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Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

University of Sydney

About the Course

The Bachelor of Arts honours year is both a preparation for postgraduate study and a capstone to an undergraduate degree. Honours can be the culmination of your formal education, an experience that extends your intellectual range, hones your research abilities, as well as analytical and communication techniques, and helps you to develop the personal and professional skills needed to see a research project though to completion.

Honours can also be the first step on a path to a career as an academic or professional researcher. The honours year comprises seminar classes and work toward a short thesis on an independent research project under the supervision of an academic staff member who is an expert in the field of your research.

The following Honours subject areas are not available for mid-year entry: Ancient History, Classical Studies, Greek (Ancient), History and Latin.


Typical workload and assessment

Each honours year involves a mix of seminars and a thesis. Some honours years require three seminars and a shorter thesis (12,000-15,000 words). Others involve two seminars and a longer thesis, up to 20,000 words. Seminar work is marked by the academic staff member leading the class. In some departments, a second academic staff member will mark work written for seminars. A thesis is read by at least two academics in the field other than the student's supervisor. Examiners write detailed reports on each thesis, which the student receives, and assign a tentative grade. The final grades for each thesis are decided by the department or program staff collectively. Each department or program ranks all honours candidates based on their thesis and seminar results. These departmental results and nominations for the University Medals are then considered by the Faculty Honours Board, which includes the Honours Coordinators from every department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Honours awards and classes

The classes of honours awarded are: 
Honours Class I (where the Honours mark is in the range of 80 - 100), 
Honours Class II Division 1 (75 - 79), 
Honours Class II Division 2 (70 - 74), 
Honours Class III (65 - 69), Pass (50 - 64)

Ethics and honours research

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences administers an Honours Ethics Committee that processes all honours-level ethics applications on behalf of the University Ethics Office. As a general principle, any research involving human subjects requires ethics approval, including projects involving the following kinds of methodologies (note: the list is not exhaustive): 1. questionnaires; 2. surveys or interviews (including oral history); 3. telephone interviewing; 4. recording by audio- or video-tape; 5. observations of behaviour (including ethnographic fieldwork).
Please note that a key part of the approval process involves ensuring that the University complies with its duty of care to students. Safety protocols must be prepared for all students conducting any research off-campus, whether in Australia or overseas.

Applying for ethics clearance

The procedure to have your honours thesis ethic proposal considered by the Faculty Honours Ethics Committee is as follows: 1. Fill out the standard ethics clearance form. Make sure you use the correct form for Humanities and Sciences Research Involving Humans. 2. Note that student projects that involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and/or research involving children are not covered by this scheme. These proposals must still go to the University Ethics Committee. 3. The Faculty Committee may still forward some difficult ethics submissions to the University Ethics Committee for consideration. 4. Submit one original application, including attachments (unstapled) and printed on one side only plus five (5) copies , including attachments (stapled and which may be double sided) to Ms Ghada Daher, Secretariat Administration Officer, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Office (Room J2.05 Quadrangle ? at the bottom of the Western Tower stairs) by 4pm on the closing date of submission. No late submissions will be accepted. 5. The submissions must be typewritten or word-processed. Handwritten applications will not be accepted. 6. Before you submit your application, you are required to have it authorised by the relevant Head of School. If the Head of School is your supervisor, the application must be signed off by the Pro-Dean. This can be arranged via the Faculty Office.

Postgraduate research at the University

Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences extends across a diverse range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, embracing traditional, emerging and cross-disciplinary subjects. Staff in the Faculty enjoy international reputations in their chosen fields, reflected in the high level of academic publications published each year. The Bachelor of Arts Honours year is the Faculty's essential research training pathway to higher degrees by research in the humanities and social sciences. For more details, see our research degrees:Doctor of PhilosophyMaster of PhilosophyMaster of Arts (Research)Doctor of Arts; and Doctor of Social Sciences. Read more information about Sydney research.

Joint and double honours

It is possible to complete either double honours or joint honours in some Arts subjects. Double honours involves completing all the honours requirements in one subject area and then in another and thus normally takes an additional year. In joint honours the two units of study are more generally closely related and a special program of study is designed for the honours year. This will usually entail doing approximately half the final honours requirements for two subject areas.

Applying for honours

All students who plan to undertake Honours in Arts must submit an application to the University. As soon as you decide you may want to do Honours in a subject area of your choice, you should confirm with the Honours Coordinator of the department in which you wish to study exactly what the specific requirements will be for that subject area and plan your degree structure accordingly.


Admission requirements

To qualify for admission to honours students need to have results of an average of 70% or above in eight senior units of study (48 credit points) in the subject in they wish to undertake honours. Some departments and programs have additional prerequisites, including advanced senior units of study designed to prepare students for the challenges of fourth year study.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Ca


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