Assessment requirements

Seminars and oral presentations

All Honours students are required to provide a seminar on their major Honours project and/or to engage in an oral defense of their research project thesis.

Honours thesis

The research project thesis will normally contribute up to 60% towards the final Honours mark, depending on the discipline. The Honours thesis is a training ground for learning, and demonstrating mastery of research skills. Therefore 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.

  • Electronic submission via Moodle is the only format permitted for submission of the Honours thesis. Bound copies of theses are not required.

Publication of assessment requirements

At the start of the Honours program students must be provided with an Honours Program/Unit Guide including all assessment details as outlined below:

  • The assessment regime;
  • Criteria by which each assessment task will be evaluated.
  • All thesis requirements (word or page limits, structure, conformity to conventions, both scientific and grammatical, formatting, etc.);
  • Criteria by which the thesis will be evaluated;
  • Submission dates; and
  • Penalties for late submission.

Feedback

Schools/departments must have processes in place to ensure that students receive regular and effective feedback on their progress. For example, these could include:

  • Progress meetings with a supervisor and/or Honours Coordinator at least once every fortnight for full time students and once a month for part time students. These meetings do not always need to take place face to face;
  • At least one draft but recommend no more than two drafts (written feedback) of the thesis  (excluding chapter drafts) - need to ensure the thesis is the original work of the student;
  • Formative written and/or oral assessment tasks; and
  • All other individual summative assessment tasks, including their individual marks.

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

Special consideration

Students who have been adversely affected by acute illness or other exceptional cause beyond their control, may apply for special consideration. The outcome of their application will depend on their case and the type of assessment affected, but mark adjustments will not be made under any circumstances. Eligibility criteria and application process details are available at:
http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html

Special consideration applications for in-semester assessment are lodged with and approved by the Course Coordinator of the relevant school/department. Extension of thesis submission or deferment of final assessment for Honours component units must be approved by the relevant Course Coordinator.

Late submission of assessment

A penalty of 5% per day will be applied to all individual assessment tasks of the MNHS Honours Programs, unless an extension or alternative assessment is granted through the special consideration process described above.

Marking and grading

Honours Programs

Marking of coursework

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

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.

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

All written assessment tasks contributing 10% or more to the final Honours mark should be marked by at least two members of academic staff. The discrepancies between marks should be resolved according to the procedures referred to below, under “Reconciling mark discrepancies”.

Written tasks

All written assessment tasks including literature reviews, research proposals, ethical critiques and assessment tasks other than the thesis will be assessed as per normal unit marking arrangements by the supervisor or course/honours coordinator.

Marking of the thesis

The thesis must be marked by at least two examiners. Ideally, both examiners should be external to the immediate research group however if this is not possible one examiner must be external. Supervisors should be ineligible to examine their students’ theses. Exception to this rule must be approved by the Deputy Dean (Education) on a student-by-student basis. Examiners are expected to return marks within 4 weeks of receiving the thesis/project.

In some circumstances it may be appropriate for an honours supervisor to contribute up to 10% toward the final honours mark. In awarding this mark, the supervisor should be limited to assessing the research process and not the research product (i.e. the thesis itself). This is because examiners read a research thesis but do not supervise the progression of work.  Supervisors are best placed to comment up on the project development and the quality of the students’ research work (diligence, skill, degree of help from postgraduate students or postdocs in their lab, etc.)

Reconciling mark discrepancies (Honours)

As noted above, all theses should be examined by at least two examiners, both of whom should return a recommended mark. Schools/departments should make known the procedures by which they reconcile marking disagreements. One possible model is suggested below (when two examiners are used):

  • If the difference between the two examiners' marks is less than 10% of the maximum mark available, the final mark will be the mean of the two marks.
  • If the difference is larger than 10% but less than 20%, the markers will 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, a third marker shall be appointed. Resolution of the final mark should occur through discussion between the third marker and the original markers.
  • If the difference is greater than 20%, then the Honours Coordinator will appoint a third marker. The three markers will then discuss their reasons for awarding their marks. As one outcome may be two similar marks and an outlier, it is important to allow for input from the outlying marker rather than taking a simple average or ignoring the outlier. This may entail:
  • Examining the written comments for fairness and accuracy and/or
  • Considering the experience and tendency of the markers for "hard" or "easy" marking at other times, and/or
  • Using any other information (eg. from the supervisor) that may assist in determining the reason for the unacceptably large difference.

Submission of Honours Thesis results and grades

All results must be submitted in accordance with standard coursework unit result upload processes. The deadline for uploading results in semester 1 is the first week of July and for semester 2 it is the end of November. The Honours Coordinator should set the thesis due date to ensure adequate time is given to the marking of the thesis and to also ensure that the mark and grade is returned in time to meet Faculty result uploading and Board of Examiner dates and university result release dates.

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.

The recommendation for the final Honours mark and grade for each student must be submitted to the FMNHS Board of Examiners, according to the timelines for the submission of results for the final semester of enrolment.
Marks that are not returned will be recorded as withheld (WH) until the end of the sixth 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.

Overall Honours mark and grade

In addition to the results for the individual Honours component units, students receive an overall Honours mark and grade upon completion of the program.

The overall mark is normally determined by the points-weighted average of the marks for the component units. However, schools/departments may seek approval from the Board of Examiners to use an alternative formula for calculating the final Honours mark in terms of the marks for the component units, for example based on the objectives rather than the relative workload (credit points) involved. If this request is approved of by CAPC then all students to which they are applied must be notified of this formula prior to the commencement of any assessment tasks for their Honours Program.

The overall grade of Honours is determined by the overall mark awarded. Honours degrees are graded as first class, second class or third class, with the second class further divided into two sub-classes. Such grades are referred to as:

Class of HonoursGrade awarded Range of overall mark achieved
First Class HonoursHI80+
Second Class Honours
– Division I
H2A70-79
Second Class Honours
– Division II
H2B60-69
Third Class HonoursHIII50-59

Repeating and failing Honours units

Honours candidates are not permitted to repeat any Honours component units for which they have received a fail mark and grade. Supplementary assessment is not available for any component unit of the MNHS Honours Program.

Students who do not pass all required component units for the MNHS Honours Program will not be awarded an Honours Degree or a degree with Honours. In such cases all students will receive an academic statement of their results.

Faculty Board of Examiners (BoE)

The Faculty of MNHS Board of Examiners is responsible for the approval of final marks and grades in respect of individual students for all undergraduate and postgraduate units taught by the Faculty of MNHS, including Honours level units. The Board of Examiners has responsibility to monitor the Honours grade distributions.

The Board of Examiners shall receive from the relevant unit chief examiners, through the MNHS Honours pre-BoE, recommendations for the overall 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 and shall monitor the moderation processes adopted within each school to ensure best practice. Therefore, under some circumstances, the BoE may recommend that the final results for individual students may differ from those recommended initially by the administering school/department.

To assist the Board of Examiners in meeting its responsibilities the faculty will establish a separate ‘MNHS Honours/Minor Thesis Board of Examiners’ with delegated responsibilities of the Board of Examiners for all matters related to oversight of all MNHS Honours Programs and Minor Thesis Units at all campuses, prior to their subsequent formal ratification by the Faculty Board of Examiners.