Graduate coursework degrees

Parent Policy

Course Design Policy [University]

Crucial document: Arts-Research-Thesis-Project-Cover-Sheet


Capstone unit: Capstone units are units that provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon their studies, apply the skills learned throughout their course and demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes of the course. Activities and assessment in capstone units provide “real-life” or research experiences to graduating students and combine disciplinary knowledge and generic skills. This may involve for example, a substantial project, an industry placement or internship, advanced practicum or the preparation of a portfolio. Capstone units are a part of undergraduate majors and of graduate coursework degrees.

Research track unit: A unit is deemed to be a research track unit if completion of that unit is required for entry into an HDR. Typically, research track units are 24-point capstone research theses, however, some disciplines may offer 12-point capstone research projects as research track units. The assessment requirements for research track units are more stringent than assessment for units that are not research track. Coursework capstone units and graduate internships are not research track units.


A. Enrolment and candidature.
B. Research component of graduate coursework degrees.
C. Assessment of capstone units.
D. Retention and loan of graduate research assessment items.
E. Grievance and dispute resolution.

A. Enrolment and candidature

  1. Graduate coursework degrees in the Faculty of Arts typically offer a variety of entry-points for commencing students. Students with a bachelor’s or an honours degree in a cognate discipline are eligible to receive credit (advanced standing) for their previous study, typically in the form of specified credit.
    1. Exemption credit may also be offered, depending on a student’s previous course of study and their pathway to degree completion at Monash.
    2. Decisions about credit and cognate disciplines are made on the authority of the director of the relevant graduate program.
  2. Initial credit offers are made to students by Arts Student Services Admissions Officers and the Faculty International Admissions Officer, and by Monash International Recruitment Services, in the letter of offer. Students may apply to have credit rescinded using the ordinary business processes.
  3. Students are typically expected to enrol in at least one course core unit in their first semester of enrolment.

Responsibility: Faculty of Arts professional staff; University professional staff; directors of graduate programs; students.

B. Research component of graduate coursework degrees

  1. All students completing an Arts-owned graduate coursework degree must complete some research component as a part of their course of study. This is accomplished through the student’s completing a capstone unit. All capstone units allow students to conduct self-directed research, and to demonstrate knowledge and skill in the understanding and application of discipline-relevant methodology and theory.

  2. Research capstone units include 24-point research theses, 12-point research projects, and 12-point internships, which incorporate longer written projects or other suitable equivalent assessment items. Students may need to meet prerequisites in order to complete a research capstone unit, and may also need to complete or concurrently enrol in particular units (e.g., research-training units).

  3. Coursework capstone units are 6-point or 12-point coursework units the assessment of which includes self-directed writing tasks or other equivalent assessment.

  4. The 24-point research thesis is a research track unit, providing a pathway into a graduate research program, including the PhD and Masters by research. The research thesis (15-18000 words, or equivalent) is completed under supervision of a suitably qualified staff member. The thesis is marked by two examiners, neither of whom may be the supervisor for the thesis, as per the business processes for assessing an honours thesis.

  5. The 12-point research project (9000 words, or equivalent) is completed under the supervision of a suitably qualified staff member.

  6. The coursework capstone assessment item must involve self-directed research conducted by the student, in consultation with relevant academic staff.

  7. Directors of graduate programs and teaching staff in the graduate coursework course may mandate additional activities as part of the research process (e.g., student presentations, library research training activities).

  8. A student who fails a research capstone unit should complete a coursework capstone unit instead, or as directed by their course coordinator. A student who fails a coursework capstone unit may re-enrol in the unit, with the permission of course coordinator and chief examiner for the unit.

Responsibility: Directors of graduate programs; teaching staff; students.

C. Assessment of capstone units

  1. As noted above, capstone units may be designated as research track units. Course coordinators determine whether 12 point research projects count as research track units for entry into a Monash HDR in the discipline.
  2. Capstone units that are not research track are assessed as per standard Faculty and University business processes, policies and procedures.
  3. All research track capstone units are assessed by two examiners. Each examiner provides a mark and grade for the research, along with feedback for the student. This feedback must address the assessment criteria for the assessment item.
  4. For both 12 and 24-point research track unit, neither of the examiners may be the student’s supervisor. The supervisor may be allowed to mark or contribute a mark for non-thesis components worth up to 20% of the overall assessment of the unit. In awarding these marks, the supervisor should be limited to assessing the research process and not the research product (i.e., the thesis itself).
  5. The two examiner marks and grades are not provided to the student. The student’s mark and grade is awarded by the course coordinator. Where the course coordinator was one of the two examiners, the mark and grade is awarded by the School Education Coordinator, or Head of Centre (for coursework programs based in Centres.)
  6. Determination of the final mark and grade awarded is decided by the following process:
    1. Examiner marks differ by less than 10%, with no difference in grade: Typically, the final mark is the average of the two examiner marks. The academic responsible for awarding the final grade may exercise reasonable discretion at this point.
    2. Examiner marks differ by 10% or more, or difference in grade awarded: The academic responsible for awarding the final grade must appoint a third examiner as adjudicator, who must be provided with the two initial examiners reports, and a copy of the research assessment item. On the basis of the examiner reports and the original assessment item, the third examiner will determine which of the following three outcomes is applied:
      1. Student receives the mark and grade awarded by the first examiner.
      2. Student receives the mark and grade awarded by the second examiner.
      3. Student receives the average of the two marks awarded by the first and second examiners, and is given the appropriate grade.
    3. Failing grade from one examiner: Mark reconciliation is conducted as per (7.2.), above.
  7. Where a student is enrolled into a two-part 24-point thesis:
    1. On successfully completing the first 12-point unit (Part A), the student receives an SFR grade. Once the thesis is marked, the SFR is changed to the final mark and grade for the thesis.
    2. The student may receive a WH grade for Part A. The student must then satisfy additional requirements as set by the supervisor and course coordinator, within the usual time limit, in order to have the WH altered to an SFR grade.
    3. The student who receives an N for Part A is deemed to have failed the thesis (see A.8, above).

Responsibility: Directors of graduate programs; School Education Coordinators; Heads of Centres; teaching staff; professional staff.

D. Retention and load of graduate research assessment items

  1. Schools and Centres are responsible for establishing and applying criteria regarding the retention of graduate theses and research projects. The thesis or research project can be retained only if the student has given permission using the Faculty’s Thesis/Research Project/Dissertation Assessment Cover Sheet.
    1. Assessment produced by graduate students enrolled into the unit APG5044 Professional internship is not retained, over and above what is required by University procedures (see Faculty Assessment and Feedback business processes), nor is it made available for loan.
  2. The Faculty will provide space for the storage of hard-copy and electronic theses and research projects, for Schools and Centres based in Australia.
  3. Graduate theses and research projects may be borrowed by currently-enrolled students, at the discretion of the School or Centre, provided that:
    1. the thesis or research project has not been published; and,
    2. the student has given permission for the thesis or project to be loaned, using the Faculty’s Thesis/Research Project/Dissertation Assessment Cover Sheet.
  4. Students wishing to borrow a thesis or research project must complete a Thesis/Research Project/Dissertation Request Form (link pending) and file it with the School/Centre Teaching Support Team, or professional support staff (for Schools not based in Australia). Professional staff process this request and make a hardcopy or electronic copy of the material available to the student.
  5. For all non-research assessment items produced as part of an graduate coursework course, the University's standard record keeping processes apply, as outlined in the Marking and Feedback Procedure.
  6. These details of the School or Centre retention and loan of graduate theses and research projects, and the process for borrowing such material, is to be communicated to graduate coursework students by the relevant School/Centre Education Coordinator or Honours Coordinator.

Responsibility: School and Centre teaching staff and coordinators; Teaching Support staff; professional School support staff; students; Faculty Resources staff.

E. Grievance and dispute resolution

  1. Given that Schools are required to establish reasonable processes for marking and grading, and the verification of mark and grade, graduate research theses, research projects, and assessment in professional internships, are typically not eligible for further review or remarking.
    1. As per the Faculty of Arts Assessment review and remarking business processes, graduate theses, research projects, and internships, are considered ineligible for review or remark, as such items are double-marked (as per item C.3., above).
  2. Students who have concerns about the assessment in their graduate course may submit a grievance to the Faculty Grievance Officer, as per University policy and procedures.
  3. Prior to contacting the Faculty Grievance Officer, and as per University procedures, the student must attempt informal resolution of their concerns with relevant staff members (e.g., supervisors, course conveners and academic leaders in Schools and Centres, etc.).

Responsibility: Students; directors of graduate programs; Heads of Schools and Centres; teaching staff.

Related policies and procedures

University Policy Use Only:

Approved: Arts Education Committee 07-2018

Revised: January 2021