Honours degree has several definitions in the context different education system and degree. But, normally honours (Hons) degree refers to a different of the undergraduate bachelor's degree covering a more volume of material or a higher standard of study, or both, rather than an "ordinary", "general" or "pass" bachelor's degree. Honours degrees are occasionally specified by "Hons" after the degree abbreviation, with various punctuation rendering to local practice, e.g. "BScIT (Hons), "BA (Hons)", "B.A., Hons", etc.
Examples of honours degree include the bachelor's degree with honours in the United Kingdom, the United States, India and Hong Kong; the honours bachelor's degree in Ireland; the bachelor with honours and bachelor honours degree in New Zealand; the bachelor with honours and honours bachelor's degree in Canada and the bachelor honours degree in Australia. In South Africa the bachelor honours degree is a postgraduate degree that follows on from the completion of a bachelor's degree. The undergraduate master of arts degree awarded by the ancient universities of Scotland in place of the bachelor of arts may be awarded as an honours or non-honours degree; these are at the same level as equivalent bachelor's degrees. At master's level, the integrated master's degrees in British universities, which students enter at the same level as bachelor's degrees, are also honours degrees.
Many universities and colleges offer both honours and non-honours bachelor's degrees. In most countries where honours degrees are granted, they imply a higher level of achievement than a non-honours degree. In some countries (e.g. Australia), an honours degree may also involve a longer period of study than a non-honours degree. Students who complete all the requirements for a non-honours bachelor's degree but do not receive sufficient merit to be awarded an honours degree would normally be awarded a non-honours degree (sometimes known as a "pass", "general" or "ordinary" degree), although students who do not complete the requirements for an integrated master's honours degree may receive a bachelor's honours degree. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, almost all bachelor's degrees are awarded as honours degrees; in contrast, honours degrees are rarely awarded in the United States.
The current British undergraduate degree classification system, with its division into first, upper and lower second, and third class honours, was developed in 1918 to distinguish between students on the basis of their academic achievement.The concept of an "honours" degree goes back a lot further than this, however, with there being examinations for honours in the original regulations of the University of London in 1839, and Nevil Maskelyne being recorded as taking a bachelor's degree with honours at Cambridge in 1754. Other countries influenced by this system include Australia, Brunei, Canada, New Zealand, Malta, Singapore, South Africa and Hong Kong.
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