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Honours administrative procedures

Honours (Undergraduate)


Students with strong academic records may choose to undertake an additional year of study in the form of a fourth year honours program. Honours award courses are available in most subject areas offered by the Business School. In all cases, an additional year of study is spent entirely on that subject area.

Honours preparation units of study

To enrol in second and third year honours preparation units of study:

  1. Disciplines send eligible students a letter inviting them to join the honours program with details about what honours preparation units they should enrol in.
  2. If the student wishes to enter the honours program, the student is required to bring the letter to the Staff and Student Services office and enrol in the honours preparation unit/s of study for that particular Discipline.

Final Honours Year

Entry requirements

  1. The minimum entry requirement for all Honours Year programs in the Business School is a completed pass degree with a minimum Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of 65 per cent across all units of study taken, and a minimum of 70 per cent in units completed in the major relating to the intended Honours Year.
  2. Students are required to have a major in the field of study in which they intend to undertake their Honours Year.
  3. Disciplines may require a higher academic standard and/or require specified pre-Honours units of study. Where additional Discipline requirements are imposed these will be specified on the Discipline Honours website.
  4. Disciplines may admit to their Honours program a student who has studied at an institution other than the University of Sydney.
  5. Other entry requirements may only be waived for an individual student by the Associate Dean (UG), who will only do so in exceptional circumstances.

Continuation in the program

Honours Coordinators will schedule a mid-year feedback session with students so that students have the opportunity to identify and discuss any issues in time for remedial action to be undertaken.

Special Consideration, Special Arrangements and extensions

  1. All applications for Special Consideration (SC) and Special Arrangements (SA) during the honours year must be handled by the Business School Special Consideration Panel.
  2. For the thesis, SC will only be awarded in extraordinary circumstances where evidence of serious and extended illness or misadventure has been provided. Short-term illness or illness occurring significantly in advance of the due date will not be adequate grounds for SC.

Late penalties

  1. Late penalties for coursework apply as specified in the unit of study (UoS) outlines.
  2. A late penalty of 5% of the total mark for the thesis will be imposed for each day or part thereof after the due date.
  3. A thesis submitted four or more weeks late will be awarded a grade of zero.

Examiner/assessment guidelines

  1. Each thesis will be independently marked by two examiners, neither of whom should be the supervisor. Each examiner will write a report outlining the reasons for the grade and providing feedback to students on their work.
  2. The final mark will be the average of the two examiners marks.
  3. A thesis should be referred to a third examiner if the variation between the two examiners marks is greater than 5%. The Business School Honours Examiners Board will review marks for all Honours students in the Business School.

Student/Supervisor Protocols

  1. A principle on which the student/supervisor agreement is based is that the student should, under normal circumstances, be able to expect continuity of supervision.
  2. An overall responsibility of the supervisor is to ensure that commitments made in respect of availability and contact are met.
  3. Students play an active role in taking responsibility for establishing the agreed methods of working with their supervisor and must fulfil their side of the agreement.
  4. Students could, depending on time and discipline staff available, play a role in choosing their supervisor.
  5. The supervisor and student should agree on the contact that will be necessary between them and this will include some agreed indicators of progress being made and ways of recording contact and progress.
  6. Students must attend agreed consultations and provide evidence of the progress being made.
  7. Timely feedback on drafts submitted can be expected as negotiated between supervisor and student.
  8. The supervisor will guide the Honours candidate in writing up a research proposal, advising on the requirements and style. This information will be conveyed to students in line with discipline convention.
  9. Students are responsible for drawing their supervisor's attention to difficulties they are having and should be aware of the Business School's appeal mechanisms (see next section).
  10. Students are responsible for ensuring that all University administrative requirements are met. For example, where applicable, re-enrolling each year and adhering to submission dates.
  11. Students are responsible for the content, style and presentation of the thesis that is finally submitted.
  12. Supervisors in most cases will confirm that a thesis is ready for final submission.


A student may appeal the result of their overall, or any component, of their Honours Year assessment, as per the Business School's Appeals Policy. The Discipline Honours Co-ordinator should be the first point of contact for any student who wishes to discuss their thesis mark.

Academic Appeals - Honours Students

This policy applies to all students undertaking final-year undergraduate Honours studies in any Discipline in the University of Sydney Business School. It recognises that appeals relating to the thesis component of the Honours Year may require consideration beyond the normal Academic Appeals policy.

Appeals relating to the coursework component of any Final Year Honours course should continue to be managed through the Business School's Academic Appeals policy, available for reference under the Appeals section in this manual.

The University's policy on honours is available to view; amended on 18 April 2007.

Academic Appeals - thesis/dissertation component of Final Year Honours

If contentious issues or problems occur between the Honours Year student, and the teaching staff and/or supervisor, it is important that these issues are resolved quickly and satisfactorily for all involved. Possible issues that could arise include those that relate to supervision and the results received. These kinds of issues may be easily resolved through an informal discussion with the honours coordinator and this should be the first step in attempting to resolve issues.

To minimise the likelihood of appeals against the final grade:

  1. Thesis assessment should have a clear marking schema which should be made freely available to supervisors, examiners and students. The schema should be included in printed information given to students at the start of their Honours Year.
  2. In line with emerging standards elsewhere, honours thesis supervisors will generally not be used as honours thesis markers.
  3. Supervisors, however, will have the right to respond to grades awarded to the thesis.
  4. All students are able to have access to the reports of their thesis markers. There is no minimum length of report required from thesis markers, but the report must indicate the basis for the final mark recommended.

If an appeal is received:

Informal Process

  1. A student wishing to appeal should do so within three months (this is University policy - see Student Appeals Against Academic Decisions, Section 6(1)) of the date of release of results. The student should first discuss the issue informally with the honours coordinator. To organise an informal meeting, the student must submit a file note (available from the SIO or Discipline) at the relevant Discipline office. The honours coordinator concerned will then contact the student to make an appointment to review their case.
  2. The honours coordinator should then deal with the issue promptly, with reference to the examiner's reports. Given the time and effort most students expend on the thesis, detailed discussion of the points raised by the examiners may be necessary. Many complaints should be resolved at this stage.
  3. The honours coordinator should complete and hold the file note submitted by the student. This note should summarise the nature of the student appeal and the final decision. A copy of the file note is given to the student and the original is forwarded to the Discipline Office to be filed in a secure manner.
  4. If the student's concerns are not resolved at the end of Stage 1, the honours coordinator advises the student about the formal appeals process.

Formal Process

If the appeal cannot be resolved at an informal level, the standard formal process should be commenced. The first point of formal appeal is the Director of Academic Appeals. Details of the formal process are available under the Appeals section in this manual.

The Director of Academic Appeals will consider the appeal on procedural grounds only. Academic judgement will not be questioned. For example, if clear marking criteria were published and made available to students at the outset of the Honours Year, the same criteria were used by markers,and the student had the opportunity to discuss the reasons for the final mark with the honours coordinator, an appeal against the final mark for a thesis would be unlikely to succeed.