School and Discipline Honours Coordinators

Parent Policy

Course Design Policy

Crucial document: Arts-Honours-Thesis-Cover-Sheet

Crucial information: Additional entry requirements: Bachelor of Music (Honours)



A. Honours study in the Faculty of Arts.
B. Application and admission to Honours courses.
C. Enrolment and candidature.
D. Structure of honours programs.
E. Assessment and results.
F. Grievance and dispute resolution.

A. Honours study in the Faculty of Arts

  1. Details of the structure of honours course, and of requirements and specific elements of honours study in Faculty-managed disciplines, is provided in the University Handbook.
  2. Honours may be taken in a single discipline (single honours) in one year of full-time study, or equivalent, or in two disciplines conjointly (combined honours) in one year of full-time study, or equivalent.
  3. Combined honours study typically involves joint research across the two disciplines, with one supervisor from each discipline, as well as appropriate coursework chosen from either or both disciplines. Combined honours applications must be approved by the School Honours Coordinators of both disciplines. Combined honours options are offered at the discretion of the participating disciplines and Schools.

Responsibility: School and Faculty academic and professional staff; students.

B. Application and admission to Honours courses.

  1. Students applying for honours must have completed a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree with a major (48 points or equivalent; one year EFTSL) in the intended honours discipline, or in a cognate discipline approved by the School Honours Coordinator for the discipline.
    1. Where a student does not have a major in the intended discipline, or where the student has a major only in a cognate discipline, then the student’s honours application must be reviewed by the Faculty in consultation with the discipline or School/Centre honours coordinator and/or prospective supervisor.
  2. Students must have maintained at least a 75 distinction average in the honours discipline in at least 24 points (or equivalent) at third-year level.
    1. Disciplines may specify additional requirements and set more stringent standards for honours entry–these should be clearly indicated to students via appropriate channels.
    2. Additional entry requirements: Bachelor of Music (Honours)
    3. Additional entry requirement: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Monash University Malaysia
    4. Where a student has previously failed or withdrawn from an honours course of study, or has failed or withdrawn from honours-level units, then the student’s honours application must be reviewed by the Faculty in consultation with the discipline or School/Centre honours coordinator and/or prospective supervisor.
  3. Entry into honours in a discipline is at the discretion of the School Honours Coordinator for that discipline, taking into account items B1 and B2, above.
  4. The Faculty provides information for prospective honours students, including details of the application and admission business processes, via the Faculty of Arts website.
  5. Commencement of an honours year may be deferred by one or two semesters, as approved by the School Honours Coordinator. Deferment for a single semester is only possible where the School or discipline offers mid-year entry into honours.
  6. Credit for units previously studied at a fourth year level may be granted by the Faculty Honours Convenor, in consultation with relevant School and discipline staff. Students may receive no more than 24 points of credit for their honours year. Credit cannot be given for any research component of the honours year.
  7. The Faculty and University provide some scholarships for honours study, some of which require a separate application by the prospective student. Selection for faculty scholarships is overseen by the Faculty Honours Convenor, under the direction of the Deputy Dean (Education).

Responsibility: Students; School Honours Coordinator; Discipline Honours Coordinator; Faculty Honours Convenor; Faculty professional staff.

C. Enrolment and candidature.

  1. Honours programs in the Faculty are typically completed over a one-year (two-semester) period, with students enrolled full-time.
    1. Some disciplines and Schools may offer part-time enrolment, with students completing 12 points of study in each of four semesters. Students who enrol part-time complete a thesis either in a single semester or in two consecutive semesters, typically after completing all coursework units.
    2. Permission to complete the honours thesis over more than two semesters would be granted only due to extreme circumstances beyond the student’s control. Students affected by extreme circumstances should discuss their enrolment with their School Honours Coordinator and/or the Faculty Honours Convenor. Applications to complete the honours thesis over more than two semesters must include an application for special consideration made through standard Faculty channels.
    3. Where a student enrols into honours thesis A (or an equivalent research unit) as part of honours, they are then expected to enrol into honours thesis B (or equivalent research unit) either in the following standard semester (semester 1, semester 2), or concurrently.
  2. Students may not undertake concurrent studies alongside their honours study–as per Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations s. 13.9.b.
  3. Changes to a student’s honours enrolment can be made only through the submission by the student of a revised study plan, with signatures from discipline and School Honours Coordinators. The standard University calendar for census dates, etc., is applied for all honours enrolments.
  4. Students may apply for intermission from their studies for up to one semester. This application, approved only in exceptional circumstances, is made to the Faculty Honours Convenor.
  5. Discontinuation deadlines and procedures for honours students are set by the University’s calendar for undergraduate units.
  6. Complementary study is not available for honours students.
  7. Language students wishing to undertake honours study abroad should seek advice from the Faculty of Arts.

Responsibility: Students; School and discipline Honours Coordinators; Faculty Honours Convenor; Arts Student Services staff; External Students Officer.

D. Structure of honours programs.

  1. The honours year involves the completion of a 24 point program of research, under supervision of appropriately-qualified teaching staff, and 24 points of honours coursework. Typically, this entails the student’s completion of two 12 point honours thesis units in sequence, and two 12 point honours coursework units.
  2. In certain disciplines, students may be eligible to undertake 24 points of research in the form of a 12 point professional internship and a 12 point research project. Where the Faculty, School, and discipline agree to allow students to undertake an internship-project research option, this information would be provided to students via appropriate channels, and students would be enrolled into the internship-project research option via the student’s honours study plan.
  3. The coursework components of the Arts Honours Program will vary according to the area of specialisation but, irrespective of the weighting of assessment in those units, 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. The honours coursework curriculum will expose students to research and knowledge in their area of specialisation.
  4. Honours research study 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 research, 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.
    1. All students are required to provide an oral seminar or other oral engagement and presentation on their honours thesis and/or associated topics.
    2. For an honours thesis, assessment may include additional components (e.g., literature review, development and exegesis of thesis in a series of drafts, etc.). Where disciplines incorporate additional components into the assessment of a thesis, the thesis itself must be at least 10 000 words in length (or equivalent).
    3. Additional components are considered to be part of a broader project, for the purpose of determining deadlines for individual components.
  5. Supervisors are assigned to students by the School Honours Coordinator, in consultation with the Head of School, and other teaching staff.
  6. Where Honours units are generic (e.g., Faculty-owned thesis units) or where the one unit includes differentiation of topics and material for students in different disciplines (e.g., some School-owned coursework units), further information on School and discipline-specific requirements must be provided by the School as part of the Honours program guide.
  7. The Honours program guide will include general information, including requirements for attendance at seminars etc. It will also include details for honours research: the assessment requirements for research options offered by the School or Centre, , including those that must be completed for the first part of a thesis, where the thesis is completed over two semesters; all research requirements (word or page limits, structure, conformity to conventions, formatting, binding, etc); criteria by which the research will be evaluated; submission dates for semester 1 and 2 (which is the Monday following the end of the teaching period); and, penalties for late submission.
  8. For students who are completing an honours degree owned by the Faculty of Arts, at the Monash Malaysia campus, the following deadline for submission of the honours thesis, dissertation, or final research project applies:
    1. Students must submit their thesis, dissertation, or final research project no later than the end of the official examination period for the semester in which the assessment item is due.
    2. This deadline applies only for the submission of the completed research item. It does not apply to preliminary research materials or assessment items (e.g., literature review), nor for any assessment submitted for coursework units as part of the honours degree. Assessment deadlines for such items are set by academic staff as per usual processes.
    3. This submission deadline applies only to students who are enrolled into a full-time honours degree (Malaysian Qualifications Framework Level 6) course, with the course campus location being Malaysia. It does not apply to students on exchange or inter-campus exchange.

Responsibility: Students; academic teaching staff; School honours Coordinator; Head of School.

E. Assessment and results.

  1. Each School should ensure that business processes 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.
    1. All failed coursework components should be verified by a second examiner.
    2. Assessment of oral presentations contributing 5% or more towards the final Honours mark should be determined by the average mark assigned by a school 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.
  2. The honours year is a research-track course. All honours research elements (whether thesis, internship, or project) 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.
  3. For the honours thesis, 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 thesis unit/s. In awarding these marks, the supervisor should be limited to assessing the research process and not the research product (i.e., the thesis itself).
    1. 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 completing combined honours a marker from each discipline must be chosen.
    2. 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.
  4. For the professional internship or research project, one of the two examiners may be the supervisor of the student’s research.
  5. The two examiner marks and grades are not provided to the student. The student’s mark and grade is awarded by the School Honours Coordinator. Where the School Honours Coordinator was one of the two examiners, the mark and grade is awarded by the Head of School.
  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 (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 a 'Withheld' (WH) grade. Once the thesis is marked, the WH is changed to the final mark and grade for the thesis.
    2. The student who receives an N for Part A is deemed to have failed the thesis, and to have failed their honours year.
  8. 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.
  9. If the student undertaking an internship-project research option fails either the internship or the research project, they will be deemed to have failed the honours program and will be ineligible to take out the Honours degree.
  10. 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. For example:
    1. 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
    2. A student receives 78 for each of two 12-point coursework units, a 91 for the 12-point professional internship, and an 83 for the 12-point research project; the student receives the following overall honours grade: (78+78+91+83)/4=83/HI (rounded up from 82.5)
    3. 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
  11. The overall Honours grade is calculated by taking the average mark of the individual components, weighted according to points value. The overall Honours grade will be reported in the following way at the end of the final semester of the honours degree:
  • 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

Responsibility: School Honours Coordinators; Heads of Schools; teaching staff.

F. 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 (as per E.1, above), assessment items for honours are typically not eligible for further review or remarking.
  2. Students who have concerns about the assessment of honours items 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; School Honours Coordinators; Heads of Schools; teaching staff.

Related policies and procedures

Related documents and information

University Policy Use Only

Approved: Faculty of Arts Honours Committee 02-2014; assessment and results, Arts Education Committee 02-2015; application and admission to honours courses, Arts Education Committee 01-2016.

Revised: January 2021