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The University of Sydney

Business School Honours

Honours at the Business School

The Business School Honours Program is an additional year of intensive study that students with a superior academic record may undertake upon completion of their undergraduate degree. The program aims to produce Honours graduates who are highly motivated, organised and demonstrate superior initiative.

The Honours Program is designed to challenge and inspire the best and brightest students.

As an Honours student you will study advanced coursework topics and complete a research thesis. The coursework units have been developed to build your mastery of research methods and expertise in a given Business discipline. In completing your honours thesis you will work one-on-one with an expert in the discipline to investigate a research problem and expand the existing body of knowledge within your area of study.

Honours can fast track your future, whether you want to go into advanced research study or industry.

Business School Honours graduates join an exclusive and exceptional club. The specialist knowledge and skills developed and applied in an honours year are sought-out by employers, and set you on an upward trajectory. Our alumni are now represented throughout senior positions in academia, government and the business sector.

Success in the Honours program is driven by the applied focus of the student. If you have unanswered questions from your undergraduate pass degree, the Honours program gives you the opportunity to go further. This is the first time in your education you get to ask the questions you want to answer.

Program Structure

The Honours Program is a full time year of study commencing in semester one. The program has two components, course work and a thesis. Students develop in the coursework and thesis research expertise, analytical problem-solving skills, and written and oral communication abilities.

Honours students study three coursework units comprising a compulsory unit in research foundations and methods, and two specialisation electives. Depending on the specialisation of the student, coursework may be completed in semester one or across both semester one and two.

The thesis is a 20,000 word research-based dissertation on a topic in which the student has a strong intellectual interest. The research should identify an area for investigation which makes a relevant contribution to and extends the body of knowledge in the student's chosen domain. The quality of the research design, development of research question, application of appropriate methodologies and interpretation of findings, as well as the student's ability to effectively communicate this research are assessed in the thesis. Students will work on their thesis across their candidature in the program.

The final mark for the Honours year is derived from 40% coursework and 60% thesis. The total mark for the year corresponds to an Honours grade as determined by the University scale set out below.


First-class and considered for University Medal




Second-class (Division I)


Second-class (Division II)




Honours not awarded

Honours specialisations


Completing Honours with a specialisation in Accounting has a range of benefits. Program graduates make significant contributions to firms working in accounting, finance and management. To discuss current research areas in Accounting, contact the Discipline of Accounting honours coordinator Wai Fong Chua.

Business Analytics

To discuss current research areas in Business Analytics, contact the Discipline of Business Analytics Honours Coordinator Dr Minh-Ngoc Tran.

Business Information Systems

Students specialising in Business Information Systems in the Honours Program equip themselves with the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out research in an area of BIS. The program develops the use of a variety of research methods; knowledge of recent developments in the theory and practice of BIS; in conjunction with a supervisor identifying a research topic, research planning, implementation and evaluation; and research writing - culminating in the completion of a dissertation. These skills are highly valued by many employers.

To discuss current research areas in BIS, contact the Discipline of Business Information Systems honours coordinator Dr Catherine Hardy.

Business Law

The Honours Program objectives include the further development of students' research and writing skills by undertaking intensive training in semester I in the course work component of the Program. The course work will provide a good foundation for students to undertake independent research in semester II for their thesis. An important objective is to give students the opportunity to research in depth a topic of interest to them in an area of business law.

Staff members of Business Law have research expertise in a number of areas in which they may be interested in supervising. In addition, from time to time, staff members of Business Law may be interested in supervising particular topic areas. Students should not feel constrained by these areas and are invited to submit proposals on other topics for research in which they are interested.

To discuss current research areas in Business Law, contact the Discipline of Business Law honours coordinator Eva Huang.


An honours degree specialising in Finance at the University of Sydney Business School is a prestigious and highly sought after qualification.Since the Honours Program was introduced in 1996, the Discipline of Finance has graduated over 200 honours graduates. This elite group of alumni have gone on to excellent graduate positions with leading Investment Banks, Investment Management, Private Equity firms and other financial services organisations. A number of these students have also undertaken PhDs in Finance.

During the honours year, students work on a research thesis which allows them to develop expertise in a specific area of finance. It also provides students with considerable research experience and allows them to develop their writing skills and to develop and structure ideas. Much of the honours year involves independent learning which requires students to be highly self-motivated. Students must also develop time management skills. This experience is critical for successful careers after the honours year.

To discuss current research areas in Finance, contact the Discipline of Finance honours coordinators Dr Reuben Segara and Dr Sean Foley.

International Business

Honours study in International Business has a dual purpose. On the one hand, it is directed towards the development of the analytical and conceptual skills required to conduct independent research in the field. Those pursuing Honours from this angle may be interested in postgraduate study and an academic career, or in working as a research analyst in either the private or the public sector. On the other hand, International Business Honours also builds on and further develops the practical management skills acquired in the major program. From this perspective, the Final Honours Year adds value to an undergraduate degree and can lead to a range of opportunities in private firms, NGOs, international agencies, and government departments.

To discuss current research areas in International Business, contact the Discipline of International Business honours coordinator Massimo Garbuio.

Massimo Garbuio
Massimo’s research explore how entrepreneurs and executives think about innovation and disruption, allocate resources and make strategic decision. He invites applications from Honours students who are interested in exploring the cognitive aspects of business model innovation. Successful applicants will work with Massimo as well as other researchers and have the opportunity to apply to leading conferences in the field.

Vikas Kumar
Vikas’ research explores the (i) the increasing competitiveness of emerging market firms, (ii) unique attributes of emerging market firm internationalization, and (iii) strategy of business groups. He is specifically interested in studying the internationalization patterns of Indian companies. Potential Honours students interested in this research domain are encouraged to contact Vikas.

Stefan Volk
Stefan’s research explores how physiological processes such as sleep, pain, sickness, hunger, circadian rhythms and neural processes affect work-related outcomes such as employee performance, team processes, and leader-member relationships. Potential Honours students interested in this research domain are encouraged to contact Stefan.

Wu Zhan
Dr. Wu Zhan's research interests lie in (1) the competitive dynamics between foreign and local rivals in emerging and transition economies (2) the global innovation strategy of MNCs and (3) the application of dynamic capabilities in firm strategy. He is particularly interested in research on firms, both foreign and local, in China as the largest emerging and transition economy. Potential students are encouraged to contact Dr. Wu Zhan.


An Honours degree specialising in Marketing provides a high level of specialist training in the analytical and research skills required to solve problems in marketing practice and/or to prepare students for further studies in marketing (e.g. PhD). Past honours students from the Marketing discipline have gone on to a wide range of careers within marketing and wider business roles in world class companies including Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, AC Nielsen and Clemenger.

The honours year allows students to develop a wide range of additional skills that are highly prized by employers in industry and government. Honours graduates are recognised as possessing levels of knowledge and skill well beyond those obtained by pass degree graduates.

To discuss current research areas in Marketing, contact the Discipline of Marketing honours coordinator Associate Professor Paul Henry.

Work and Organisational Studies

Students completing an Honours year specialising in Work and Organisation Studies are SURE: Smart, Unique, Ready and Employable. The Honours year with WOS puts you in a smart cohort of like minded, clever, sharp students. As an Honours student you will develop with them and meet challenges. Honours is a unique opportunity to turn your pass degree into something very special. Completing the Honours year will give you the academic skills necessary to be ready for postgraduate study. Finally, the Honours year with WOS boosts employability. Why? Because you develop critical research and writing skills; as well as connection with business and workplace problems and challenges. Honours graduates from WOS go on to leading roles in business, consulting firms and government.

To discuss current research areas in WOS, contact the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies honours coordinator Dr Stephen Clibborn.

Workload and expectations

Students are expected to commit themselves to their coursework and thesis over their Honours candidature. As a guide, students can expect to have 10-15 class-hours per week and regular meetings with their thesis supervisor. However, success in the Honours year requires a large amount of self-study, particularly in the development and completion of the research thesis. The time each student will need to dedicate themselves to their studies will vary, though should not be less than 30 hours per week. As such, students need to consider carefully the implications of attempting outside employment in the course of the Honours program and whether they will have the time and flexibility to achieve the best outcome in their coursework and thesis.


For information on entry requirements and to apply visit:
Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)
Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies)(Honours)

2018 Key Dates

Date Details

23 February 2018

2018 Honours Orientation Day

5 March 2018

Semester 1 Classes Commence

30 August 2018

Honours Applications open for 2019

13 September 2018

University Honours Week, Business School Information Event

22 October 2018

Submission of Written Thesis

24 October 2018

3 Minute Thesis Presentations

30 November 2018 *

Honours Applications close for 2019*

* Students wishing to apply for Honours in Finance, are strongly encouraged to submit their application before the 1st November 2018.

How do I apply for scholarships?

All information on scholarships relating to Business School Honours program can be accessed under the Honours Scholarships section of the Scholarships Office website.


What are the minimum requirements for Business School Honours Program?

To enter the Honours Program you must, at a minimum, have completed a Bachelor degree in Commerce, or equivalent, with a major in the area you intend to specialise in through Honours, as well as a weighted average mark (WAM) of 65 and a WAM in your major of 70.

Can I defer my offer to the Honours Program?

No, offers to the Business School Honours Program must be accepted to the cohort year you have applied. If you are successful in your application to the program and are subsequently unable to accept you will need to reapply to be eligible for entry in future years.

I'm enrolled in a Bachelor of Economics. Am I eligible for entry to Honours in the Business School?

If you are a current University of Sydney student, you may be able to study in a Business School discipline but you need to apply for and enrol in Honours in the faculty of your undergraduate enrolment. For example, if you are enrolled in a Bachelor of Economics degree, majoring in Finance (or another Business School discipline) and wanting to further your studies in an Honours year, your application must be made with the Faculty of Arts and Social Science. Your application will be assessed on the criteria of the discipline and Faculty in which you will be studying.

Note that scholarship eligibility may be linked to the Faculty in which you are enrolled. That is, there are Business School and FASS specific scholarships. If you are enrolled in a Bachelor of Economics and intending to study in a Business School discipline for your Honours year you may not be eligible for Business School specific scholarship. Further information on scholarships can be found under Scholarships.

I'm a combined degree student (eg. B.Comm/B. Law). When can I study Honours in the Business School and what will it mean for my other degree?

You are eligible to apply to study Honours once you complete the requirements of your Bachelor of Commerce (subject to minimum entry requirements).

Most students in this situation will study Undergraduate Commerce and Honours consecutively (that is, entering Honours immediately after completing your Commerce degree), which means deferring study in your other degree for a year. Alternatively, you are eligible to apply to study Honours several years after completing your Bachelor degree.

I completed my undergraduate Commerce degree several years ago. Am I eligible to study Honours in the Business School?

It is possible to apply and be eligible for entry to Honours if you have taken a break in study since completing your Bachelor degree. As a general rule of thumb, entry to Honours is permitted if you commenced your undergraduate study less than ten years ago, subject to other requirements for entry.¿¿ If Honours is not an option but you are interested in higher degree research study, you may want to consider the Master of Philosophy degree.

How do I apply for scholarships?

All information on scholarships relating to Business School Honours can be accessed under Scholarships.

Can I receive multiple scholarships?

The University of Sydney policy states that students may hold only one primary scholarship (valued at $6,000 p.a. or more). Students may be eligible for a secondary scholarship (valued at $5,000 p.a. or under) that can be held concurrently with a primary scholarship. You will need to check the conditions of the specific scholarship/s.

What are the fees for Honours?

The fees for Honours are the same as for other Undergraduate programs studied at the Business School. Students can find more information about fees here: Finances, fees and costs

I'm completing my Bachelor's degree during Summer School and won't have my final results before applications for Honours are due. Am I still eligible?

If you are expecting to complete your Bachelor's degree in Summer School then you are still eligible to apply. The Business School will assess your application based on your completed results to date and, if there is a place for you in the program, you will receive a conditional offer. Once the offer conditions are satisfied, your offer will convert to an unconditional offer and you will be ready to enrol.

I'm completing my Bachelor's degree during Semester 1. Am I still eligible for Honours?

Yes, you are eligible to study Honours. However, there is no mid-year intake. You will need to apply to study Honours in the following year.

How is the Honours mark calculated? Does it include my other undergraduate marks?

Regarding your Honours class (first, second etc) it is calculated as a weighted average mark based exclusively on your grades in the Honours year. BUSS4001 Business Honours Research Methods is weighted 20% , BUSS4X02 Honours A and BUSS4X03 Honours B 10% each and the thesis is weighted 60%.

The only time your undergraduate grades are considered is in the awarding of the University Medal. The University Medal is awarded based on outstanding academic performance by an Honours student over their complete student enrolment.

Is the University medal always offered?

The University Medal is not necessarily awarded every year or from each discipline. Disciplines are invited to nominate students completing Honours who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance. The decision to award the University Medal is made by the Honours Board of Examiners and based on student grades in the Honours year and evidence of outstanding excellence across the candidate's complete academic career.