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Honours procedures

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Parent Policy

Course Design Policy

Crucial document: Arts Honours Thesis Cover Sheet

Definitions

Discipline Honours Coordinator: Via the Faculty intranet: Honours Committee.

Faculty Honours Convenor: Via the Faculty intranet: Honours Committee.

School Honours Coordinator: Via the Faculty intranet: Honours Committee.

 

Index
A. Honours study in the Faculty of Arts.
B. Application and admission to Honours courses.
C. Enrolment and candidature.
D. Structure of honours programs.
E. Assessment and results.
F. Grievance and dispute resolution.

 

A. Honours study in the Faculty of Arts

  1. Details of the structure of honours course, and of requirements and specific elements of honours study in Faculty-managed disciplines, is provided in the University Handbook.
  2. Honours may be taken in a single discipline (single honours) in one year of full-time study, or equivalent; in two disciplines separately (double honours) in two years of full-time study, or equivalent; or, in two disciplines conjointly (combined honours) in one year of full-time study or equivalent.
  3. Combined honours study typically involves a joint thesis across the two disciplines, with one supervisor from each discipline, as well as appropriate coursework chosen from either or both disciplines. Combined honours applications must be approved by the School Honours Coordinators of both disciplines. Combined honours options are offered at the discretion of the participating disciplines and Schools.

Responsibility: School and Faculty academic and professional staff; students.

 

B. Application and admission to Honours courses.

  1. Students applying for honours must have completed a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree with a major (48 points or equivalent; one year EFTSL) in the intended honours discipline, or in a cognate discipline approved by the School Honours Coordinator for the discipline.
  2. Students must have maintained at least a 70 distinction average in the honours discipline in at least 24 points (or equivalent) at second- and third-year level, of which at least 18 points (or equivalent) must be at third-year level.
    1. Disciplines may specify additional requirements and set more stringent standards for honours entry–these should be clearly indicated to students via appropriate channels.
  3. Entry into honours in a discipline is at the discretion of the School Honours Coordinator for that discipline.
  4. Monash students enrolled in a double degree who have not yet completed the requirements for their course must have completed at least 144 points of study, including all requirements for the Arts component of their double degree, and must have permission from the alternate faculty.
  5. The Faculty provides information for prospective honours students, including details of the application and admission procedures, via the Faculty of Arts website.
  6. Commencement of an honours year may be deferred by one or two semesters, as approved by the School Honours Coordinator. Deferment for a single semester is only possible where the School or discipline offers mid-year entry into honours.
  7. Credit for units previously studied at a fourth year level may be granted by the Faculty Honours Convenor, in consultation with relevant School and discipline staff. Students may receive no more than 24 points of credit for their honours year. Credit cannot be given for any research component of the honours year.
  8. The Faculty and University provide some scholarships for honours study, some of which require a separate application by the prospective student. Selection for faculty scholarships is overseen by the Faculty Honours Convenor, under the direction of the Associate Dean (Education).

Responsibility: Students; School Honours Coordinator; Discipline Honours Coordinator; Faculty Honours Convenor; Faculty professional staff.

 

C. Enrolment and candidature.

  1. Honours programs in the Faculty are typically completed over a one-year (two-semester) period, with students enrolled full-time.
    1. Some disciplines and Schools may offer part-time enrolment, with students completing 12 points of study in each of four semesters. Students who enrol part-time complete a thesis either in a single semester or in two consecutive semesters, typically after completing all coursework units.
    2. Permission to complete the honours thesis over more than two semesters would be granted only due to extreme circumstances beyond the student’s control. Students affected by extreme circumstances should discuss their enrolment with their School Honours Coordinator and/or the Faculty Honours Convenor.
  2. Students may be granted permission to undertake concurrent studies alongside their honours study. Students in a combined degree may take one subject (6 points) per semester from the other degree program, concurrent with a full-time honours load. Permission is granted only if past academic performance is very strong, and only with the support of discipline and School Honours Coordinators. Students seeking to complete more than 6 points of study per semester from their alternate degree program must enrol in honours on a part-time basis.
  3. Changes to a student’s honours enrolment can be made only through the submission by the student of a revised study plan, with signatures from discipline and School Honours Coordinators. The standard University calendar for census dates, etc., is applied for all honours enrolments.
  4. Students may apply for intermission from their studies for up to one semester. This application, approved only in exceptional circumstances, is made to the Faculty Honours Convenor.
  5. Discontinuation deadlines and procedures for honours students are set by the University’s calendar for undergraduate units.
  6. Complementary study is not available for honours students.
  7. Language students wishing to undertake honours study abroad should seek advice from the Faculty of Arts.

Responsibility: Students; School and discipline Honours Coordinators; Faculty Honours Convenor; Arts Student Services staff; External Students Officer.

 

D. Structure of honours programs.

  1. The honours year involves the completion of a 24 point honours thesis under supervision of appropriately-qualified teaching staff, and 24 points of honours coursework. Typically, this entails the student’s completion of two 12 point honours thesis units in sequence, and two 12 point honours coursework units.
  2. The coursework components of the Arts Honours Program will vary according to the area of specialisation but, irrespective of the weighting of assessment in those units, they should normally provide students with key specialist skills that have not been taught in their previous studies. Some of the coursework components should also relate to key generic skills that are relevant to graduates in that area, including the Monash Graduate Attributes and (particularly) the development of an advanced level of written and oral communication skills. Honours coursework components should be taught at a higher standard than level-three undergraduate units, and students should demonstrate a greater level of independent learning. The honours coursework curriculum will expose students to research and knowledge in their area of specialisation.
  3. The honours thesis is a training ground for learning, and demonstrating mastery of research skills, and it should be possible for a student to get a high mark for an outstanding command of methodology and its application to the content area of the thesis, even if the topic has been already researched in the literature. Thus the kind of originality expected would be in terms of new insights into a possibly well-established area, rather than a genuinely original research study.
    1. All students are required to provide an oral seminar or other oral engagement and presentation on their honours thesis and/or associated topics.
    2. Assessment of the honours thesis may include additional components (e.g., literature review, development and exegesis of thesis in a series of drafts, etc.). Where disciplines incorporate additional components into the assessment of a thesis, the thesis itself must be at least 10 000 words in length (or equivalent).
    3. Additional components are considered to be part of a broader project, for the purpose of determining deadlines for individual components (as per University Unit Assessment Procedures, Item B.6.3.)
  4. Supervisors are assigned to students by the School Honours Coordinator, in consultation with the Head of School, and other teaching staff.
  5. All honours units must provide unit guides. Where the units are generic (e.g., Faculty-owned thesis units) or where the one unit includes differentiation of topics and material for students in different disciplines (e.g., some School-owned coursework units), further information on School- and discipline-specific requirements must be provided by the School as part of the Honours program guide, or in the unit guide, as appropriate.
  6. The Honours program guide will include general information, including requirements for attendance at seminars etc. It will also include details for the Honours thesis: the assessment requirements for the thesis, including those that must be completed for part 1, where the thesis is completed over two semesters; all thesis requirements (word or page limits, structure, conformity to conventions, formatting, binding, etc); criteria by which the thesis will be evaluated; submission dates for semester 1 and 2; and, penalties for late submission.

Responsibility: Students; academic teaching staff; School honours Coordinator; Head of School.

 

E. Assessment and results.

  1. Each School should ensure that procedures are in place to verify marking standards in all components that contribute to the overall Honours result, to ensure that they are at Honours level. This may include double or verification marking of all, or a sample of, major assessment tasks.
    1. All failed coursework components should be verified by a second examiner.
    2. Assessment of oral presentations contributing 5% or more towards the final Honours mark should be determined by the average mark assigned by a school panel of at least two examiners. The examiners should be asked to consider the presentation according to specific criteria that should be advised to students in advance.
  2. The honours year is a research-track course. All honours theses are assessed by two examiners. Each examiner provides a mark and grade for the research, along with feedback for the student. This feedback must address the assessment criteria for the assessment item.
  3. Neither of the examiners may be the student’s supervisor. The supervisor may be allowed to mark or contribute a mark for non-thesis components worth up to 20% of the overall assessment of the thesis unit/s. In awarding these marks, the supervisor should be limited to assessing the research process and not the research product (ie. the thesis itself).
    1. Ordinarily, examiners are permanent or contract staff members from the discipline in which the thesis is submitted. An examiner from another discipline can be invited to mark a thesis if the subject matter falls within her/his particular area of expertise. In addition, external examiners from other institutions may be appointed. Where a student is completing combined honours a marker from each discipline must be chosen.
    2. Students must be given the opportunity to provide to the discipline honours coordinator names of any individual/s whom they do not wish appointed as examiners. These requests will be kept strictly confidential and will be given due consideration by both discipline and School Honours Coordinators.
  4. The two examiner marks and grades are not provided to the student. The student’s mark and grade is awarded by the School Honours Coordinator. Where the School Honours Coordinator was one of the two examiners, the mark and grade is awarded by the Head of School.
  5. Determination of the final mark and grade awarded is decided by the following process:
    1. Examiner marks differ by less than 10%: Typically, the final mark is the average of the two examiner marks. The academic responsible for awarding the final grade may exercise reasonable discretion at this point.
    2. Examiner marks differ by 10%-19%: The academic responsible for awarding the final grade must seek to have examiners reduce the difference in mark to less than 10%. The student then receives the average of the two marks. If this reconciliation is unsuccessful, a third examiner is appointed, as per (c.).
    3. Examiner marks differ by 20% or more: The academic responsible for awarding the final mark must appoint a third examiner, who will re-examine the assessment and provide a mark. The third examiner may have access to the original examiner reports, and may confer with examiners. The third examiner may take into consideration the experience and reputation of the original examiners, and may confer with the student’s supervisor, in order to understand the significant difference between the marks. The student receives the average of whichever two of the original marks and the third examiner’s mark are closest.
    4. Failing grade from one examiner: Mark reconciliation is conducted as per (b.).
  6. Where a student is enrolled into a two-part 24-point thesis:
    1. On successfully completing the first 12-point unit (Part A), the student receives an SFR grade. Once the thesis is marked, the SFR is changed to the final mark and grade for the thesis.
    2. The student may receive a WH grade for Part A. The student must then satisfy additional requirements as set by the supervisor and course coordinator, within the usual time limit (within 12 weeks of the end of the teaching period of unit offering), in order to have the WH altered to an SFR grade.
    3. The student who receives an N for Part A is deemed to have failed the thesis, and to have failed their honours year.
  7. If the student fails the thesis component they will be deemed to have failed the Honours program and will be ineligible to take out the Honours degree.
  8. If a student fails an honours coursework unit, they will be required to repeat the unit or an approved substitute unit. The student will only be eligible to receive the maximum mark/grade of 50/Pass for either unit. Please note that if a coursework unit is failed, the weighting of this unit is counted towards the calculation of the student’s overall mark. For example:
    1. A student receives 75 for each of two 12-point coursework units, and 85 for the 24-point thesis; the student receives the following overall honours grade: (75+75+85+85)/4=80/HI
    2. A student receives a 75 for one 12-point coursework unit, and receives 85 for the 24-point thesis, but fails with the second coursework unit with a mark of 0, and  must repeat that unit; this student and can receive a maximum mark of 50/P; on receiving a 50/P, the student achieves the following overall honours grade: (75+85+85+50+0)/5=59/HIII
  9. The overall Honours grade is calculated by taking the average mark of the individual components, weighted according to points value. The overall Honours grade will be reported in the following way at the end of the final semester of the honours degree:
  • N (0-49): Fail
  • HIII (50-59): Third Class Honours
  • HIIB (60-69): Second Class Honours – Division II
  • HIIA (70-79): Second Class Honours – Division I
  • HI (80-100): First Class Honours

Responsibility: School Honours Coordinators; Heads of Schools; teaching staff.

F. Grievance and dispute resolution.

  1. Given that Schools are required to establish reasonable processes for marking and grading, and the verification of mark and grade (as per E.1, above), assessment items for honours are typically not eligible for further review or remarking.
  2. Students who have concerns about the assessment of honours items may submit a grievance to the Faculty Grievance Officer, as per University policy and procedures.
  3. Prior to contacting the Faculty Grievance Officer, and as per University procedures, the student must attempt informal resolution of their concerns with relevant staff members (e.g., supervisors, course conveners and academic leaders in Schools and Centres, etc.).

Responsibility: Students; School Honours Coordinators; Heads of Schools; teaching staff.

 

Related policies and procedures

Assessment Review and Remarking Procedures (Faculty)

Coursework Enrolment Procedures (University)

Related documents and information

University Policy Use Only:

Approved: Faculty of Arts Honours Committee 02-2014.