Honours in European Studies

‘Honours’ is an intensive year-long program of advanced study with research at its centre. The Honours year enables students to engage with the subject of their major in depth by undertaking research of their own, under the supervision of an expert in the their field. For some students, Honours is the culmination of their formal education while for other students, Honours is the first step on the path to careers as professional researchers and academics. Many staff in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences find Honours teaching the most rewarding part of their job.

Entry Requirements and Program Structure

Intending Honours students must complete 48 senior credit points in the subject area including the requirements for the major and 12 additional senior credit points with a credit average or above. Students intending to do honours are encouraged to make use of their proficiency in relevant European languages and to consider cognate units in relevant language disciplines.

The Honours program consists of two seminars and an 18,000-20,000 word thesis. As with the undergraduate European Studies major, all units and the thesis will be in English. However we encourage students with European or other relevant language proficiency to utilise sources in that language for their thesis research, and to substitute European-language Honours-level coursework in their coursework component.

Students whose bachelor's degree was undertaken at another university, or students who completed their bachelor's degrees at the University of Sydney more than two years ago should contact the Honours Coordinator to discuss whether the classes they have taken are equivalent to these prerequisites.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.


The Honours program in European Studies consists of:

  1. a thesis written under the supervision of one or more members of academic staff
  2. two seminars that meet weekly for two hours for one semester.

The thesis should be of 18000 - 20000 words in length. Each seminar requires 6000 - 8000 words of written work or its equivalent. The thesis is worth 60% of the final Honours mark and each of the seminars is worth 20%. While you will receive marks for all pieces of assessment, your academic transcripts will record only your final, overall Honours mark.


Students should consult the Honours Coordinator for information about available coursework units.


The honours thesis constitutes an original piece of research and writing in a field that can be supervised by a member of staff. It must demonstrate both a command of a wide range of secondary source material in European studies, as well as a command of a particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach to the topic of the research.

The European Studies program accepts topics such as the following:

  • A Vision for England: The Utopian Ideas of E.M. Forster
  • Northern Ireland's New Hero: Cinematic Representations of the IRA Volunteer in the Films, "The Boxer," "In the Name of the Father" and "The Crying Game."
  • An Exploration of Literature, Post-Totalitarianism and and Civil Society through Vaclav Havel's Essay, "The Power of the Powerless" and his plays
  • What is Oblomovism? The Origins of a National Stereotype in Goncharev's Oblomov and its Reception in Russian Literature and Criticism
  • The Children of Job: The Inter-relationship between History, Memory and Personal Identity in the Lives of Second-Generation Holocaust Survivors
  • Manipulated Realities: Understanding Peter Handke’s idealization of Yugoslavia and Serbia
  • The Laboratory of Twilight: Milan Kundera and Central Europe
  • "Joy Beyond the Walls of the World": The Function of Consolation in Children's Literature using Concepts Developed by Tolkien and Bettelheim
  • The Philosophical Importance of Literature: A Contemporary Humanist Perspective
  • Unexpected Residents: Turkish Migration and Settlement in the Netherlands
  • Conformity, Culpability and the Dialectic of Causality: The Quest for Christa T. and the human cost of "real existing socialism"
  • The Bridge as Metaphor: Narrative Techniques in Ivo Andric's "The Bridge over the Drina"
  • Concord in Kosovo? Prospects for Peace under the Ahtisaari Proposal

Thesis Supervision

Contact the Program's Honours Coordinator to discuss your preferred field of Honours study. The Honours Coordinator will then be able to suggest the most appropriate member of staff within the department to supervise the thesis.


In the first instance you should discuss your intention to apply for Honours with the Honours Coordinator. Students will enrol in EUST4011, 4012, 4013 and 4014. These, however, are merely generic or ‘shell’ units for your coursework component.

Enrolments are completed online. Go to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Honours webpage for further information on Honours and on the online enrolment application procedure.


The Honours Coordinator can answer any queries relating to the Honours program.