Honours in Germanic Studies

Entry Requirements and Program Structure
Assessment
Seminars
Thesis
Thesis Supervision
Enrolment
Contacts
Marking

Overview

‘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 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.

Entry Requirements and Program Structure

All students may qualify for the honours year, regardless of the language level at which they commenced. Admission to honours requires 48 senior credit points of Germanic Studies of which 12 must be gained from units of study at 3000 level, and which must include completion of the major, with a credit average or above.

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.

Assessment

The Honours program in Germanic 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 two semesters.

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%. Honours is a single unified program. While you will receive marks for all pieces of assessment, your academic transcripts will record only your final, overall Honours mark.

Seminars

Students should consult with the Honours Coordinator regarding seminar offerings in the current year.

Thesis

The honours thesis constitutes an original piece of research and writing in a field that is supervised by a member of staff. It amounts to 18000 - 20000 words in either English or German, and must demonstrate both a command of a wide range of secondary source material in German, as well as a command of a particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach to the topic of the research.

Thesis Supervision

Contact the Department'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. The list below, whilst not exhaustive, gives an idea of the areas of interest of staff from the Department.

  • Dr Andrea Bandhauer supervises in Contemporary Literature in German* Comparative literature: International and Comparative Literature Studies * Late 19th and early 20th century Literature* Austrian literature (Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Musil, Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard, Elfriede Jelinek, etc. * Fiction and autobiography* Identity and alterity: Foreignness in contemporary German literature (e.g. Yoko Tawada, Emine Sevgi Özdamar) * Film
  • Dr Tristan Lay supervises in Methodology and Didactics of Foreign Languages * German as a Foreign/Second Language * Multiple Language Acquisition and Learning as well as Audio-visual Language Learning via film.
  • Prof Yixu Lu supervises in German colonialism in China * Myth and literature * Media and culture in 20th century Germany * German literature from 18th century to the present * Heinrich von Kleist.
  • Dr Cat Moir supervises in 19th and 20th century German thought (especially the Frankfurt School, German Idealism and Marxism, aesthetic theory); German Romantic literature; literature and politics (utopian literature, social drama).

Enrolment

In the first instance you should discuss your intention to apply for Honours with the Honours Coordinator. Students will enrol in GRMN4011, 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.

Contacts

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

Marking

The Department complies with the Faculty's Honours Grade Descriptors which apply to all Honours work.

Honours Grade Descriptors

80-100: First Class (I)
90+
Work demonstrating the highest levels of accomplishment and intellectual autonomy that can be expected from an undergraduate student. An overall Honours mark of 90 or higher is a requirement for the award of a University Medal, though Medals are not automatically awarded to students with overall results of 90 or more.

In many fields of the humanities and social sciences, a mark in this range indicates substantial and innovative research; wide and deep reading in the scholarly literature; sophisticated, perceptive, and original interpretations of data, documentary evidence, fieldwork, literary texts, or works of art; and a very high level of independent thought and argument.

In work written in a language other than English, a mark in this range indicates an excellent level of grammatical accuracy, syntactical sophistication, and nuance in use of vocabulary and register.

85-89
Work that demonstrates a very high level of proficiency in the methodologies, subject matter, and modes of expression and argumentation appropriate to the field or fields studied. Work in this range shows strong promise for doctoral study.

In many fields of the humanities and social sciences, a mark in this range indicates substantial original research; wide and deep reading in the scholarly literature; a very high level of skill in interpreting data, documentary evidence, fieldwork, literary texts, or works of art; and a high level of independent thought.

In work written in a language other than English, a mark in this range indicates a very high level of grammatical accuracy with only some mistakes, as well as syntactical sophistication, and nuance in use of vocabulary and register.

80-84
Work that demonstrates a high level of proficiency in the methodologies, subject matter, and modes of expression and argumentation appropriate to the field or fields studied, and shows potential for doctoral study.

In many fields of the humanities and social sciences, a mark in this range can indicate thorough research; a firm grasp of the relevant scholarly literature; and a high level of skill in interpreting data, documentary evidence, fieldwork, literary texts, or works of art.

In work written in a language other than English, a mark in this range indicates a very high level of grammatical accuracy with few mistakes and only very rare basic errors, with vocabulary and syntax varied and expression highly coherent and well structured.

75-79: Second Class, First Division (II.1)
Work that demonstrates a generally sound knowledge of the methodologies, subject matter, and modes of expression and argumentation appropriate to the field or fields studied.

In many fields of the humanities and social sciences, a mark in this range can indicate solid research; a firm grasp of the relevant scholarly literature; and competent interpretations of data, documentary evidence, fieldwork, literary texts, or works of art. However, work in this range may also show evidence of a higher level of independent thought combined with some significant lapses in research or expression.

In work written in a language other than English, a mark in this range indicates a high standard of grammatical accuracy with few mistakes and only very rare basic errors, with vocabulary and syntax varied and expression highly coherent and well structured.

70-74: Second Class, Second Division (II.2)
Work that demonstrates an adequate but limited performance in the methodologies, subjects, and/or languages studied.

In many fields of the humanities and social sciences, a mark in this range can indicate an adequate general knowledge of the subject from the reading of both primary material and secondary literature, straightforward argumentation, and clear expression. A mark in this range may also reflect a superior performance in one or more of these areas combined with serious lapses in others.

In work written in a language other than English, a mark in this range indicates a good standard of grammatical accuracy, albeit with some mistakes, including occasional basic ones; the work shows a good grasp of complex sentence structures and an appropriately varied vocabulary.

65-69: Third Class (III)
Work only barely above the standard of pass-degree work in the field studied. A mark in this range indicates a basic but limited understanding of the methodologies and subject matter of the field or fields studied, and skills in argument and expression that are only just adequate for Honours-level study and research.

Below 65%
Honours not awarded.