS
Students who have been granted advanced placement in English may substitute any 3 units at the 200-level or higher in ENGL for the Common Requirement.
One Language Other than English (LOE) (6 units)
The Common Requirement of a Language other than English consists of 6 units at the 100-level or above in one LOE.
Language courses which do not offer as their goal the acquisition of a Language other than English, e.g., those dealing with literature in translation, will not fulfill the LOE requirement. Consult Course Listings, for full course descriptions.
The LOE requirement will be waived for students who have:
- successfully completed a Language Other than English at the 30-level (or equivalent), or
- been required to take an English Language Proficiency test for admission
Students must satisfy departmental placement requirements for any Language Other than English or credit will be withheld.
6 units from Non-Arts Discipline(s)
Students must complete 6 units in courses offered by Faculties other than Arts. The courses can be in different disciplines, and/or from different Faculties. Some courses offered by other Faculties and programs are classified as “Arts” Courses for the purpose of the program and do not meet this requirement:
No more than 48 units at the junior level are permitted for credit in the program.
Non-Arts or Non-Science Courses:
A maximum of 21 units in non-Arts or non-Science courses may be taken outside the Faculties of Arts or Science, as long as the courses do not duplicate courses already offered by these two Faculties.
Requirements in the Major Subject:
An Honors program in a single discipline will normally require a minimum of 48 units in the major subject, as defined by the Department. A minimum of 6 units must be at the 400-level; however, some departments may require more. Normally, no more than 60 units may be presented in the major subject unless otherwise specified by the Department. Where a maximum has been specified, it may not be exceeded (i.e., additional courses in the subject of concentration may not be taken as options). Courses in the major subject(s) or voluntary minor(s) that meet Common Requirements must also be counted toward the major subject(s) or minor(s).
Requirements in Combined Honors:
For Combined Honors programs, the minimum number of courses in each subject of concentration will be decided through consultation with the Departments concerned in planning the total program; however, a minimum of 36 units at the junior and senior level in each discipline will be required in all Combined Honors programs. At least 30 units in each discipline must be at the senior level. More than this may be required in some disciplines to meet specific program requirements. For further information on the requirements of a particular program, see the appropriate Department Calendar statement in BA Honors Major Requirements. Students should be aware that a Combined Honors program may not qualify them for direct admission to a graduate program in one of the disciplines. Further coursework in one of the disciplines may be required for Graduate Studies.
Some departments require the completion of an Honors Essay in addition to specific course requirements. In the case of Combined Honors programs, students may be required to complete an Honors Essay in one or both disciplines, depending on specific departmental requirements. Where both departments require an Honors Essay, students will complete one for each department or may, on special request, be permitted to write a Combined Essay INT D 520 (6 units) which will meet the requirements of both departments. Students should refer to the specific department entries in BA Honors Major Requirements to determine which departments offer combined honors programs and require an Honors Essay. Where a Combined Essay is permitted, this will be noted in the Department Calendar entry, and in such cases the following conditions will apply:
- A combined essay is applicable only to students in combined honors programs.
- It is applicable only when both departments require an essay and only when both departments agree to a combined essay.
- The combined essay INT D 520 (6 units) will meet the essay requirements of both departments.
- The combined essay will be supervised by, and graded jointly by, the cooperating departments; a single final grade will be submitted.
- The essay will address the subject matter in both departments equally and in a way that emphasizes the interaction between the two disciplines.
- Since students are required to submit proposals to both Department advisors for review and approval, and registration has to be approved by the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Student Services Office, students must apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 01 for registration in INT D 520 .
BA Honors Major Requirements
Students in BA Honors programs that do not require a minor may declare a minor if they wish. Declaration of a minor in these programs is strictly voluntary; however, when a student chooses to declare a minor they must meet the requirements for that minor as specified in the BA Minor Requirements . Students should be aware that it may not be practical to declare a minor in all Honors programs, since completion of a voluntary minor will not replace existing requirements for those programs.
Promotion and Graduation
- Promotion Requirements (Foundation Year to Year 2): Promotion from the Foundation Year to the second year of the program requires students to submit an internal application form to select their Major(s). Promotion to Year 2 requires a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on all courses taken during the Fall/Winter (minimum 24 units). Promotion requirements for individual programs or departments may exceed the Faculty minimum. Where an individual department’s requirements vary from the Faculty minimum, this is specified in the Specific Admission Requirements to BA Honors Majors chart.
- Students will remain in the Foundation Year until they have completed a minimum of 24 units to a maximum of 60 units.
- Students with a GPA between 2.7 and 2.9 inclusive on Fall/Winter terms in their Foundation Year are placed on academic warning. Only one year (Fall/Winter) of attendance on academic warning will be permitted.
- Students with a GPA lower than 2.7 may not continue in Honors but may transfer to another program in the Faculty if they meet the requirements for that program.
- Promotion Requirements (Year 2 – 4): Promotion from year to year requires a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on all courses taken during the Fall/Winter. Promotion requirements for individual programs or departments may exceed the Faculty minimum. Where an individual department’s requirements vary from the Faculty minimum, this will be specified in each individual department entry in BA Honors Major Requirements. Students must also meet promotion requirements as outlined in individual department entries during their final year.
- Students who do not meet the promotion requirements may not continue in Honors but may transfer to another program in the Faculty if they meet the requirements for that program.
- Graduation Requirements: In order to graduate from the BA Honors, students must have:
- 120 units successfully completed, which satisfy the program requirements
- Graduation GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 units completed at the University of Alberta.
- 3.3 on all courses applied to the major completed at the University of Alberta.
- Present good academic standing and meet all promotion requirements outlined in (2) above.
- Graduation requirements for individual programs or departments may exceed the Faculty minimum. Where an individual department’s requirements vary from the Faculty minimum, this will be specified in each individual department entry in BA Honors Major Requirements.
- Graduation with First-Class Honors: Departments shall choose one of the following options as their policy for determining First-Class Honors. (Refer to Departmental entries the BA Honors Major Requirements)
- A minimum average of 3.7 on all senior-level courses in the major completed at the University of Alberta, and an average of at least 3.5 on all courses in the last 30 units completed at the University of Alberta.
- A minimum average of 3.7 on all courses in the two final years in the major and an average of at least 3.5 in all courses in the two final years. The two final years shall be defined as the last 60 units.
In the calculation for the Graduation GPA and the Graduation with First-Class Honors GPA:
- Courses with non-numeric grades (CR/NC) may be included in the credit count(s), but not in the calculation of the average.
- Only courses used to meet specific degree requirements will be used in the calculation; failed courses and courses that are considered extra to degree are not included.
- If it is necessary to go back further than the last two Fall/Winter terms to reach the minimum 60 units or 30 units as required above, the full previous term will be included (not breaking up a term) until the minimum is reached.
- Typically only courses that are taken at the University of Alberta are used in the calculation of the Graduate GPA and/or the major course GPA; however, in some circumstances, the Faculty may choose to include courses/grades from outside of the University of Alberta, at its discretion
- Students who are not recommended for graduation with Honors at the end of their fourth year (i.e., after successfully completing 120 units) may be granted the BA degree if they have successfully completed 120 units including the Common Requirements and the major requirements for the BA [see Bachelor of Arts ]. In no case shall more than 60 units in the major subject be counted as part of the required 120 units. Students deficient in any respect may be required to take one or more courses.