Honours

Honours in the BSc (including all streams and combined degrees), BMedSc and BLAS

Admission

To qualify to enrol in an Honours course, students shall:

  • have qualified for the award of a relevant pass degree from the Faculty of Science, or
  • be a pass graduate of the Faculty of Science, or
  • be a pass graduate holding an equivalent qualification from another institution, and

have achieved either:

  • a SCIWAM of at least 65 (or equivalent at another institution);or
  • a credit average in 48 credit points in relevant intermediate and senior science units of study as determined by the School concerned;

and

  • satisfy any additional criteria set by the Head of Department concerned
  • have completed a minimum of 24 credit points of Senior units of study relating to the intended Honours course (or equivalent at another institution)

You should also note the following:

  • Students shall complete the requirements for the Honours course full-time over two consecutive semesters. If the faculty is satisfied that a student is unable to attempt the Honours course on a full-time basis and if the Head of Department concerned so recommends, permission may be granted to undertake Honours half-time over four consecutive semesters.
  • Not all departments offer students part time enrolment in Honours, or Honours enrolment commencing in the July semester. Students considering these types of Honours enrolments are urged to contact the department concerned.
  • A student may not re-attempt an Honours course in a single subject area. A student who is qualified to enrol in two Honours courses may either complete the Honours courses in the two subject areas separately and in succession, or complete a joint Honours course, equivalent to an Honours course in a single subject area, in the two subject areas.
  • A joint Honours course shall comprise such parts of the two Honours courses as may be decided by the Dean.
  • An interdisciplinary Honours course shall comprise such parts as determined by the Coordinating Committee for the interdisciplinary course.
SCIWAM for all degrees

SCIWAM means the weighted average mark calculated by the faculty from the results for all intermediate and senior units of study with a weighting of 2 for intermediate units and 3 for senior units.

The SCIWAM is calculated by summing the products of the marks achieved and the weighted credit point values of the units of study taken in the degree and then dividing by the sum of the weighted credit point values, with all attempts at units of study being included in the calculation, except where units of study are discontinued with permission; the formula used is:

 

  Calculating SCIWAMs    
   
SCIWAM =
   sum(Wc x Mc)  
   sum(Wc)

where Wc is the weighted credit point value, ie, the product of the credit point value and level of weighting of 2 for 2000–2999 units of study and 3 for 3000–3999 units of study; where Mc is the mark out of 100 for the unit of study.

In calculating the SCIWAM for a student transferring from another university, units of study are assigned level weightings and credit point values consistent with their equivalent units of study at the University of Sydney.

A mark is assigned to each unit of study credited based on the results provided on a validated academic transcript from the University. Where no mark is provided by the institution an appropriate estimate is used. Students are encouraged to obtain actual marks from departments at those universities that do not issue formal marks.

Ranking for postgraduate scholarships

For the purposes of ranking for APAs and UPAs at the University of Sydney the final ranking mark consists of the SCIWAM and/or Honours 1 (or Honours 1 equivalent) mark and Research Potential Indicator.

The use of these components is based on whether the applicant has attained an Honours 1 degree, has completed his/her most recent studies within the last five years by the time the scholarship is being awarded, and the extent of any relevant research/professional experience. A greater weight is given to the Honours 1 (or H1E) mark. More information can be found on the Research Office's website.

Honours in the BPsych

Admission

To qualify to enrol in the Honours course, students shall have completed 144 credit points as specified in Resolution 5 (1) of the BPsych including completion of all intermediate and senior units of study in Psychology with an average grade of Distinction or better.

You should also note the following:

  • Students shall complete the requirements for the Honours course full-time over two consecutive semesters. If the faculty is satisfied that a student is unable to attempt the Honours course on a full-time basis and if the Head of School of Psychology so recommends, permission may be granted to undertake Honours half-time over four consecutive semesters. A student may not re-attempt an Honours course.

Determination of marks and grades

To qualify for the award of an Honours degree, students shall complete 48 credit points of Honours units of study in the table of Honours units of study, as prescribed by the Head of Department concerned.

The grade of Honours and the Honours mark are determined by performance in the Honours course.

Departments and schools are required to make recommendations concerning Honours marks and grades of Honours for consideration by the faculty. Final marks and grades of Honours are determined by biannual Honours meetings of department and school representatives of the faculty to ensure consistency across the faculty. Therefore final results for individual students may differ from those recommended.

The faculty is aware that, because the Honours units of study in some departments are wholly or predominantly formal course work and in others a research project, and because some subjects are not taught until well into the undergraduate program, the way in which departments take cognisance of performance in the Honours year in arriving at a recommendation for a grade of Honours must be left to their discretion. However the faculty has established a set of guidelines for departments to use in determining their recommendations.

The faculty has adopted the following guidelines for assessment of student performance in Honours:

95-100

Outstanding First Class quality of clear medal standard, demonstrating independent thought throughout, a flair for the subject, comprehensive knowledge of the subject area and a level of achievement similar to that expected by first rate academic journals. This mark reflects an exceptional achievement with a high degree of initiative and self-reliance, considerable student input into the direction of the study, and critical evaluation of the established work in the area.

90-94

Very high standard of work similar to above but overall performance is borderline for award of a medal. Lower level of performance in certain categories or areas of study above.

Note that in order to qualify for the award of a university medal, it is necessary but not sufficient for a candidate to achieve a SCIWAM of 80 or greater and an Honours mark of 90 or greater. Faculty has agreed that more than one medal may be awarded in the subject of an Honours course.

The relevant Senate Resolution reads: "A candidate with an outstanding performance in the subject of an Honours course shall, if deemed of sufficient merit by the Faculty, receive a bronze medal."

Students with an Honours mark of 90 or greater and a SCIWAM of 77 to 79 inclusive may be considered for the award of a university medal only if it can be demonstrated that their WAM was affected by sickness, misadventure, unusual workload or choice of units of study.

80-89

Clear First Class quality, showing a command of the field both broad and deep, with the presentation of some novel insights. Student will have shown a solid foundation of conceptual thought and a breadth of factual knowledge of the discipline, clear familiarity with and ability to use central methodology and experimental practices of the discipline, and clear evidence of some independence of thought in the subject area.

Some student input into the direction of the study or development of techniques, and critical discussion of the outcomes.

75-79

Second class Honours, first division – student will have shown a command of the theory and practice of the discipline. They will have demonstrated their ability to conduct work at an independent level and complete tasks in a timely manner, and have an adequate understanding of the background factual basis of the subject. Student shows some initiative but is more reliant on other people for ideas and techniques and project is dependent on supervisor's suggestions. Student is dedicated to work and capable of undertaking a higher degree.

70-74

Second class Honours, second division – student is proficient in the theory and practice of their discipline but has not developed complete independence of thought, practical mastery or clarity of presentation. Student shows adequate but limited understanding of the topic and has largely followed the direction of the supervisor.

65-69

Third class Honours – performance indicates that the student has successfully completed the work, but at a standard barely meeting Honours criteria. The student's understanding of the topic is extremely limited and they have shown little or no independence of thought or performance.

0-64

The student's performance in fourth year is not such as to justify the award of Honours.

Honours

Examiners are also asked to return their recommendation for the grade of Honours to be awarded bearing in mind the Honours mark and the faculty's guidelines for the award of Honours which are listed below.

The examiners' recommendations are to be indicated on the examination result sheets by the use of the following valid symbols:

 

 

 

H1

Honours Class I

80+

H21

Honours Class II (Division 1)

75–79

H22

Honours Class II (Division 2)

70–74

H3

Honours Class III

65–69

F

Fail *

below 65

AF

Absent Fail

* In these cases the award of the Pass degree is recommended.

Note:
  1. The biannual Honours meetings of the department and school representatives of the faculty shall consider a motion that those recommendations from the departments and schools that accord with the faculty's guidelines for the award of Honours and medal be approved. Cases where the recommendations do not accord with the guidelines will be considered individually; and departments and schools will be required to have a representative present with the authority to make revised recommendations if requested to do so at the biannual Honours meetings of departmental and school representatives of the faculty.
  2. In order to qualify for the award of a University medal, it is necessary but not sufficient for a candidate to achieve a WAM of 80 or greater and an Honours mark of 90 or greater. Faculty has agreed that more than one medal may be awarded in the subject of an Honours course. The relevant Senate Resolution reads "A candidate with an outstanding performance in the subject of an Honours course shall, if deemed of sufficient merit by the Faculty, receive a bronze medal". Students with an Honours mark of 90 or greater and a WAM of 77 to 79 inclusive may be considered for the award of a University medal only if it can be demonstrated that their WAM was affected by sickness, misadventure, unusual workload or choice of units of study.
  3. In order to qualify for Honours Class 1, a candidate must achieve an Honours mark of 80 or greater.
  4. The rolling five year average mark difference (student Honours mark minus SCIWAM) for each department and school should fall within the range 10 plus or minus 2. A department or school whose rolling five year average mark difference in any year falls above or below this range is required to justify its recommended marks for that year to the July Semester Honours meetings of departmental and school representatives of the faculty. Each department or school should each year present a plot of SCIWAM versus Honours mark for its Honours student cohort. It is not acceptable to balance inflated marks for some students with low marks for other students.
  5. Equivalent Honours grades are not awarded to Graduate Diploma in Science students by the biannual Honours meetings of departmental and school representatives of the faculty but can be determined by the Scholarships Ranking Meeting if the student qualifies for an equivalent grade and applies for an APA scholarship.
Biannual Honours meetings of Departmental and School representatives of the Faculty

Biannual Honours meetings of Departmental and School representatives of the Faculty will be called to consider the results.

Register of results

Departments and Schools are required to make recommendations concerning marks for consideration by the biannual Honours meeting of departmental and school representatives of the faculty. Final marks are determined by the biannual Honours meetings of departmental and school representatives of the faculty so as to ensure consistency across the faculty. Therefore, final results for individual students may differ from those recommended.

A register and copies of the Honours ranking report are produced by the faculty for use by the biannual Honours meetings of departmental and school representatives of the faculty.