Why do Honours?
Today's job market for scientific positions is very competitive. In fact, many entry level positions now require an
honours degree. If you have an honours degree it indicates that you probably have the following characteristics:
- Ability to conduct a through review on a subject matter completely new to you.
- Highly motivated and a self starter.
- Able to complete tasks in a timely manner.
- An understanding of how scientific research is carried out.
Ultimately, all of these characteristics combine to suggest that you are most likely a reliable worker, who may be
allowed to work independently on complex tasks, which is really where most fun in working is and what employers are
looking for. Honours is a challenging year, but all students look back on it as a very rewarding period in their life.
Why do Honours in the School of Biological Sciences?
Our honours year differs fundamentally from other Biology departments in Sydney in that the main component is research.
This means that an honours year in our school is the perfect way to find out whether you have the aptitude and ability for
research in the biological sciences. You will design and conduct an original research project in consultation with one or
more of our academic staff members. We strongly encourage our honours students to publish their work in national and
international peer reviewed journals. And indeed many of them do. Having one or more publications will greatly increase
your chances of obtaining an APA or UPA.
The School of Biological Sciences awards a number of prizes to our honours students. Such a prize will be an important
addition to your CV.
What's involved in Honours?
- Train students to carry out independent research.
- Enable students to develop a specialist understanding of one area of biology.
- Integrate specialist knowledge into a broad appreciation of biology.
- Enable students to research biology using skills in research methodology and philosopy.
- Continue to engender and encourage enthusiasm and curiosity in biology.
Biology Honours is run as a one year full-time course and is a very intensive 2 semester (9 month) program that
includes coursework and research. The School of Biological Sciences accepts students in both semesters. Many projects
that have a large field component start in July so that field work may be conducted over the summer. The coursework
component is the smallest component, comprising only 20% of the final mark.
A majority of your final mark, 80%, comes from your thesis. Your thesis is comprised of original research which
through the guidance of your supervisor you have developed, carried out, and written up. Your thesis will be assessed
by three academics, usually within the School of Biological Sciences.
||Weight of total honours mark
|1. Research & Development Proposal
|2. Experimental Design Assessment
|3. Opinion Article
When does Honours begin?
Students can begin Honours in either semester, but you need to be aware that Honours starts before the regular semester
start. The starting dates (attendance is mandatory and there are compulsory workshops on several days for the first 6
- Semester 1: 29 January 2013 (date TBC)
- Semester 2: 23 July 2013 (date TBC)
Starting dates are confirmed once the dates for the Introduction to Animal Research course, conducted by the University
Animal Ethics Committee, are released. This course is compulsory for students working on vertebrates.
You should discuss the semester that you start honours with your supervisor as many projects have field work that can
only be done during certain times of the year.
How do I qualify for Honours?
The Faculty of Science requires that to enrol in an Honours unit of study you must have satisfied all the requirements
for a pass degree and be considered by the Head of School to have the required aptitude and knowledge for Honours. In the
School of Biological Sciences, the Head's decision is based on advice given by the Honours Executive Committee. A
prospective student should have:
- a major in one of the Life Sciences (not necessarily Biology);
- an average grade of at least a Credit in 12 or more credit points of Senior Life Sciences subjects;
- a minimum WAM (weighted average mark) of 65 for all Intermediate and Senior units of study attempted; and
- you must have a provisional acceptance of project supervision by at least one academic (School enrolment form).
How do I qualify for Graduate Diploma?
The Graduate Diploma in Science is offered as a full-time course with the same content, structure and assessment as
Biology Honours. In addition, the Graduate Diploma is offered as a two-year part-time course. The Graduate Diploma attracts
fees. More information is available on the Graduate
Diploma in Science page.
Entry into the Graduate Diploma program in the School of Biological Sciences will require academic qualification similar
to those for entry into Honours, with the exception that students may have a WAM below 65 (64-60). The research element
can then commence with the agreement of the supervisor and the Executive Committee.
Part-time students will be expected to present their "final seminar" and submit their thesis for examination by the
same deadlines as the full-time students in the 2nd year of study. Students successfully completing the Graduate Diploma
in Science are eligible for consideration in the MSc. and PhD. programs. The permission of the Head of School is required,
however, for entry.
How do I apply?