Monash Law Honours Unit


LAW4327 - Honours thesis

For their final full year of law, many of the Faculty's top students elect to enrol in the Honours thesis research unit (LAW4327 - Honours thesis).

In the Honours thesis research unit, you write an 8,000 - 10,000 word thesis under the supervision of an academic member of staff, on a topic you've chosen. You must have your topic approved by a staff member.

Undertaking an Honours thesis gives you the opportunity to choose an area of the law that fascinates you and, under expert guidance from a member of staff, to:

  • rigorously analyse this area, and research it in great detail
  • write a learned piece about that area of the law. Students also attend 3 symposiums throughout the year, designed to support them through the research process. At the end of the year students present their thesis findings to their peers and invited guests at the Annual Honours Conference.

The unit has been designed to develop high level research and writing skills, and give students a deeper understanding of the discipline. You are also more likely to be considered for some highly sought-after jobs, such as a judge's associate, if you've included a major research project in your degree.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for the Honours thesis research unit, you must have both:

  • an average of 72% or better across your law units at Monash.
  • no more than 72 credit points remaining to complete the law requirements of your degree when you commence the Honours Research Unit.

Bonus points in the Honours Weighted Average (HWA)

The information below is only applicable to students in legacy courses prior to 2015. Students who enrolled in a Law (Hons) degree from 2015 are not eligible for the 20% bonus.

In recognition of the high level achievement in researching and writing a thesis, a bonus 20% is added to the grade obtained in that unit when calculating the student's overall Honours Weighted Average.

That 20% bonus may have a significant impact upon a student's Honours Weighted Average, and could easily affect the class of honours awarded, as well as the student's ranking in the order of merit in the graduating class. See Honours classification and order of merit above.

It is possible to qualify for the degree with honours without undertaking LAW4327 Research Unit, in which students complete an honours thesis. However, students who undertake the unit receive a 20% bonus added to the grade achieved in that unit for the purposes of the HWA calculation. See Honours Research Unit below for more information.

The bonus in action

Assume a student obtains a mark of 80% for their Honours Thesis (the median result for Honours theses in 2011 was in fact 82%). For the purposes of ascertaining the student's Honours Weighted Average (HWA), the thesis mark of 80% will count as a mark of 96% (80% + (20% * 80%)). More accurately, since the Honours Research Unit is a 12 point subject, it will count as the equivalent of marks of 96% in two (6 point) units.

Because of that weighting, a student who is doing a 156 credit point LLB as part of a combined degree, and who receives 80% for the Honours thesis, will receive a bonus of 1.23 marks in calculating the HWA.

That bonus of 1.23 marks could be crucial to the class of honours a student obtains, since only two marks separate each class of honours award. (see table of numerical values of HWAs for each class of honours, See Honours classification and order of merit above).

Further examples:

Honours thesis markBonus marks in HWA
75% 1.15
85% 1.38

In each case, the bonus will not necessarily, but might well, catapult the student into the award of a higher class of honours.

Applying for the Honours Research Unit - LAW4327

If you would like to commence the Honours Research Unit in 2020 you must lodge your application by Friday 29th November 2019.

Applications will be assessed once semester 2 results are released.

Apply here for 2020 - TBA

Honours Information Session 2020 - TBA

Successful applicants will be notified via e-mail mid December 2019 for 2020 intake.

You will then, in consultation with a member of staff, be required to develop a research proposal, which will be submitted for approval by the Director of the Honours Program.

Contact information

For further information about the Honours program, please contact:

Phone: Monash Connect Contact Centre on 1800 MONASH (1800 666 274)

Online: Ask.Monash

Professor Graeme Hodge
Convenor, Honours Program 
Phone: +61 3 9905 3336
Email: graeme.hodge@monash.edu