Welcome to the Single Honours (SH) degree web page (updated Sept 4 2012).
* Information for 2nd Year Single Honours students
Single Honours students must complete modules GY201 and GY202 and GY206 (Field Course: 5 credits) and must take five optional modules in semester one and four optional modules in semester two.
Details of the fieldtrip for Geography Single Honours students will be provided by the fieldtrip leaders at the start of semester one. They will also provide details about how the fieldtrip will be assessed.
Note: Single Honours students can take ten credits (five in each semester), in other subjects. Students wishing to take a module in other Department(s) are required to have the permission of both the Head of Geography and the Head of the other Department(s) before registration.
* Information for 3rd Year Single Honours students
Third Year Single Honours students must complete GY305 (Approaches to Human Geography, 5 credits) and GY306 (Literature Review and Thesis Presentation, 5 credits) in semester one, plus four optional modules. In semester two, they take GY303 (Thesis, 10 credits) and another four optional modules. Further details on modules 305, 306 and 303 are provided at the beginning of semester one.
Note: Single Honours students can substitute one module from another Department each semester for an optional thematic module (subject to the approval of both Departments).
* Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Single Honours:
Is A Single Honours Degree Less Valuable Than A Joint Honours Degree?
No. Double and Single Honours both result in the same qualification – i.e. a Batchelor in Arts or B.A. degree.
Is A Single Honours Degree More Valuable Than A Joint Honours Degree?
No, for the same reasons as the previous question. However, depending upon what you want to do after you graduate, there may be some advantages in doing either a Single or Double Honours degree (see below).
Do Single Honours Students Do Less Work / More work?
No. The workload in the Double and Single Honours programmes should be the same. The main difference is that Double Honours Students do 30 credits in each of two subjects in each of their second and third years, whereas Single Honours Students do 60 credits in Geography each year.
Do Single Honours Students Just Do Twice As Many Geography Modules?
No, not quite. At present Second Year Double Honours students do 2 compulsory 5-credit Methods Modules (one in each semester) and 4 optional 5-credit thematic modules (from a choice of 10 or 12 alternatives). Single Honours students do the same, plus 4 additional optional 5-credit modules, and a week-long fieldtrip that counts for 10 credits. In Third Year, Double Honours Students do 4 optional 5-credit modules, plus tutorials (worth 5 credits) and a research project (5 credits), whereas Single Honours students do 8 optional modules plus tutorials (5 credits), plus a research thesis worth 15 credits in total. The specific details may change from year to year, but a basic principle is that Single
Honours students are given a better grounding in fieldwork and research methods, which should stand to their advantage if they wish to continue in Geography at postgraduate level.
Do Single Honours Students Need To Give Up Their Other Subject(s) Completely?
No. Single Honours students may take 5 or 10 credits each year in another subject (or subjects) in lieu of 1 or 2 of the 5-credit thematic modules, subject to approval of the Heads of both Departments. You could therefore retain an interest in aspects of another subject whilst specialising in Geography.
What Are The Advantages Of Doing Single Honours?
1. If you really like Geography then Single Honours allows you to specialise in Geography without having to struggle with a second subject that you may not like.
2. Single Honours provides a better understanding of the whole of Geography rather than just selected aspects.
3. As mentioned above, Single Honours provides a better training in the sorts of skills you should find useful at postgraduate level. (However, Single Honours students are not treated preferentially when applying for postgraduate courses – all students are treated on their own merits).
4. The Single Honours group is small (typically no more than 20), so there is a greater likelihood of developing an ‘esprit de corps’ with other students with similar interests who might otherwise remain unknown in a large class.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Doing Single Honours?
1. If you are planning a career in teaching, there are advantages to having a degree in two teaching subjects. (However, single subject degrees are the norm in other universities, and even in Maynooth many Double Honours students do degrees in non-teaching subjects). If this is a consideration, you should possibly consider doing a Major-Minor degree (for which there is a separate FAQ sheet).
2. Single Honours students have to select 8 thematic modules each year, whereas Double Honours students only have to select 4 from the same ‘menu’ – Double Honours students therefore have more choice. (However, students often discover that they like a module they previously knew nothing about only after they have been ‘forced’ to do it, so sometimes a lack of choice can be a good thing. Also, whilst Single Honours students have less choice, they do still have a good choice).
Do Employers Have A Preference For Single Or Double Honours Students?
No, not that we are aware of (with the possible exception of secondary teaching – see above). Indeed, some employers may have a preference for students who are more specialised, but this would not be a major reason to favour Single Honours.
Can Everyone Do Single Honours?
No. Places on the Single Honours programme are limited and are allocated on a competitive basis. As a general rule, students need to get a mark of 55 or more in First Arts Geography, although students with a lower mark may be accepted if there are extenuating circumstances. If demand is high, the required mark could be even higher.
How Do I Apply For Single Honours?
You do not need to do anything at present. If you get more than 55 per cent in First Year Geography, we will write to you at your home address in the summer to invite you to do either Single Honours or (if available) a Major-Minor degree. If you do not wish the letter to go to your home address (e.g. if you will be abroad), you should inform the Geography Office.
Is There Anyone I Can Discuss This With Further?
Yes. Alistair Fraser currently looks after the Single Honours Programme and is available for consultation during his office hours during term. Outside of term time, you should email him on alistair.fraser at nuim.ie