What’s it like to do Honours?

Alana Leabeater HEA

Written by Alana Leabeater, UTS Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science (Honours)

I am researching the women’s AFL league and the influence of contextual factors on running movements in the sport. As a relatively new competition, the AFLW has so much room for research and I wanted to contribute to a better understanding of the sport for coaches and players.

I’ve always been passionate about women’s sport and interested in team sport game demands, and the opportunity to study the AFLW came at the right time (thanks to Distinguished Professor Aaron Coutts and Dr Anthea Clarke).

Alana_Women's Sport

After my undergraduate degrees, I felt like I wanted to further develop my writing skills and gain some skills in research, which you don’t necessarily get a chance to do as an undergrad. As well, I had some discussions with various mentors, who encouraged me to go down the path of research as a way to get more experience and contacts in high-performance sport, with a view to potentially doing a PhD later.

The Honours program requires a lot of independent work and as such, needs plenty of self-motivation to maintain focus and get the work done.

However, my main supervisor and my co-supervisors have been very forthcoming in offering support and assistance, which is especially helpful when I have questions or require feedback.

The other main difference from undergraduate study would be that, as I chose my project area, I’m more invested and interested in it because it’s important to me, whereas in an undergrad degree, you can’t always choose the areas of study, which means sometimes they can be less engaging or relevant to you.

At the end of my Honours, I would like to have a solid grasp of research skills, especially working with data collection, analysis and statistical processes. Ideally, I would be able to get part of my thesis published and it could be a useful article for coaches and pathway athletes looking to move up to the AFLW.


If you’re thinking about doing Honours, definitely weigh up the pros and cons of Honours, and whether you’re a self-motivated and disciplined person that will enjoy the independent learning and the process of writing. You should also think about what the goal of further study is and how it will fit in with your career plan compared to, say, further work experience in the industry or doing a Masters.

I’ve been told multiple times that this will be the most challenging year of study I’ve ever faced, so I’m bracing myself for the critical feedback, the waves of deadlines and the stress of writing 25,000 words by November!

Find out more about studying sport and exercise at UTS

Read more: The road to research

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