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Honours Procedures


This document consolidates a comprehensive set of principles and guidelines relating to Honours programs in the Faculty of Arts.
  • Faculty of Arts on all campuses
  • all honours programs

Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Roles and responsibilities

3. Academic requirements of the Honours course

4. Applications and admission

5. Enrolment and period of candidature

6. Enrolment administration

7. Results and assessment

8. Grievances

9. Quality assurance measures for the maintenance of standards in Honours assessment

10. Guidelines for supervision of Honours Theses (or equivalent*)


1. Introduction

These guidelines apply to the Arts Honours Program which is offered through all of the following approved courses managed by the Faculty of Arts:

  • 0003 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts
  • 3936 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences)
  • 0082 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws
  • 3775 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Communication
  • 3751 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Communication*
  • 0822 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Music
  • 2766 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Performing Arts
  • 4090 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences
  • 4078 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Journalism
  • 4087 The Honours degree of Bachelor of Social Science**

* At Sunway ** At South Africa

1.1 Scope of these guidelines

In accordance with university Statute 6.1.2 – Courses and Degrees and the university Honours Year Programs Policy and the associated Honours Year Programs Procedures, the faculty has responsibility for:

  • making recommendations on course proposals;
  • determining requirements for entry into Honours Programs;
  • providing formal organisational and administrative structures for the Honours Program involving either a co-ordinator or an Honours Course Committee;
  • monitoring the structure and coherence of the Honours course offerings;
  • monitoring the effectiveness of the supervision provided;
  • establishing explicit criteria for the assessment of theses, including definitions of performance at the various grades of Honours;
  • monitoring assessment procedures;
  • ensuring where there are significant and distinct components of the Honours Program, with a start and finish date, that these receive a separate assessment including both a mark and grade;
  • ensuring the individual components within an Honours Program are identified as separate units and allocated points in multiples of six, where possible and appropriate;
  • approving Honours project proposals and the associated supervision.

In effect some of these responsibilities are delegated to schools/departments – these guidelines are intended to make clear the relative responsibilities of schools/departments and the Faculty of Arts.

2. Roles and responsibilities

The Faculty of Arts has overall responsibility for a range of specific aspects of the administration, admission, supervision and assessment for its Honours Programs. Through its Faculty Board, and by appropriate delegation to the Faculty Education Committee, the Faculty Board of Examiners and relevant faculty and School staff, the faculty will ensure appropriate coordination and management of the Honours Program in accordance with university policies and procedures.

The Faculty Board is the primary academic decision-making body of the faculty. It is responsible for all matters relating to studies within the faculty. It has specific responsibility for oversight of all matters relating to the curriculum and teaching of courses as well as research and research training. In the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty Board normally undertakes these responsibilities in relation to academic programs, including the Honours Program, by considering the recommendations of the Faculty of Arts Education Committee.

2.1 Faculty of Arts Education Committee (AEC)

2.1.1 Terms of Reference

1. To oversee the academic programs of the Faculty, in particular,

  • To ensure that all undergraduate programs meet Faculty and University regulation, policies and guidelines;
  • To receive advice from the Postgraduate Coursework and Honours subcommittees on matters relevant to postgraduate coursework and Honours programs;
  • To ensure that all new and existing undergraduate subjects meet Faculty and University policies and guidelines, and to receive, evaluate and recommend for Faculty Board approval all new undergraduate course and subject proposals, major and minor amendments, and deletions;
  • To advise Faculty Board on the imposition of subject quotas; and
  • To oversee a regular process of evaluation for undergraduate and postgraduate coursework courses and subjects.

2. To make recommendations to Faculty Board on all academic matters concerning undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs;

3. To formulate policy on undergraduate and postgraduate coursework teaching and learning and other faculty-wide issues relevant to student learning experiences;

4. To receive advice from the Transition and Student Progress Committee on matters of student academic progress and equity;

5. To oversee any scholarship, funding or prize schemes intended for undergraduate students; and

6. To consider issues referred by the Deans, Associate Deans, Faculty Executive or Faculty Board.

2.2 Faculty Honours Committee

  • To scrutinize new course and unit proposals, and amendments to existing courses and units, and make a recommendation to the Arts Education Committee that they be endorsed. Consultation with the Postgraduate Coursework Committee may be required where necessary.
  • To undertake strategic planning for current and future Honours programs.
  • To ensure that all Honours programs meet University and Faculty policy, guidelines and regulations.
  • To consider issues referred from the Arts Education Committee (AEC) concerning Honours programs and students
  • To advise on academic policy, program development and other issues relevant to Honours programs and students.
  • To facilitate discussion on marketing and promotional strategies for future Honours programs and the overall integrity of Faculty Honours programs.
  • To consider quality assurance of academic programs within the Honours programs.
  • To report Honours matters to the Arts Education Committee (AEC) via representative.

2.3 Faculty Board of Examiners

The Faculty of Arts Board of Examiners is responsible for the approval of final marks and grades in respect of individual students for all undergraduate units taught by the Faculty of Arts, including those at Honours level.

The Board of Examiners has responsibility to monitor the Honours grade distributions across all areas of specialisation over a period of time, and make recommendations to schools and the Faculty Honours and Arts Education Committees that assist in the maintenance of uniform standards both within the course and in relation to other similar courses at comparable institutions.

The Board of Examiners shall receive from Schools recommendations for the Honours marks and grades achieved by all students at the completion of their program. The Board will consider those recommendations on final marks and grades to ensure their comparability and consistency from year to year and shall monitor the moderation processes adopted within each school to ensure best practice.

2.4 Associate Dean (Education)

The Associate Dean Education has overall responsibility for Educational Policy and Planning, and Quality Assurance in relation to Honours, in consultation with the Dean.

2.5 Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor

The Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor is a key academic administrative role in a vital area of Faculty activity which assists with the coordination of Honours programs in schools.


  • Works with Associate Dean (Education) and Associate Dean (Graduate Research) to oversee Honours candidature in the Faculty and to develop and implement Faculty policy on Honours;
  • Attends relevant University level committees and disseminates information on Honours;
  • Chairs the Faculty Honours committee;
  • Communicates necessary administrative, educational and policy information to Honours Coordinators in the Schools;
  • Offers support and oversight in the development of Honours programs and initiatives to Schools;
  • Oversees the administration of Honours scholarships;
  • Attends the Arts Education Committee (AEC) to report on Honours matters;
  • Approves student applications for variations in the terms of their Honours candidature; and
  • Convenes ad hoc working parties on Honours as the need arises.

Reporting: Associate Dean Education

2.6 Heads of Schools

Heads of Schools offering Honours studies in an approved Arts area of specialisation are responsible for providing a formal organisational and administrative structure for the Honours Program, including such matters as:

  • informing students about opportunities for Honours Programs within their disciplines;
  • monitoring the structure, coherence and assessment standards of the Honours Program offerings;
  • consideration of applications, and allocation of projects and supervisors to students;
  • provision of adequate induction (see below);
  • provision of adequate supervision;
  • provision of adequate lab space and specialised resources (where necessary);
  • establishing, publishing and monitoring assessment requirements and procedures;
  • monitoring the assessment of students’ work, including benchmarking with other institutions;
  • ensuring that the expectations and responsibilities of project supervisors and students are clearly communicated.

The Head of School must ensure that these responsibilities are met, including by specific delegation to either the School Honours Coordinator or other appropriate staff in their school.

Provision of induction information, Honours Program Guide and Unit Guides

All schools/centres contributing to the Arts Honours Program should conduct formal induction for all commencing Honours students. In some schools, parts of this induction may be conducted in association with the requirements of a common Honours unit (often a Research Methods unit). An effective induction program will ensure that students are well informed about overall Honours requirements and area of study specific expectations, whether or not they have previously been enrolled as a student at Monash. Induction is considered to be a continuous process which generally starts with contact prior to taking up the offer of a place in the Honours Program and proceeds through arrival, first days/weeks, and generally up to the third month of enrolment.

Prior to the start of their first semester, schools/centres should provide all enrolled Honours students with an Honours Program Guide for the discipline (in printed or electronic form) including all of the following:

  • the aims, nature and benefits of the Honours Program in each of the areas of specialisation in the school;
  • the roles and responsibilities of the School Honours Coordinator, students, supervisors and co-supervisors;
  • school policies and expectations about supervisor–student contact, attendance at seminars etc.;
  • facilities available to Honours students in the school, information to assist the students in using them effectively and any relevant school policies on reasonable usage; and
  • any other discipline-specific information (eg guidelines for field work).

All Honours units, including thesis units, will have a Unit Guide in the university-approved format, showing curriculum, assessment requirements and due dates, provision of feedback, attendance requirements and other relevant details.

The Head of School offering an area of specialisation towards the Arts Honours Program must nominate an Honours Coordinator (henceforth the ‘School Honours Coordinator’) and may also nominate Discipline or Section Coordinators to assist in meeting the school responsibilities related to the offering of an Honours Program. The breakdown of responsibilities may vary a little from School to School, but might typically include the following.

2.7 School Honours Coordinator


  • Represents the School at relevant Faculty-level Honours meetings, including Faculty Honours Committee;
  • Advises the Faculty Honours Convenor of any Honours matters arising in their School;
  • Attends, as appropriate, meetings for the ranking of Faculty Honours Scholarships;
  • Attends Faculty-level Honours promotion events;
  • Offers support and oversight in the development of Honours programs and initiatives within their School;
  • Promotes Honours within their School;
  • Represents Honours at applicable School-level meetings and committees;
  • Administers special consideration, examination and grievances policies as specified in Honours Faculty Procedures;
  • Ensures uniformity of Honours policies and procedures among relevant School Disciplines.
  • Coordinates and gives final approval of applications and allocation of projects/supervisors to students;
  • Welcomes new students, ensuring appropriate supervision and facilities are available, and that a suitable program of study and research has been established;
  • Ensures all students receive appropriate induction and the School Honours Program Guide;
  • Acts as mediator and facilitator for the resolution of conflicts between students and supervisors which have not been resolved at the local level;
  • Ensures that any grievances that arise are dealt with according to the university policy and procedures for the resolution of student grievances;
  • Monitors the curriculum and methods of assessment of the school Honours Program to ensure that it provides an appropriate level of consistency of standard of curriculum and assessment in comparison both to related areas of Arts, and to similar courses at comparable institutions;
  • Monitors supervision arrangements and standards within the School and works to enhance effectiveness of supervision;
  • Seeks nominations from the supervisor for examiners and ensures that the necessary administrative arrangements for examination occur in a timely and efficient manner;
  • Recommends to the School Board of Examiners the marks and grades for each Honours student, in a timely manner.
  • Establishes a school policy on the allocation of examiners and the use of external examiners to assist in benchmarking with similar courses at comparable institutions, in consultation with Head of School;
  • Coordinates benchmarking procedures, as required by Faculty policy.

The School Honours Coordinator is also responsible for communicating the requirements of the Honours Program to all potential students, and the Faculty office. The School Honours Coordinator may also be required to provide advice to the Faculty office from time to time on other aspects of the Honours Program.

Reporting: Faculty Honours Convenor, Head of School

2.8 Discipline/Section/Centre Honours Coordinator


  • Attends relevant Faculty and School level meetings and disseminates Honours information to students and supervisors;
  • Advises the School Honours Coordinator of any Honours matters arising in their Discipline;
  • In conjunction with the School Honours convenor, administers Honours enrolment, thesis supervisions, thesis examinations and thesis marking within their Discipline;
  • Monitors and reviews students’ progress in conjunction with the supervisor. If the student is not making satisfactory progress, the Discipline Honours Coordinator and the supervisor will consult with the student at the earliest possible stage to determine the most appropriate course of action for the student;
  • Promotes Honours within their Discipline;
  • Represents Honours at applicable discipline-level meetings and committees;
  • Administers special consideration, examination and grievances policies as specified in Honours Faculty Principles and Guidelines;
  • Provides advice to Honours students and supervisors within the discipline.

Reporting: School Honours Coordinator, Faculty Honours Convenor

In those Honours programs where there is no School Honours Coordinator/Discipline Structure, the Discipline/Section/Centre Honours Coordinator assumes other responsibilities required of School Honours Coordinators.

3. Academic requirements of the Honours course

3.1 Basic program details

See Handbook entries

3.2 Program objectives

See Handbook entries

3.3 Areas of specialisation (disciplines)

Honours studies may be taken as single honours (a single discipline over one year of full-time study), combined honours (two disciplines over one year of full-time study) or double honours (two disciplines over two years of full-time study).

See Handbook entry and Areas of study pages for list of disciplines and requirements for each discipline.

3.4 Combined honours

Combined honours may be undertaken in certain cases, provided that all honours entry requirements have been met in both disciplines. Note: some disciplines do not support combined programs because of workload constraints, discipline compatibility etc Applications to undertake combined honours must be made with the support of the school honours coordinators of both disciplines. Combined honours normally takes the form of a joint dissertation (50 per cent in each discipline) alongside coursework chosen from the two component disciplines. In cases where other arrangements are proposed, approval must be sought in writing from the Faculty Honours Convenor.

4. Applications and admission

4.1 Admission requirements

Students must have:

  • Completed a Bachelor’s degree, with a major (48 points or the equivalent) in the intended honours discipline , or in an approved cognate major. (Students who have completed an undergraduate degree and who have completed a major in the intended discipline within another qualification, such as an undergraduate Diploma, are also eligible.)
  • Obtained at least a distinction average (70 per cent) in the honours discipline(s), to the value of 24 points at second and third year level, of which at least 18 points must be at third year level.

Some disciplines have additional or special requirements, or recommendations, which can be found on School Honours pages. These include:



4.1.1 Double Bachelor's degree applicants

Applicants who are current candidates in a double degree program and who have not yet completed the requirements for the double qualification must have completed 144 points of study including the normal requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree. The honours entry criteria outlined above applies.

4.1.2 Applicants with Bachelor's degree qualifications from other tertiary institutions

To be eligible for entry applicants who have completed a three year bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) at a higher education institution other than Monash University must:

  • provide a certified copy of their academic transcript;
  • include supporting documentation regarding the content of their course ie. unit outlines;
  • have their course content approved as an acceptable, or equivalent, major by the School in which the applicant will study;
  • have obtained average grades of 70 per cent or better in units in the chosen Honours discipline(s), to the value of 24 points at second and third year levels, 18 points of which must be at third year level.

4.1.3 Repeating units for Honours admission purposes

Students may apply to repeat a unit that they have already passed for Honours purposes because their first attempt at the unit had been adversely affected by personal, financial or health reasons. The application should be made to the Associate Dean (Education), who will consult with the relevant school before making a decision.

A unit repeated for the purposes of improving their result in support of their application for Honours purposes is above degree requirements and must be done on a non-award basis.

4.2 Applying for Honours

Domestic Internal Monash students apply for Honours by submitting the online form on the Arts Future Honours Students website. Once their application has been processed, they will receive either a full or conditional offer, and be directed to the relevant Discipline Honours Coordinators to have their Study Plan determined and approved. The Study Plan, signed by both the student and the Discipline Honours Coordinator, is then submitted to the Arts Honours Administrator. As soon as the student has met the conditions of their offer, and both the offer acceptance and Study Plan have been received, the student will be automatically enrolled.

Domestic External applicants apply for Honours through the eAdmissions website. Once their application has been processed and they have received either a full or conditional offer, they will be directed to the relevant Discipline Honours Coordinators to determine the Study Plan, in the same process as outline for the Domestic Internal applicants.

4.3 International students

International Students need to apply through the Monash International Recruitment Services. In addition to this, they also need to submit the online form as outlined for domestic internal applicants.

4.4 Deferring Honours

Applicants who have been offered a place in the Honours program are able to defer for one or two semesters. Deferal for one semester is only possible where mid-year entry is permissible. The application will be held and confirmation of enrolment intention will be requested prior to commencement. A new study plan must be filled out in consultation with the discipline Honours Coordinator before enrolment can take place.

4.5 Mid-year entry

Entry into Honours is normally at the commencement of the academic year. Mid-year entry into Honours may be offered depending on unit and supervisor availability in the selected discipline. The same admission procedures apply to these students as those outlined in Section 4.2.

4.6 Credit for previously completed 4th year units

Credit may be awarded for previously completed units at Level 4, or equivalent, at the discretion of the Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor, who will liaise with the Honours Co-ordinator in the relevant discipline(s). The maximum amount of credit that students may receive is 50% (or 24 points), which will not include the research component.

5. Enrolment and period of candidature

Arts Honours Programs are normally completed as a one-year (two-semester) full-time program requiring the completion of a total of 48 credit-points. Enrolment can commence in Semester 1 or in Semester 2 for those areas which permit this, and where suitable supervision and coursework is available.

In most areas of specialisation part-time enrolment is permitted, with an enrolment of 12 credit points per semester over four consecutive semesters. The thesis must be completed either in one semester, or in two consecutive semesters, normally after the completion of all coursework components. Permission is required from the Faculty Honours Convenor to complete the thesis over more than a two-semester period, and will not normally be granted except where special circumstances beyond the control of the student (such as illness) prevent completion in two semesters.

5.1 Concurrent studies at fourth-year level

Normally, Honours candidates are not permitted to undertake studies in another course concurrently with their honours enrolment.

Students may be given permission by the Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor to undertake concurrent study under the following special circumstances:

Candidates in a combined degree program

  • Students are permitted to enrol in the Arts Honours program on a full-time basis and take one unit per semester from the other degree program. Permission will only be granted if past academic performance is strong and the request is supported by the Honours Discipline Coordinator.
  • Students seeking to do more than one unit per semester from the other degree program will be required to undertake the honours program on a part-time basis.

5.2 Changes to Honours units

Changes to the original study plan must be made on the ‘Application to the Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor for Change of Enrolment’ form. This form will require the signature of the relevant discipline and school honours coordinator. Normally, thesis work must be completed within two consecutive semesters. Honours students must make any changes to their unit enrolment in accordance with the university calendar. The calendar, which includes the census date for discontinuing a unit without incurring a CSP debt for the unit, is to be observed for all honours enrolments.

5.3 Changes from full-time to part-time

Under special circumstances a full-time student may apply for permission to transfer to part-time study. A student can do so by submitting an application to the Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor. Students who transfer to part-time may do so by discontinuing one or more units before the relevant census date.

5.4 Interruptions to candidature

Honours candidature may be suspended as follows:

5.4.1 Intermission

A period of intermission from the Honours program normally not exceeding one semester is deemed to be “special leave” and will only be granted under exceptional circumstances. Requests must be made by completing an Application to the Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor for Change of Enrolment. Applications must be supported by the Discipline Honours Coordinator.

5.4.2 Discontinuation

Students may discontinue their honours candidature, but must do so with regard to university policies for undergraduate students, particularly the university calendar for discontinuing units. Depending on whether or not they have completed any units, different re-entry regulations apply.

5.4.3 Resumption of Honours after Discontinuation

Students who have successfully completed part of their honours candidature before discontinuing, must re-apply to enter honours. Student must re-apply within five years of their discontinuation. Upon successful readmission students will be given credit for all successfully completed honours coursework units. The maximum credit allowed is 24 points and, while the thesis may build on research from the previous period of candidature, no credit will apply and this component will always be completed as a new and entire enrolment.

Students who discontinue their honours candidature without completing any studies may reapply for honours at a future date. The entry requirements for new applicants will apply.

5.5 Study abroad

Where possible, Honours candidates going on study abroad/exchange should undertake coursework units to the value of 24 credit points in their first semester of enrolment. Only where Disciplines offers fourth year (Honours) units to the value of 6 credit points, can Honours students undertake coursework units to a value less than 24 credit points. Exchange/study abroad students are expected to return to Monash as soon as practicable to complete their thesis on-campus.

Where it can be demonstrated that the host institution semester dates do not comply with the Monash academic calendar, the Faculty Honours Convenor will approve requests to extend the period of candidature to three semesters.

In special circumstances, Honours candidates will be permitted to undertake a coursework unit and part of their thesis overseas in their first semester of enrolment. Candidates and the School/Discipline Honours Coordinator will be required to make a special case in writing to the Honours Convenor (at least 2 months before departure) detailing the nature of the research; the supervision arrangement (an external and internal supervisor must be appointed) and host institution experience. Further, the external supervisor must be provided with the Monash guidelines for supervision and agree to forward a mid-term progress report before the commencement of the second semester of study. Candidates who receive approval to commence their thesis overseas will not normally be permitted to substantially change their thesis topic once they have enrolled at their host institution.

An Honours candidate applying for Study Abroad must submit both an Honours application and an application for Study Abroad.

Schools/Centres are required to grade the work of the returning Honours students within a reasonable timeframe. Amendments to results are to be sent through the Faculty office. If the result is not satisfactory then the Discipline Honours Coordinator must counsel the student on course progression or alternatives and liaise with the Faculty Honours Executive Officer if amendments to enrolment are required.

6. Enrolment administration

6.1 Admission and enrolment

The Faculty of Arts office provides support to staff and students in the administration of the Honours course. The faculty has responsibility for:

  • Coordinating applications for the Arts Honours Program and providing supporting information on the eligibility of individual applicants for consideration by the Faculty Honours Convenor, School Honours Coordinators and other staff;
  • Processing offers of admission and coordinating the enrolment and re-enrolment processes;
  • Coordinating the administrative aspects of scholarship selection, including liaising with the Scholarships office and the Faculty Honours Convenor

6.2 Load management and quotas

The Faculty of Arts does not impose minimum or maximum intake targets for the Arts Honours Program. At any given time Honours enrolments in schools/departments will reflect the eligibility of applicants and will be limited only by the availability of appropriate resources and appropriate academic supervision.

Quotas for entry apply in the case of Psychology.

6.3 Honours units and courses

Honours units are offered at 4th year level. Most units are 12 credit points, but 6 point units may be available in some disciplines. Most disciplines include a common core unit, taken in the student’s first semester, which may cover a number of disciplines within a school. Other Honours coursework units provide suitable disciplinary content and research training. Most disciplines require a 24 point thesis, which may be taken as a single unit over one semester, or as two units, A and B, taken over two consecutive semesters. In such cases, the first semester unit receives a grade of SFR (satisfied faculty requirements), to be awarded on the basis of a written recommendation of the supervisor to the School examiners’ meeting, detailing that the requirements of the unit have been met. This grade is amended to the final thesis grade when this grade has been finalized.

6.4 Scholarships

There are a number of scholarships available to students commencing an Honours program.

Details of all available scholarships are provided on the University Scholarship website including application details and key dates.

Coursework Scholarships and Bursaries

All students are advised to apply for University level scholarships. Some Faculty scholarships require an application, and some are automatically assessed, on the basis of academic results. Selection for faculty scholarships is overseen by the Faculty Honours Convenor, under the direction of the Associate Dean Education.

7 Results and Assessment

7.1 Assessment requirements

The assessment of the Honours Program in any area of specialisation must clearly reflect the objectives of the relevant Honours Program and any additional objectives specific to that area, and must follow the principles of assessment at Monash outlined in the Assessment in Coursework Programs policy and the rules for good practice stated in the Unit Assessment Procedures.

The assessment regime for each discipline must be approved by the Arts Education Committee and Faculty Board of the Faculty of Arts. The development of the assessment regime and its implementation, the assessment of the individual tasks to be completed by students, and the assessment standards are the responsibility of the teaching school/centre, and must follow the guidelines for typical Honours assessment tasks outlined below.

7.2 Coursework unit(s)

The coursework components of the Arts Honours Program will vary according to the area of specialisation but, irrespective of the weighting, they should normally provide students with key specialist skills that have not been taught in their previous studies. Some of the coursework components should also relate to key generic skills that are relevant to graduates in that area, including the Monash Graduate Attributes and (particularly) the development of an advanced level of written and oral communication skills. Honours coursework components should be taught at a higher standard than level-three undergraduate units, and students should demonstrate a greater level of independent learning. Typically, the Honours coursework curriculum will expose students to ‘state of the art’ research and knowledge in their area of specialisation.

7.3 Supervision arrangements relating to individually supervised Honours coursework units

The Discipline Honours Coordinator should ensure that a supervisor is appointed for all students enrolled in individually supervised coursework units by the commencement of week 1 of the relevant semester, and that the student is notified. The main supervisor of a student’s Honours thesis should not normally supervise the student in any other individually supervised Honours unit (such as a ‘reading unit’). Any exception to this should be approved by the Head of School and Faculty Honours Convenor.

The content of such a unit may be in a similar field to the thesis, but the assessment should not overlap in any substantial way with the thesis itself.

7.4 Seminars and oral presentations

All Arts Honours students should be required to provide a seminar on their major Honours project.

7.5 Research project thesis (or equivalent)*

* For creative based disciplines i.e. music and theatre studies this may include folio performance based work

The research project thesis is normally worth 24 points, and is completed over a semester or a year. In some disciplines, two 12 point units may be undertaken instead of the 24 point project. One must be a research project, and the other must also have a substantial research component, but may be of a more practical or applied nature.

The Honours thesis is a training ground for learning, and demonstrating mastery of research skills, and it should be possible for a student to get a high mark for an outstanding command of methodology and its application to the content area of the thesis, even if the topic has
been already researched in the literature. Thus the kind of originality expected would be in terms of new insights into a possibly well-established area, rather than a genuinely original research study.

7.6 Publication of assessment requirements

At the start of the program students must be provided with a Honours Program Guide for their discipline. This will include general information, including requirements for attendance at seminars etc. It will also include details for the Honours thesis:

  • The assessment requirements for the thesis, including those that must be completed for part 1, where the thesis is completed over two semesters.
  • All thesis requirements (word or page limits, structure, conformity to conventions, formatting, binding, etc);
  • Criteria by which the thesis will be evaluated;
  • Submission dates for semester 1 and 2; and
  • Penalties for late submission.

These details should also be published in the thesis unit unit guides, but for the benefit of students completing the thesis over two semesters (i.e. two units), it is desirable to have the overall requirements available in the Honours Program Guide. Assessment requirements for honours coursework units will be available in the unit guide for each unit. Where assessment requirements are subject to individual negotiation, as may sometimes be the case in ‘individual study’ units, then the requirements for these to be negotiated and lodged in writing must be clearly spelled out.

7.7 Feedback

Schools/departments must have processes in place to ensure that Honours students receive regular and effective feedback on their progress through:

  • Progress meetings with a supervisor and/or Honours Coordinator at least once every fortnight. These meetings do not always need to take place face to face;
  • Formative written and/or oral assesment tasks;
  • Feedback on draft chapters and at least one draft but normally not more than two drafts of the full thesis (where a draft is submitted in a timely manner); and
  • All other individual summative assessment tasks, including their individual marks.

The Honours Program Guide and unit guides should include details of the types of feedback students will have access to during their Honours candidature.

7.8 Extensions and special consideration

7.8.1 Extensions for the thesis or equivalent

Students can apply for an extension of up to one week after the thesis due date where there are legitimate reasons for delay. Requests for an extension must be made in writing (an email from a Monash student email account is acceptable) to the relevant Discipline Honours Coordinator, who may approve the extension. Requests for an extension must be received BEFORE the thesis due date. Students seeking an extension longer than one week, or for any additional time after the first week’s extension, must apply for special consideration following the Faculty of Arts special consideration procedures. Once the application for special consideration has been received and assessed by the Faculty, it will be directed to the School Honours Coordinator, who, in consultation with the Discipline Honours Coordinator and supervisor, will determine a revised due date for the thesis submission. The Faculty of Arts policy on late submission of work and its associated penalties will apply to a thesis submitted after the due date.

In special circumstances, not covered by the normal criteria for special consideration, an extension of the thesis may be requested by written application to the Faculty of Arts Honours Convenor. Such applications must be supported by the supervisor and the Discipline and School Honours Coordinator.

Note: Where students undertake part of their Honours degree overseas (Study Abroad etc.) they may be given a later thesis submission date, where the circumstances warrant it. The submission date must be decided upon by the beginning of the semester in which the thesis is due. The submission date must be agreed upon by the Discipline Honours Coordinator and the supervisor, and the School Honours Coordinator and Faculty Honours Convenor must be informed. The student must also be made aware that a later submission date might impact on their applications for postgraduate scholarships.

7.8.2 Extensions in Honours coursework units

Faculty of Arts policies and School procedures for undergraduate units apply.

7.8.3 Special consideration

Students whose work is affected by chronic conditions are to refer to section E of the Unit Assessment procedures - Alternative Arrangements for Assessment . Students availing themselves of Alternative Arrangements for Assessment are not prevented from also applying for special consideration where appropriate.Refer to the Faculty’s Special Consideration procedure and information sheet at the web link below for further details:

Late submission of assessment

7.9 Marking and grading

7.9.1 Marking of coursework

All failed coursework components should be verified by a second examiner.

7.9.2 Marking of seminars, oral presentations and defence

Assessment of oral presentations contributing 5% or more towards the final Honours mark should be determined by the average mark assigned by a school/department panel of at least two examiners. The examiners should be asked to consider the presentation according
to specific criteria that should be advised to students in advance.

7.9.3 Marking of literature reviews, essays and major written assessment tasks other than the thesis

Each School should ensure that procedures are in place to verify marking standards in all components that contribute to the overall Honours result, to ensure that they are at Honours level. This may include double or verification marking of all, or a sample of, major assessment tasks.

7.9.4 Marking of the thesis or project

EXAMINERS: A thesis is to be marked by two examiners in accordance with the Honours grade descriptors in the Appendix. The examiners (neither of whom can be the student’s supervisor) are appointed by the School Honours Coordinator, in consultation with Discipline Honours Coordinators. Ordinarily, examiners are permanent or contract staff members from the discipline in which the thesis is submitted. An examiner from another discipline can be invited to mark a thesis if the subject matter falls within her/his particular area of expertise. In addition, external examiners from other institutions may be appointed. Where a student is doing combined honours (i.e. anthropology and sociology), a marker from each discipline must be chosen. Students must be given the opportunity to provide to the discipline honours coordinator names of any individual/s whom they do not wish appointed as examiners. These requests will be kept strictly confidential and will be given due consideration by both discipline and School Honours Coordinators.

MARK: Both examiners are required to submit a mark and grade independently, and to write comments about the thesis which will be considered by the examiners meeting and returned to the student on completion of the examination. The marks awarded by individual examiners will not be released to students. The mark that is awarded will only be a mark of the work submitted. All thesis grades and reports within a Discipline/Centre/Section must be ratified by the Discipline Honours Coordinator and another person or persons nominated by the Head of School, who have the power to seek further clarification from examiners.

Reconciling mark discrepancies

If the difference between the two examiners' marks is less than 10% of the maximum mark available, the final mark will usually be the mean of the two marks.

If the difference is between 10% and 19% of the maximum mark available, the Discipline Coordinator may ask the examiners to seek to reduce the difference to less than 10% by discussing their reasons for awarding their marks and comparing their examiners' reports. If this succeeds, the mark awarded shall be the average of the two. If the procedure does not result in sufficient agreement, or if discussion is not practicable, a third examiner shall be appointed. Where the examiners’ marks differ by 20% or more, the thesis must be sent to a third examiner. It is preferable if the third examiner is the Discipline Honours Coordinator, although another examiner can be appointed. The third examiner will be made aware of the two initial marks and the content of the examiner’s reports, and may confer with the original examiners if required before submitting a mark. He/she may also consider the experience and tendency of the markers for "hard" or "easy"marking at other times, and/or use any other information (eg. from the supervisor) that may assist in determining the reason for the unacceptably large difference. The final mark will then be an average of the two closest marks. The student should only be advised of the final mark and grade and should only receive the two final examiners’ reports.

Fail grade for a thesis from one examiner: Same policy applies as when marks differ by 10% or more.

Fail grade for a thesis from two examiners: In the event that both markers deem the thesis to have failed, then a fail mark will be awarded. Students do not have the opportunity to resubmit a thesis.

STUDENT APPEAL OF MARK: Due to the unique nature of honours thesis marking (as described above) students do not have the right to appeal the final mark for the thesis/project. Students who are dissatisfied with their mark can elect to lodge a grievance with the Arts Grievance Officer in accordance with the Faculty’s grievance procedures.

7.9.5 Failing a coursework unit

If a student fails an honours coursework unit, they will be required to repeat the unit or an approved substitute unit. The student will only be eligible to receive the maximum mark/grade of 50/Pass for either unit. Please note that if a coursework unit is failed, the weighting of this unit is counted towards the calculation of the student's overall mark (as per 7.11, below). For example:

  • A student receives 75 for each of two 12-point coursework units, and 85 for the 24-point thesis; the student receives the following overall honours grade: (75+75+85+85)/4=80/HI
  • A student receives a 75 for one 12-point coursework unit, and receives 85 for the 24-point thesis, but fails with the second coursework unit with a mark of 0, and  must repeat that unit; this student and can receive a maximum mark of 50/P; on receiving a 50/P, the student achieves the following overall honours grade: (75+85+85+50+0)/5=59/HIII

7.9.6 Failing the thesis/project

If the student fails the thesis component they will be deemed to have failed the Honours program and will be ineligible to take out the Honours degree. Students who fail the first unit in a two-unit Honours thesis project (e.g., Arts Honours Thesis A) are deemed to have failed Honours.

7.10 Submission of Honours results and grades

The recommendations for the results and grades for all individual assessable units for the Honours Program must be submitted to the Board of Examiners of the teaching faculty, in accordance with the university requirements for the release of results in each semester. A mark must be submitted for all students, in all components, and marks of WH should be accompanied by a justification, either because of an extension awarded to the student on the basis of Special Consideration, or other unavoidable delays in the examination process. The date by which the mark is expected to be able to be submitted should be noted.

Marks for part 1 of the thesis (where taken over two semesters) are submitted as SFR. If a student has not satisfactorily completed the requirements of part 1, a grade of WH may be awarded, and the student given clear written advice about what must be done, within a given time frame (normally by week 2 of semester 2) in order to qualify for conversion to SFR. If the student still fails to make satisfactory progress, the grade may be converted to a fail (see 7.9.6, above).

Marks that are recorded as withheld (WH) must be finalized by the end of the fourth week of the following semester, after which they will be amended to a fail result (0 N) if no further communication has been received from the school/department.

7.11 Reporting of results

The overall Honours grade is calculated by taking the average mark of the individual components, weighted according to points value (see 7.9.5, above). The overall Honours grade will be reported in the following way at the end of the final semester of the honours degree:

Final Honours Grades

  • N (0-49) (Fail)
  • HIII (50-59) (Third Class Honours)
  • HIIB (60-69) (Second Class Honours – Division II)
  • HIIA (70-79) (Second Class Honours – Division I)
  • HI (80-100) (First Class Honours)

8 Grievances

Students have the right to seek redress if they believe that they have been treated unfairly in matters concerning academic or administrative decisions, the behaviour of staff, the quality of teaching, the provision of university services etc. The University has policies and procedures to deal with such complaints. Grievance policies and procedures do not cover unsatisfactory academic progress, discipline, exclusion for health or disability reasons or complaints of discrimination or sexual harassment.

8.1 Academic grievances

Academic grievances are course-related complaints about matters which are the responsibility of academic staff and of Schools in the Faculty (eg assessment, quality of teaching, etc). Resolution of these matters will be conducted in accordance with the University grievance policies and procedures.

8.2 Administrative grievances

Administrative grievances are complaints related to matters concerning processes, advice or services provided by the administrative staff of the Faculty. Resolution of these matters will be conducted in accordance with the University grievance policies and procedures.

9 Quality assurance measures for the maintenance of standards in Honours assessment

9.1 Benchmarking of Honours thesis grades - policy and procedures

9.2 Internal benchmarking and quality assurance

Benchmarking within and across disciplines will be carried out initially at school level, with the aim of ensuring consistency of standards, and adherence to Faculty grade description guidelines. The measures taken to monitor and ensure equity and consistency of standards across markers within a discipline, and between disciplines within a school will be reported to the Faculty Examiners meeting. The faculty will monitor application of the faculty grading criteria across disciplines, and the results of benchmarking activities conducted by schools through the Faculty Board of Examiners Meeting.

9.3 External benchmarking

Benchmarking will be carried out by one or both of the following processes:

1. External examination

At least 25% of theses in a discipline (averaged over a 3 year period) will have one external examiner appointed, from another Australian university, or from an overseas university with a system comparable to Honours, and of a similar status to Monash. Where possible, this will be done on a reciprocal basis, to enable Monash academics to be examine work from other institutions. The correspondence between the results from external examiners and from internal examiners will be scrutinized by Examiners meeting(s) in the School, and a report on any discrepancies observed, and actions deemed necessary, will be made to the Faculty Board of Examiners.

2. Post-hoc benchmarking

A selection of at least 4 theses from a range of grades will be sent to an experienced external examiner after the marking process has been completed to be independently marked. The marker will also be asked to comment on the quality and suitability of the research undertaken. These comments, and any discrepancies between the marking standards revealed will be discussed and appropriate action taken. This process will be undertaken at least once every three years for each discipline. Where possible, this will be done as part of a reciprocal process, whereby theses from the other institution are examined by Monash markers.

It is the responsibility of the School Honours Coordinator, in association with the Undergraduate Coordinator and Head of School, to ensure that the procedures listed above (1 or 2) and carried out, and are reported to the Faculty Board of Examiners (as required in the School Board of Examiners Report Template). They are also responsible, in consultation with the Faculty Honours Convenor and ADE, for implementing corrective action where benchmarking suggests that standards are not in line with the standards in like institutions. Such action, and the results, shall be reported to the subsequent Faculty Board of Examiners. The School Board of Examiners Report for each semester will detail the processes by which the standards of thesis marking are monitored and maintained, (such as training of examiners, cross marking, and examiners meeting discussions). Actions that have been taken or will be taken to address issues identified will also be reported.

9.4 Monitoring of grades for coursework and thesis units, and for overall Honours grades by Faculty Board of Examiners (BoE)

The Faculty of Arts Board of Examiners is responsible for the approval of final marks and grades in respect of individual students for all undergraduate units taught by the Faculty of Arts, including those at Honours level.

The Board of Examiners has responsibility to monitor the Honours grade distributions across all areas of specialisation over a period of time, and where appropriate in relation to students’ previous level of performance, and make recommendations to schools and the Faculty Honours and ESEC Committees that assist in the maintenance of uniform standards both within the course and in relation to other similar courses at comparable institutions.

The Board of Examiners shall receive from the Schools, recommendations for the Honours marks and grades achieved by all students at the completion of their program, including the Honours degree course grade. The Board will consider those recommendations on final marks and grades to ensure their comparability and consistency from year to year and shall monitor the moderation processes adopted within each school to ensure best practice. Therefore, under some circumstances, the Board may recommend that the final results for individual students may differ from those recommended initially by the administering school/department.

10 Guidelines for supervision of Honours Theses (or equivalent*)

* For creative based disciplines i.e. music and theatre studies this may include folio performance based work

Each Honours student will be assigned a primary supervisor for their major Honours research project. The aim of Honours supervision is to guide and inspire the student through the design and conduct of an appropriate research project and to train the student in the
ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate critically the literature relevant to the topic in their area of specialisation, so that the student can carry out original research.

10.1 Expertise and qualifications of supervisor

It is preferable if the supervisor of an honours thesis is knowledgeable in the particular research field of the student. However, specialized expertise is not as important for Honours theses as it would be in the case of theses for higher degrees.

Supervisors should:

  • Be a member of academic staff from within one of the teaching schools of the Arts Honours Program. Non-teaching (i.e. research fellows) or contract staff are permitted to supervise provided they are employed for the duration of the thesis enrolment. In the case of a supervisor being from another school or from outside the university, an academic supervisor from the relevant school will be nominated as co-supervisor.
  • Be an accredited Monash Research Graduate School Level 1 supervisor, OR have completed the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education OR be actively undergoing supervisor training. In the case of a supervisor who is not accredited or trained or undertaking training, a qualified supervisor will be nominated as co-supervisor. In the case of Chief Music Studies, the unit Coordinators must meet the accreditation requirement.
  • Be familiar with Faculty Honours regulations and guidelines and all School-based documents relating to Honours thesis supervision and examination.
  • Be available during the relevant academic year. In the event that supervisors are absent from the university for longer than two weeks within a given semester, it is important that they inform the School Honours Coordinator and organise an alternative source of assistance for the student in good time.

Heads of School/Department must ensure that the total workload of the staff member is manageable and commensurate with quality supervision. Schools should consider whether each Honours student should also be assigned a suitable co-supervisor, to provide additional advice and support during the program. Where they are appointed, their specific roles and responsibilities should be identified to both students and staff. For example, co-supervisors might be requested to meet with the supervisor and student to discuss the project at an early stage, and might meet with both at regular intervals during the year.

10.2 Role of the supervisor

The role of the supervisor is to:

  • Provide academic guidance concerning the nature and practice of research;
  • Provide help in finding appropriate literature
  • Assist and guide the student with fine-tuning the topic and design of their Honours project;
  • Assist the student to develop appropriate research methods and analytical approaches;
  • Assist the student in identifying important theoretical and conceptual issues and in critical analysis and interpretation
  • Make the student aware of any compulsory ethic clearance and/or health and safety requirements;
  • Make the student aware of relevant university and faculty policies and procedures;
  • Make the student aware of facilities and resources available to students, in particular the services offered to Honours students by the library and the ALLU; and
  • Assist the student to develop oral and written communication skills. This includes providing editorial advice.

In particular,

  • Prior to the commencement of any Honours research project, the supervisor must establish that the proposed research component is appropriate in scope and character for the Honours Program, and is feasible in terms of time, and resource requirements.
  • At the commencement of candidature the supervisor must meet and discuss with the candidate their mutual expectations and establish an approved program of study including clearly identified objectives for the research component, as well as discussing relevant ethical and safety requirements and intellectual property issues. The supervisor should also establish frequency of communication and clarify arrangements for supervision meetings. Normally, a regular schedule of meetings should be established at the beginning of semester, although adjustments may be made according to need as the semester progresses. Expectations for progress and submission of drafts should also be discussed.
  • Supervisors should meet with students at least once every fortnight during the semesters of enrolment to discuss their research project and work through any problems associated with it. For the most part contact is required to be on a face-to-face basis, but where circumstances do not permit this contact via email or by phone is acceptable. The supervisor should encourage students to submit a brief written summary of progress/ points for discussion prior to meetings (for example, using the template used for HDR supervision). Supervisors must keep notes on conversations with their students.
  • The supervisor must provide regular and systematic feedback to students on all elements of their performance in the Honours year as it proceeds. This includes feedback on chapter drafts, and at least one draft but usually no more than two drafts of the full thesis. The supervisor is required to return corrected thesis drafts promptly; turnaround time should not exceed two weeks.
  • The supervisor is not, however, responsible for: the timely participation of external third parties involved in the project; the content of the thesis or any grammatical or typological errors the thesis might contain.

Student issues - If problems arise, for example a student consistently failing to show up for appointments or not submitting requested work, then the supervisor must discuss the student’s progress with the relevant discipline honours coordinator. The student must then be invited to a meeting with the supervisor and discipline honours coordinator in which her/his progress is discussed and a course of action suggested (e.g. application for special consideration; intermission, discontinuation).

10.3 Guidelines for students undertaking theses/projects

10.3.1 Selection of topic

Prior to applying for candidature, students are required to discuss potential Honours research topics with appropriate school staff. In consultation with the Discipline Coordinator or School Honours Coordinator, the applicant should identify areas of interest and, after discussion with an appropriate potential supervisor, nominate a suitable topic for research in their application. It is the role of the student to identify the thesis topic. The supervisor must offer advice about the suitability and practicality of the topic. While students have a right to work on a topic of interest to them, not all topics are practical. Constraints on topic choice might include ethical considerations, cost of travel or data collection, and availability of supervisor, size and expertise mix of department, centre or school.

10.3.2 Rights and Responsibilities of students

Students should be made aware, and accept, from the start that their level of success in the Honours Program is their own responsibility. The supervisor is responsible for suggesting, guiding, advising, assisting, providing constructive criticism, but is not required to apply any pressure on a student to complete their studies in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of students to read unit guides and Honours handbooks carefully, be aware of due dates and presentation requirements, and to seek clarification when it is required.

Honours students have a right to receive:

  • Adequate supervision. They should meet with their supervisor at least once every fortnight to discuss the topic and work through any problems associated with it.
  • Constructive and critical assessment of work submitted. In particular students have a right to know when a supervisor considers progress as inadequate or standards of work as being below that generally expected.
  • Constructive feedback on at least one draft but usually no more than two drafts of the thesis.

On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the student to:

  • Dedicate to Honours studies an average of 48 hours (full time students) or 24 hours (part-time students) per week;
  • Attend the school/department induction session;
  • Establish agreed methods of working and a schedule of meetings with the supervisor. It is important that students keep in regular contact with their supervisor, during the dissertation period at least once every two week. Should students be forced to cancel an appointment with their supervisor, they must notify the supervisor in advance.
  • Keep the supervisor informed of any difficulties and problems being experienced and take an active role in seeking solutions;
  • Maintain the progress of work in accordance with the stages and timelines determined by the particular pattern of enrolment;
  • Submit drafts at a date agreed upon with their supervisor. Students are advised to arrange with their supervisor a realistic timetable for the submission of drafts of the entire thesis. Supervisors may not be able to read drafts given too close to the final submission date of the thesis. Careful planning of and adherence to the stages of writing and submitting drafts can prevent difficulties arising later. Under normal circumstances, the turnaround time for drafts will not exceed two weeks. Students must, as a matter of course, keep back-up copies of the thesis at all stages of writing.
  • Participate in the opportunities offered by the school/department which may include attendance at and presentations in non assessable research seminars;
  • Be familiar with and comply with all requirements relating to ethical conduct, intellectual property, privacy, and occupational health and safety procedures;
  • Conform to the faculty’s administrative requirements for enrolment, leave of absence, re-enrolment and extensions;
  • Understand and comply with relevant university and faculty policies and procedures, including those on special consideration, plagiarism, conflict of interest and acceptable use of information technology facilities by students;
  • Respond appropriately to the advice and guidance given by their supervisor in respect of the thesis. The supervisor may point out errors of fact, incorrect dates, incorrect spelling of names or titles, etc. in the students’ drafts and such elementary errors must be corrected by the student as a matter of course.
  • Accept responsibility for preparing an Honours research project thesis for examination.

Difficulties with thesis/supervision - It is important that any problems with the progress of the thesis or with supervision are dealt with as they arise and not allowed to worsen through lack of attention. Students are required to keep their supervisor informed if they are experiencing any difficulties which are impeding the progress of the thesis. If they experience problems with the supervisory process which in the first instance cannot be dealt with by consultation with the supervisor, students must discuss the matter with the relevant Honours coordinator (Discipline or School). If these discussions fail to reach a resolution the Coordinator should contact the Faculty Honours Convenor, who in consultation with the Associate Dean Education, will suggest an outcome. If the student is still not satisfied with the outcome, University grievance procedures should be followed.


Appendix – Grade descriptors for the Honours thesis/ research project

H1 (80 - 100)

Broad features

An ‘upper H1’ (90 - 100) student has strengths in all of the following areas:

  • outstanding command of expression and logical argument in a skillfully structured manuscript;
  • superior evaluation and integration of existing literature;
  • evidence of significant insight and original thought in dealing with the critical issues;
  • sophisticated understanding of relevant theories, analytical approaches and/or research methods;
  • thoughtful and appropriate choice and application of analytical approach/data analysis (where appropriate) and outstanding presentation of arguments/findings;
  • clear and coherent interpretation of the thesis data (where appropriate), and/or the results of other studies;
  • comprehensive understanding of the importance of the study in the context of the theoretical framework or broader field.

A ‘lower H1’ (80 -90) student displays many of the above strengths but is less well-balanced in overall quality.

Overall: An H1 student (upper or lower) is obviously capable of undertaking postgraduate research and warrants strong scholarship support.

H2A (70 - 79)

Broad features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • well written, logically argued and generally well structured;
  • the evaluation and integration of the existing literature is sound without being outstanding;
  • reasonable insight and some evidence of original thought in dealing with the critical issues;
  • evidence of a solid understanding of relevant theories, analytical approaches and/or research methods;
  • adequate design of the research project, although possibly containing minor but retrievable errors;
  • choice of and application of analytical approach that is appropriate for the design (although less well justified than might be expected of H1 standard), and clear presentation of arguments/findings;
  • generally sound but pedestrian argument or interpretation of data.

Overall: An H2A student is capable of undertaking postgraduate research.

H2B (60 - 69)

Broad features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • generally competently written, although some problems may exist in the logical organisation of the text and the way it is expressed;
  • provides an adequate coverage of the literature, although it tends to be more descriptive than evaluative, and arguments may be disjointed;
  • occasional evidence of insight into the issues underlying the thesis, but little evidence of original thinking;
  • basic but somewhat limited understanding of the research methods/analytical approach;
  • the design and execution of the research project is generally adequate but is marred by some errors and oversights;
  • serviceable choice of analytical approach, although other approaches may have been more appropriate;
  • the presentation of arguments or results may lack clarity

Overall: An H2B student may be capable of undertaking postgraduate research but would require close supervision.

H3 (50 - 59)

Broad features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • the work is not well written and shows flaws in the structuring of logical arguments;
  • coverage of the necessary literature is weak, with insufficient information provided to support the arguments made, or conclusions drawn, within the thesis;
  • little evidence of insight and ideas tend to be highly derivative;
  • serious flaws exist in the design of the research project making it difficult for the research to meet its aims;
  • data or text analysis techniques are arbitrary or inappropriate;
  • the results/arguments are poorly presented;
  • interpretations are superficial, demonstrating a weak understanding of the material and its relevance to the theoretical framework and/or the field.

Overall: The student has not demonstrated mastery of the higher-order skills required at Honours level and (on the evidence of this work) would not be able to undertake postgraduate research.

Fail (0 - 50)

Broad features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • the work is very poorly written and shows a serious inability to structure and present a logical argument;
  • coverage of the necessary literature is inadequate, with little information provided relevant to the claims made, or conclusions drawn, within the thesis;
  • serious misunderstanding of key concepts and issues;
  • serious flaws exist in the design of the research project making it difficult or impossible for the research to meet its aims;
  • data/ text analysis techniques are inappropriate and the results are presented inadequately;
  • failure to show how the results of the research project relate to the research questions/theoretical framework/field; serious misinterpretations of results.
  • referencing may be inadequate. Evidence of deliberate plagiarism will result in an automatic fail.

Overall: Think carefully before awarding this grade - it casts doubt on the student's admission in the first place.

General: Theses that are significantly over or under the prescribed word length may suffer a penalty in terms of grading. Late work will also be penalized, according to the Faculty’s late submission policy.


Supporting procedures


Responsibility for implementation Dean
Associate Dean (Education)
Faculty Honours Coordinator
School and Discipline Honours Coordinators
All staff and students
Status Revised
Approval body Faculty Board of the Faculty of Arts
Meeting number: 05/11
Meeting date: 3 November 2011
Agenda item: 7
Endorsement Body Arts Honours Committee
Meeting number: 01-2014
Meeting date: 11 March 2014
Agenda item: 7, 8
Related Policies

Course Design Policy

Grading Scale Policy

Date Effective Semester 1 2012
Next Review Date 2015
Policy Owner Faculty of Arts
Policy Author Associate Dean (Education)
Contact Quality and Compliance Officer