Requirements for Honours


Each student is assigned to a particular supervisor for the course. During the year the student will carry out laboratory work on a problem selected by the supervisor, participate in a program of discussion sessions, and present seminars. A number of groups of students participate in this program: BMedSc, BSc, BSc(Med), BSc(Dent), MSc(Prelim), MSc(Qual) and GradDipSci. Collectively the program is loosely referred to as the "Honours Course". The discussion sessions are known as the "Honours Sessions".

Honours Sessions

Each week in semester 1 and 2 a session will be held that all students must attend. In the first semester, these sessions will begin with discussions on the requirements for the Honours Course. Subsequent sessions will consist of short talks given by each student on aspects of their project. Each student will probably give two such presentations: the first describing the background to and purpose of the project, and suggesting ways of tackling the problem; the second will deal with experimental methods.

In the second semester each student will give one or more progress reports on the project.

The student presentations are designed to be informal, with plenty of opportunity for interruptions to ensure all members of the group understand the topic under consideration. The schedule is necessarily a little flexible. Generally sessions will last one to one and one half hours.

In the latter part of the first semester and at the beginning of the second semester there may be some talks by members of staff mainly concerned with research techniques. Sessions on particular topics of concern to the group can usually be arranged.

In all sessions, students are encouraged to ask questions and to participate in the discussion. By these means it is hoped that students will gain confidence in talking about their own work and will acquire experience in the critical evaluation of their own and others' research.


Each student will be required to write and submit an essay during the first three months of the year's work. The essay, in a revised form, may later constitute the introduction to the thesis. It is intended that the essay should relate directly to the student's research project. It should clearly state the aim of the project, present the background material, describe the approach that will be taken in reaching the desired goals and explain the significance of the project. The purpose of this essay is:

  • to ensure that the student carries out the background reading for their project before becoming completely submerged in experimental work;
  • to ensure that each student learns how to use the research amenities of the library (Catalogue, Index Medicus, Citation Index, Current Contents, etc.);
  • to encourage the student to approach published work critically; and
  • to give the student an early opportunity to master the technical problems related to the production of the thesis itself, particularly scientific writing and the citation of references.

The essay should not exceed 3,000 words in length (approx 9 pages double spaced excluding refs.). It shall be typewritten but not be bound. The submission date must be by the date advertised. Extensions will not be permitted, except in the most exceptional circumstances, and by prior agreement from the Honours coordinator. Two copies of the essay are required. One copy is to be handed to the student's supervisor for comment and the second copy is to be handed to the course supervisor who will arrange for an appropriate member of the academic staff to read it. After criticism, a revised and updated essay may be submitted as the introduction to the thesis. It is, of course, recognised that during the year the research project may change; nevertheless this in no way reduces the importance of the essay.

Failure to submit an introductory essay could result in a loss of up to 5% of the final mark.


The student will prepare a thesis summarising their laboratory work. The submission dates advertised must be observed. There are two principal reasons for stressing this:

  • So that there will be adequate time for the staff of the department to read and assess each thesis without undue haste.
  • So that: in the case of BMedSc(Hons), BSc(Hons), MSc(Prelim), MSc(Qual) and GradDipSci students, the result for the year may be submitted in time for the Faculty of Science Board of Examiners meeting, the timing of which is controlled by the need to supply results to the Commonwealth Government for consideration for scholarships; and so that BSc(Med) students can devote themselves to their studies in the semester after they leave the Department - it is essential that they be not distracted from their clinical work by continued commitment to this Department.

Producing your thesis

  • Theses must not exceed 15,000 words (Approx 46 pages double spaced exc. Refs). A declaration of the actual word count MUST be provided within the compliance statement (Appendix 4) to be included at the beginning of the thesis. Bibliography, acknowledgements and legends to figures are not included in this figure.
  • Legends to figures and tables should appear on the same page as the relevant figure wherever possible; the pages devoted to figures is not to exceed 24 in number.
  • Bibliographic references in the text must state the author's names (the expression 'et al.' should be used where more than two authors) and the year; referencing may not be made by numbers and should follow the Harvard referencing style.
  • There should be an Acknowledgement that formally records those who have in any way contributed to the project.
  • There should also be a statement that documents the extent to which experiments reported in the thesis have been carried out by the student, and to what extent others have been involved. Where others have been involved the statement must specify the name of those persons and detail their involvement.
  • Appendices within the 15,000 word limit may be submitted as part of the thesis. Other appendices may be prepared separate of the thesis, but they will not be examined nor taken into account when making the assessment; such appendices may be submitted only to the supervisor and, with the approval of the supervisor, they may be bound with the thesis after the assessment and after corrections have been made.
  • Any thesis that does not comply with these rules will be returned for correction following examination.
  • Copies of each thesis must be presented soft-bound, in suitable folders (eg. standard spring-back folder). In most cases three copies will be required, but if there is more than one supervisor, additional copies may be required - discuss this possibility with your supervisors. The department will retain an electronic version of the thesis for permanent record. One copy will be returned to the student and the remaining copy (or copies) retained by the supervisor(s). Neatness and clarity in the thesis are expected. Embellishment over and above what is needed to achieve clarity will not gain the student extra credit.
  • Figures must be produced by the student.
  • Figures requiring photographic reproduction must be prepared by the students themselves, although the photography of the illustrations may be undertaken by the Photography Department.
  • Theses for the BMedSc(Hons), BSc(Hons) or GradDipSci in the Faculty of Science must be submitted by the date advertised. An application for an extension of time must be made to the Honours Coordinator before the due date. Extensions will only be made in exceptional circumstances and for not more than two weeks. Theses must be submitted by the agreed date even if incomplete. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the student's failing their degree. Assessment of the thesis will be made on the thesis as presented but we require every student to bring the thesis into a form ready for binding within one month of its return. Late submission will be taken into account in awarding marks and level of Honours.
  • To ensure that adequate time is left for writing up theses, supervisors are advised to instruct students that no laboratory experiments are to be conducted in the two months preceding submission, although histological studies may continue up to one month before submission.

Research Seminars and Log Book

During the semesters, a research seminar will be held on one day in most weeks. These seminars take the form of a 45-minute research paper followed by discussion. All students are required to attend these and complete a log book to confrim their attendance.

Student Seminars

Towards the end of the year and following thesis submission, each student will present their own data at a seminar similar to the Research Seminars. In addition, each student will present a short seminar during the first semester (usually about one week after the essay is due); the purpose of this is to explain the background to the project, the aims of the project and the research plan designed to achieve these aims.


Assessment is based on, in order of importance:

  • Thesis
  • End of Year Seminar
  • Introductory Essary
  • Log Book

Marks will be determined by a Departmental Board of Examiners based on submissions from appointed examiners. In the case of the thesis the examiners will normally include the supervisor(s), and two or more other members of the Department. In special circumstances, external examiners may be appointed. The identity of the examiners is normally confidential prior to the examiner's meeting. The essay will be marked by the supervisor(s) and at least one other member of staff. Seminars will be assessed by all staff in attendance. The first seminar is designed to give students experience in seminar presentation, and to allow for broader exposure of their project, so that suggestions and criticisms can be made. The assessment will be for the students' benefit, and will not count towards the final mark.

Award of Honours

The level of Honours awarded is determined not solely by the thesis but by the general impression that the student has created on their supervisor and on the other members of the department. This department reserves First Class Honours for the outstanding student and looks particularly for evidence of originality either in the theoretical approach to the problem or in the design and execution of experiments. To achieve first class Honours, the mark awarded by the Departmental Board of Examiners must be 80 or greater. To achieve the University medal the mark must be 90 or greater and in addition, the WAM must be 80 or greater.

Faculty of Science Honours Classes

Code Description Mark Range Comments
H1M  Honours Class I and Medal  90 to 100  The Student's performance is of first class Honours standard and justifies consideration of the award of the University Medal
H1  Honours Class I 80 to 89 The student's performance is of first class Honours standard but 
not of a standard that justifies consideration of the award of the
University Medal
H21  Honours Class II (Division 1) 75 to 79 The Student's performance is of second class Honours (Division 1) standard
H22  Honours Class II (Division 2) 70 to 74 The Student's performance is of second class Honours (Division 2) standard
H3  Honours Class III 65 to 69 The Student's performance is of third class Honours standard
Pass less than 65 The Student's performance is not such as to justify the award of Honours