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Bachelor Honours Policy

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) The Bachelor Honours Degree "qualifies individuals who apply a body of knowledge in a specific context to undertake professional work and as a pathway for research and further learning" (Source – Australian Qualifications Framework 2011, p.49). "Graduates at this level will have advanced knowledge and skills for professional/highly skilled work and/or further learning" (op cit, p.13).

2013 Transition Arrangements

(2) The introduction of this new policy will result in recommendations from Faculty Boards to propose major revisions or discontinuations of programs. Under the delegations of Academic Senate, these recommendations will require approval by the Program and Course Approval Committee. Assistant Deans, Teaching and Learning will be responsible for demonstrating that:

  1. continuing students will not be disadvantaged by a program revision or discontinuation and:
  2. appropriate teach-out or alternative arrangements have been made for current students; and
  3. consideration is given to international applicants in accordance with the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislation.

(3) Assistant Deans (Teaching and Learning) and the relevant Program Convenors are responsible for ensuring that current students and relevant staff are notified of any required changes.

(4) All current 320 unit Bachelor Degrees will need to transition to operate under this policy no later than September 2014 to ensure AQF compliance from 2015.

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Section 2 - Policy Scope

(5) This policy applies to all Level 8, Bachelor Honours, programs offered by the University. A Bachelor Honours program may follow a 240 unit (level 7) Bachelor program, or be a 320 unit program (level 8). One or both program components of a combined program may be a Bachelor Honours program.

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Section 3 - Policy Intent

(6) This policy is designed to describe the:

  1. two types of honours programs offered;
  2. eligibility to undertake Bachelor Honours;
  3. structure of Honours programs;
  4. grading of Honours programs;
  5. examination of the research component; and
  6. descriptions of the classes of Honours.
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Section 4 - Policy Provisions/Principles

(7) All Bachelor Honours programs must meet the learning outcomes for AQF2011 level 8 qualifications. There are two types of Bachelor Honours program: end-on; and embedded. This policy applies to single and combined programs.

End-On Honours (AQF level 8)

(8) High achieving students usually apply for admission to an end–on Honours program within a field of study when they have completed the requirements for a level 7, Bachelors degree. Approved end-on Bachelor Honours programs are listed in the relevant schedule to the Rules Governing Awards and Programs.

(9) Graduates of an end-on Honours program will have advanced knowledge and skills for professional studies or further research. The completion of an Honours program is a recognised pathway to a research higher degree.

(10) To be eligible to undertake an end-on Honours programs, students must have:

  1. qualified for the award of a Bachelor degree (level 7); and
  2. completed the requirements of an approved major in the field of study, to be their focus in the Honours program; and
  3. achieved the approved GPA listed in the ehandbook (Program Management System) for the program with a minimum of:
    1. a cumulative GPA of 5.0 or higher ; or
    2. a GPA of 5.0 or higher in the approved major; or
    3. a GPA of 5.0 or higher in 60 units of approved courses at the 3000 level; and
  4. met any supplementary criteria listed in the ehandbook (such as presentation of portfolio, interview, auditions); and
  5. had a written application approved by the relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) responsible for the program.

(11) The structure for end-on Honours programs will be such that it ensures all graduates meet the level 8 (AQF) learning outcomes and that it:

  1. can commence at the discretion of the relevant School;
  2. requires 80 units of study at the 4000 level;
  3. requires a minimum 10 units of coursework in research methodology (or equivalent in multiple courses);
  4. requires a minimum 40 unit research component;
  5. is designed so that students receive progressive marks, or feedback, for all course assessment items throughout the program; and
  6. awards no credit for courses completed as part of a Bachelor degree (level 7) or other qualifications at a level lower than AQF level 8.

(12) The class of Honours awarded for end-on Honours programs (level 8) will be determined as follows:

  1. Criterion One – the mark achieved over the 80 units Honours program; and
  2. Criterion Two – the final mark received for the research component.

Table One: End-on Honours

Criterion One
Overall Mark
and
Criterion Two
Research Dissertation
= Class Awarded
85% plus and 75% plus = Class I
75 – 84% and 65% plus = Class II Division 1
65 – 74% and 75% plus = Class II Division 1
65% plus and 65% plus = Class II Division 2
50 – 64% and 50% plus = Class III
0 – 49%     = Fail

Embedded Honours (AQF level 8)

(13) Graduates who complete a 320 unit program which meets the level 8 learning outcomes will be awarded a Bachelor Honours degree. Approved Bachelor Honours programs are listed in the program schedule to the Rules Governing Awards and Programs.

(14) High achieving graduates may be awarded an Honours grade (for example, class 1) on the basis of a high level of achievement in an approved Bachelor Honours program (level 8). Graduates of embedded Honours programs who do not achieve the necessary levels in both the coursework and specified research component, or who are not selected to complete the graded component, will be awarded an ungraded Bachelor Honours degree.

(15) Graduates of an Embedded Honours Bachelor program will have advanced knowledge and skills for professional studies or further research, as per the AQF level 8 learning outcome descriptors.

(16) The structure for Embedded Honours programs :

  1.  require 320 units of study with at least 40 at the 4000 level;
  2. have a research component which will include:
    1. a minimum of 10 units of research related courses (or the equivalent in multiple courses) at the 3000 level or higher; and
    2. a minimum of 20 units at the 4000 level in the discipline being studied:
      1. a substantial research project or thesis of at least 10,000 words; or
      2. a body of work comprising 2 to 3 research papers, each at least 3000 words and no more than 5,000 words; or
      3. a comparable capstone report or body of work that is of equivalent value to either (i) or (ii) above.

(17) An embedded Honours program will either:

  1. allow all students in a program to be eligible for the Honours grades described in Table 2 – Embedded Honours; or,
  2. offer high performing students selected admission into graded Honours (Table 2) on the basis of a pre-determined and publicised level of performance in specified courses in the program. Students who do not complete the graded option will be eligible only for ungraded Honours.

(18) The Class of Honours awarded for Embedded Honours Programs will be determined as follows:

  1. Criterion One – a WAM, calculated in accordance with University policy, on all courses above the 1000 level, weighted at:
    1. 2 for 2000 level courses;
    2. 3 for 3000 level courses; and
    3. 4 for 4000 and 5000 level courses.
  2. Criterion Two – the average mark received for the research component (at least 30 units).

Table Two – Embedded Honours

Criterion One
WAM
+
Criterion Two
Research Component Mark
= Class Awarded
77 – 100 + 75 – 100% = Class I
72 – 100 + 65 – 100% = Class II Division 1
67 – 76 + 75 – 100% = Class II Division 1
67 – 71 + 65 – 74% = Class II Division 2
50 – 66 + 64 – 100% = Ungraded
50 – 100 + 50 – 64% = Ungraded

Examination of the Research Component

(19) Rescission of clauses 21, 22 and 23, effective from 1 January 2013, superseded by sub-clauses 16.5.1 and 16.5.2 of Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual.

(20) Rescinded and replaced by sub-clause 16.5.1 of Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual.

(21) Rescinded and replaced by sub-clause 16.5.2 of Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual.

Finalising Marking Outcomes

(22) If two examiners, the final mark will be an average of their marks;

(23) If the difference between examiners’ marks is more than ten marks (from 100 total marks), a third examiner is to be appointed (not the supervisor); and

(24) If the mark from a third examiner is more than 10 from either original marker, the final mark will be as decided by the relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor (or nominee).

Attributes of Classes of Honours

Table Three: Attributes of Classes of Honours

Honours Class I
Outstanding standard in research and reporting indicating comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the relevant field of study; demonstration of an outstanding level of academic ability; mastery of skills*; and achievement of all assessment objectives.

In addition, if embedded Honours, an outstanding performance throughout the program.
Honours Class II
Division 1
Excellent standard in research and reporting indicating a very high level of knowledge and understanding of the relevant field of study; demonstration of a very high level of academic ability; sound development of skills*; and achievement of all assessment objectives.

In addition, if embedded Honours, an excellent or outstanding performance throughout the program.
Honours Class II
Division 2
Very good standard in research and reporting indicating a high level of knowledge and understanding of the relevant field of study; demonstration of a high level of academic ability; reasonable development of skills*; and achievement of all assessment objectives.
In addition, if embedded Honours, a very good to excellent performance throughout the program.
Honours Class III
Available only to students in End-On Honours.
Satisfactory standard in research and reporting indicating an adequate knowledge and understanding of the relevant materials; demonstration of an adequate level of academic ability; satisfactory development of skills*; and achievement of most assessment objectives.
* Skills are those identified as required to meet the AQF level 8 program learning outcomes. 

(25) Class III Honours will not be available to students within Embedded Honours programs. Students in Embedded Honours programs will be awarded an ungraded Honours degree if they do not meet the criteria for graded Honours (Table 2) or if they were not selected to complete the graded component.

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Section 5 - Right of Appeal

(26) A student may appeal any decision made under these provisions by contacting the relevant course coordinator, or program convenor, using University email

(27) If the course co-ordinator, or program convenor, is unable to determine the outcome of the appeal or complaint to the satisfaction of the student, the final decision will be made by relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor (or nominee). The Pro Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) may request any advice required to assist in making a decision.

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Section 6 - Relaxation Provision

(28) To provide for exceptional circumstances arising in any particular case, the President of Academic Senate, on the recommendation of the relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor may relax any provision of this policy.