Thesis, project & honours, practical experience, WAMs, career

For Pre-enrolment: Initially everyone enrols in Project for both semesters (CIVL4024 & 4025). Those on the honours path will be identified within the first week of Semester 1 and transferred to thesis (CIVL4022 & 4023).

We usually hold an information session each year in October for students about to enter 4th year to help you understand project, honours, work experience and electives.


The University awards honours at graduation to students who achieved a high level of academic performance throughout their degree, including a significant research component of the research thesis.

The level of award of Honours is based on the Honours Weighted Average Mark (HWAM).

Completing the honours research thesis CIVL4022 & 4023 is an essential component of obtaining honours. You will not gain honours if you are not enrolled in thesis, no matter how good your marks or report are.

Entry to Honours

Students are invited to do Honours in the first week of their final full year based on their HWAM at that time being over 65. Here "final full year" means the calendar year in which the student is enrolled in project/thesis.

Research Thesis or Project

Honours Thesis or Engineering Project is a core requirement for all students. It is generally taken in the last full-year of study.

The prerequisite is successful completion of 30 credit points of 3rd or 4th year units of study.

  • There is no significant difference between the two subjects in terms of expectations or procedure, except that all Honours Thesis research topics have to contain a genuine research component, and these can be expected to be more intellectually challenging projects.
  • For pre-enrolment purposes you should enrol in the pass-level Engineering Project units of study (CIVL4024 and CIVL4025). Students with a current HWAM greater than 65 will be invited to enrol in CIVL4022 Honours Thesis A/CIVL4023 Honours Thesis B in the first week of first semester.
  • Students will work in groups of 2 for Honours Thesis and 2-3 for Engineering Project. It is possible to have students enrolled in the Pass and Honours thesis units working on the same topic, but special permission from the thesis coordinator is required.
  • Selection of thesis topics and groupings will occur in the first week of semester 1 each year.
  • Units are taken consecutively in Semesters 1 & 2.
  • In rare circumstances and with special permission, they can be enrolled in Semester 2 then Semester 1. With this arrangement supervision will generally not be available over the summer break, and only a limited choice of topics will be provided. Special permission is required from the thesis co-ordinator.
  • For students who anticipate finishing their degree in Semester 1 of a given year, it is strongly recommended that they take Thesis in the preceding year and complete outstanding core/elective units of study in the final semester.
  • Permission to complete the two units in a single semester will only be given in the case of exceptional and unforeseen reasons.

Choosing a thesis topic and thesis partners
You will receive a list of thesis topics and the respective supervisors and topic selection form before week 1 and you will apply by the start of week 1 for one of those topics. Most students find their own partner(s) and apply for one of the topics together. The thesis co-ordinator will help students who cannot find a partner.

Rules for partnering: Students enrolled in a stream must partner with someone in the same stream. Students not in a stream must enrol with other students not in a stream. Pass students must partner with pass students (in groups of 3) and honours students with honours students (in groups of 2). Any deviation from these rules needs approval from both the thesis topic supervisor and the thesis co-ordinator.

Rules for Choosing a topic: Students in a stream will be given preference in choosing topics within that stream. Students not enrolled in a stream should not expect to be given a thesis topic in their desired area. It is possible to pre-arrange a thesis topic (and group) with a supervisor prior to the commencement of the semester provided the topic and partnering rules are followed.

Can I choose my own topic? Yes, provided a Civil Supervisor has assessed and accepted it. Some students have had fascinating topics which they have worked out themselves due to specific research interests or opportunities. For example one team studied fog collection projects in Peru, another student researched mine shoring, a topic which came from his practical experience. In such cases you need to find a Civil supervisor who will agree to it, and this should be done well-before the semester commences.

Honours Thesis and Engineering Project Guidelines -2014


What is WAM?
A Weighted Average Mark (WAM) is the average mark in the units of study completed by a student, weighted according to the credit point value and academic level of the particular unit.

WAM = SUM(Mark*Credit Point*Weight)/SUM(Credit Point*Weight)

Weight is 1 for 1000 units; 2 for 2000 units; 3 for 3000 units; and 4 for 4000 and 5000 units.

IN ENGINEERING 1000 level units have a weight of zero.

All units where a result has been recorded, including Discontinued Fail, Absent Fail and PCON (but not W or DNF) are included in the calculation.

What is HWAM?
HWAM is your WAM for all units except 1000 level units, and the research project/thesis is counted double (ie the weight is 8 for CIVL4022/4023/4024/4025).

What are WAM and HWAM used for?
WAM may be used by the Faculty for the purposes of assessing students' annual level of achievement in an Advanced degree or determining eligibility for prizes and scholarships.
HWAM is used to determine eligibility for entry into Honours and the level of honours awarded.

What is my GPA, GWAM and ISWAM?
GPA refers to grade point average and is used by some other institutions in a similar way to the way the Faculty of Engineering uses the WAM and HWAM. The Faculty of Engineering does not use GPA and will not be able to provide you with a GPA. If you are asked for a GPA you must contact the institution that you are applying to for more information about their formula and apply it to your own grades.

GWAM is no longer relevant. ISWAM is the WAM applied only to 2000 and 3000 level units but is no longer used.
See the Engineering Faculty Handbook for the formal resolutions.

Practical Experience

For more information on practical experience, visit

Many students find the practical experience the most valuable unit in their degree: it throws light on many of the professional skills they have been studying.

ENGG4000 Practical Experience is a Faculty subject. It is your responsibility to secure your own position and complete the administrative requirements to the satisfaction of Faculty. Enrolment is usually in the first semester of your final year however the administrative requirements are usually done in the semester before that because the practical experience occurs in the break before your final year. Refer to CUSP and the Faculty Web Information for more information and tips on gaining a position.

Questions about the administrative aspects of ENGG4000 should be directed to the Faculty Student Centre.

Questions about the engineering or civil requirements of the practical experience should be directed to the Civil Approver of Practical Experience.

If you attend any interviews with prospective practical experience companies make sure you take the correct forms which the company representative must complete.

Your Career

How will elective choice affect your career? For some it will have no effect whatsoever and for others it will determine what field of Civil Engineering they will enter. Different employers may place more or less emphasis on specific subjects studied or a specialisation stream.

Some students who prove themselves in the 12 week work placement will receive an employment offer from the company.

We recommend that you attend the engineering careers fair held at the beginning of each year, and make use of the University Careers Centre

Useful Websites