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Therese Mccarthy


Therese McCarthy

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History

1. What Honours program did you undertake, and what did you get up to during the Honours year?

I studied Honours in History full time. The first semester of study comprised of a combination of both coursework and research for my thesis. All students were required to take the Common Course on historical theory and methodology, as well as to choose a Special Subject on a certain area of history. In addition to this, I started working on my thesis by deciding on topics and beginning research.

During second semester, I worked exclusively on researching and writing my 15,000 word thesis. This involved working, with the assistance of my academic supervisor, to produce the thesis by the end of October!

2. Why did you decide to study Honours?

I chose to study Honours because I love History. After completing a History major in my Bachelor of Arts, I felt I would enjoy doing more challenging study whilst expanding my historical knowledge and skills. I also considered the fact that studying Honours could give me more options and choice, whether that be in regards to employment or further study.

3. How did you find it?

Honours was challenging in that it was quite an intense workload, and most of it was self-directed. Students were expected to take responsibility for staying on top of their study commitments. However as you got to choose an area of study that interested you, it motivated you to push yourself. I liked the fact that there was a much smaller number of people studying the program. This meant that Honours had a better sense of the group than in large undergraduate courses, and students were able to connect with and support each other.

4. What was your thesis topic and why did you choose this?

My thesis topic revolved around researching the experiences of deserted wives in Colonial South Australia during the period 1850-1900. Specifically, I investigated how they coped with the social framework within which they lived. I chose this topic because of my interest in social and Australian history. Furthermore, South Australian history is a topic which is particularly accessible to study for Honours, due to readily available resources. The topic of deserted women was brought to my attention while doing other research. Whilst related to wider historical issues, but not often linked to it, the plight of such women intrigued me.

5. Do you believe that studying Honours is rewarding? Why?

Yes, I do believe that Honours is rewarding. Studying Honours provides an opportunity for students who are interested in a particular topic or discipline area to challenge themselves by taking it further. It is also a worthwhile experience because it allows students to meet people with shared interests and to also get a better sense of the reality of their discipline. Of course, the sense of satisfaction when your studies and research is completed is immensely rewarding.

6. What do you hope to do now that you've completed your Honours study?

I still have one year of my Law degree to complete. Once my studies are finished, I would like to work in an area which allows me to use the skills I've gained from both programs. The advantage of Honours is that it allowed me to develop skills which will be useful in a number of areas. This will be beneficial to me whether I decide to work within the discipline of History for organisations such as Museums or public history organisations, or whether I apply them more generally to other jobs.

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