Latest Amendment/Approval Date: October 2022
1.1.This policy defines and describes:
a. the structure, nomenclature, and grading of Bachelor Honours awards at Campion College; and
b. requirements for admission, progression, and completion of the award.
2.1. For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:
Honours Degree means an undergraduate qualification normally taken after the completion of a three year bachelor degree that meets the requirements of Level 8 of the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Honours Coordinator means a member of academic staff responsible for the operation of the Honours degree. This may also be the Dean of Studies.
Honours Candidate means a student enrolled in an Honours Degree.
Supervisor or Co-Supervisor means a member of academic staff who is appropriately qualified and has relevant expertise to oversee the progress of an Honours student.
Thesis means an analytical and referenced presentation of the author’s literature review, research results, or piece of creative work. It is the major assessable item of the Honours Degree.
Weighted Average Mark (WAM) means the average mark calculated from units of an undergraduate course (See CCA College Medal Policy ACDPOL021)
3.1. This policy applies to all units of study required for Honours awards at Campion College and the staff and students involved.
4.1. The design and delivery of Honours courses at Campion College must aim to achieve the standards expected for Level 8 courses under the Australian Qualifications Framework.
4.2. The aim of an Honours course is to build on three years of undergraduate studies by completing a self-directed research project specialising in a student’s area of interest under the supervision of an experienced researcher.
4.3. While undertaking an Honours Degree it is expected that a Campion student would continue to develop skills in research, writing and critical thinking and to consider the integrated nature of the humanities that underpins the Campion undergraduate program.
4.4. As such, it may be considered the culmination of an undergraduate career that aims to extend a student’s academic abilities.
4.5. At the same time, completion of an Honours course can be a pathway to further study and career options.
5.1 Structure and Requirements
5.1.1 Length and Components
An Honours degree consists of 48 credit points, equivalent to one year (two semesters) of fulltime study or at least one and a half years (three semesters) of part-time study. The maximum time allowed for the completion of an Honours degree is three years, inclusive of periods of leave of absence or exclusion.
An Honours year must include at least a 24 credit points supervised research component leading to a thesis.
An Honours year must also include coursework (core and/or elective courses), which may include research preparation courses, supervised reading courses, and seminars, which are assessed. Units of study are delivered face-to-face.
5.1.2 Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
An Honours candidate may be granted recognition of prior learning (or credit) for up to 12 credit points for an Honours degree.
RPL will only be given where:
- the Honours Candidate is applying for Credentialled Prior Learning (see CCA Recognition of Prior Learning Policy)
- the replacement unit completed at another higher education provider is at AQF Level 8 or higher;
- the granting of credit does not compromise the coherence or assessment standards of the Campion Honours degree.
The grade awarded for the unit of study for which RPL is granted shall be included in the calculation of the Honours classification.
5.1.3 Thesis Topic Selection
In approving an application for Honours candidature, the Dean of Studies also approves the indicative Honours thesis proposal and supervisor(s). This must include obtaining ethics clearance from Human Ethics Research Committee.
The final thesis topic does not necessarily have to be the same as that which has been indicated in the candidate’s application.
5.1.5 Variation of Enrolment
The following variations of enrolment may apply in an Honours degree:
- Leave of Absence: An Honours candidate may take leave of absence only with the approval of the Dean of Studies. Leave of Absence may be granted for a minimum of one semester (six months) and a maximum of two continuous semesters (one year). In considering requests for Leave of Absence, the Dean of Studies will take into consideration:
- the stage of the candidate in the degree;
- the timing of the delivery of the required units of study;
- the effect a period of leave may have on the academic progress of the candidate;
- the requirement to complete the degree within the three year period (see 5.1.1 above)
- Withdrawal: A candidate who withdraws after census date shall be deemed to have failed the corresponding units of study and shall receive a grade of Fail Incomplete (FI).
- Withdrawal without Penalty: A candidate may withdraw from an Honours course without financial or academic penalty if the circumstances meet the provisions of the CCA Withdrawal from Studies and Course Variation Policy.
- Suspension or Cancellation of Enrolment: A candidate’s enrolment may be suspended or cancelled under the circumstances listed in the CCA Withdrawal from Studies and Course Variation Policy and the CCA Student Misconduct Procedures. Cancellation of an Honours candidature may also apply if the student withdraws from a unit of study without approved Leave of Absence or fails to lodge their Honours thesis by the prescribed due date, including any approved extensions.
- Readmission: A student may seek to be readmitted to an Honours degree, where:
- they have previously completed at least one unit of study; and either
- withdrawn; or
- allowed the approved period of Leave of Absence to lapse.
In such cases, the Dean of Studies may approve readmission provided that the candidate is able to complete the course within three years from the date of first enrolment.
5.2.1 Prior to submitting an application, prospective students must contact the Honours Coordinator or Dean of Studies to discuss the field of the proposed Honours thesis and an appropriate academic supervisor and, if necessary, co-supervisor.
5.2.2 Entry into the Honours program is determined by a recommendation from the Honours Coordinator to the Dean of Studies, following the student’s application to the College for admission to the Honours year on the appropriate application form. To qualify for admission to a course leading to an Honours degree a person shall have:
- satisfactorily completed a 500-1000 word statement of intent describing an indicative research project. The statement should focus on the significance, aims, conceptual framework and/or methodology to be employed in the study. The statement should also address any ethical issues involved in the proposed research and include a relevant bibliography (not included in the word count).
- qualified for the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts at Campion with an average of at least 70% (high-range Credit), and a Major in the field in which the Honours thesis will be undertaken (History, Philosophy, Literature, Theology). Discretion may be applied by the Dean of Studies for students with a mark bordering on 70% or who have not completed a relevant Major.
- qualified at another tertiary institution for the award of a bachelor degree containing a coherent study equivalent to the Campion BA, with an average of at least 70% (high-range Credit), and a Major in the field in which the Honours thesis will be undertaken (History, Philosophy, Literature, Theology). Discretion may be applied by the Dean of Studies for students with a mark bordering on 70% or who have not completed a relevant Major.
5.2.3 The Dean of Studies will approve a letter of offer if:
- the Honours Coordinator recommends admission to the course based on the criteria listed under 5.2.2 above;
- the indicative research project is suitable for Campion’s scholarly environment;
- a suitable supervisor and other resources are available.
5.3.1 The Supervisor and Co-Supervisor will:
- hold qualifications at AQF Level 9 (Masters Degree), or higher or an overseas equivalent;
- have a record of research or scholarly attainment in a relevant field; and
- hold a continuing academic position at the College
5.3.2 The responsibility of a Supervisor and Co-Supervisor is to:
- ensure that Honours candidates under their supervision are aware of the standards expected for an Honours thesis;
- identify the research methods and skills the student will need to complete the coursework and thesis;
- assist the student in preparing a plan for researching and writing the thesis, which may include deadlines for submitting drafts and arranging supervision meetings;
- be available to meet Honours candidates under their supervision regularly during the semester;
- comment on thesis drafts and return feedback on the student’s progress in a timely fashion; typically within three weeks of receiving a draft (including identification of problems, as well as improvements in style and content);
- work with the student to prepare any necessary applications for ethics approval;
- refer the student to any academic or non-academic support services that may be required and where appropriate;
- inform the Honours Coordinator of any problems which occur during the coursework or during the writing or researching of the thesis;
- keep appropriate records of supervision meetings.
5.3.3 Where a student is experiencing supervision problems, they will in the first instance approach their supervisor, then if required the Honours Coordinator. In cases where the Honours Coordinator is involved in supervision or supervision problems, the student may approach the Dean of Studies or Associate Dean.
5.4.1 Progression through to graduation will be dependent on the Honours candidate meeting certain thresholds along the way. At the end of Semester One, students must:
- pass both units of study in order to progress to Semester Two; and
- demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Supervisor that they have selected a specific thesis topic and have considered their approach to the research topic, including sources, methodology, and ethical issues (if applicable).
5.5 Extension for Submission of a Thesis
5.5.1 Students may apply for an extension of time for thesis submission at least seven days (one week) before the originally scheduled submission date.
5.5.2 Extensions may only be granted on the basis of medical or compassionate grounds, or exceptional and unanticipated circumstances beyond the control of the student. Examples of such circumstances are listed in the CCA Assessment Policy under “Extensions” and “Special Consideration”.
5.5.3 Extension requests must be submitted using the Extension Request Form to the Honours Coordinator. The Honours Coordinator will consult the Supervisor and make a recommendation to the Dean of Studies. The Dean of Studies will advise the Honours Candidate, Honours Coordinator and Supervisor of the decision in writing.
5.6.1 Appointment of Examiners
The Honours thesis will be examined by two suitably qualified examiners normally external to the College. An internal examiner may be appointed when appropriate. Examiners must hold a qualification at or above AQF Level 9 (Masters Degree), have a record of research or scholarly activity in a relevant field, and have no conflict of interest.
The Dean of Studies, in consultation with the Honours Coordinator will approve the examiners. Should the Honours Coordinator also be the Supervisor or Co-Supervisor, they will nominate one other member of the academic staff to consult with the Dean of Studies about the appointment of an examiner.
The identity of one examiner will not be revealed to the other examiner unless when resolving a marking discrepancy. The identities of the examiners will not be revealed to the Honours Candidate.
5.6.2 Guidance for Examiners
The two examiners will be provided with:
- an electronic copy of the Honours thesis;
- the CCA Honours Policy;
- the CCA Honours Thesis Assessment Guidelines; and
- a form for reporting the result of the examination of the thesis.
The examiners will be given a deadline for submitting their results which will normally be one month after receiving the thesis and no more than six weeks after submission of the thesis.
5.6.3 Marking Honours Thesis
Each examiner must write a detailed report on the thesis, at least one page in length and award a mark out of 100. The average between the two examiners’ marks will be used to determine a final score for the thesis.
Where there is a discrepancy of less than 10 marks between the examiners, the Honours Coordinator will apply the average.
Where there is a discrepancy of 10 or more marks between the examiners, the Honours Coordinator may take the following actions:
- Invite the examiners to re-consider their marks in light of the discrepancy;
- If there is still a discrepancy of 10 or more marks, invite the examiners to confer with each other with a view to reducing the discrepancy to less than 10 marks;
- If no agreement is reached, appoint a third examiner who will not be provided with the previous examiners’ marks or comments.
- Where a third examiner is appointed, the final Honours mark shall be decided by averaging the two pairs of equally closest results of the set of examiners.
- In circumstances where the above provisions fail to resolve the matter, the Honours Coordinator may take additional actions as approved by the College Executive Committee.
The examiners’ reports must comment on:
- the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis, including a detailed description of any errors or deficiencies;
- the reasons for the recommended mark;
5.7 Calculation of Honours Classification
Honours is awarded in the following categories based on the Weighted Average Mark of all Honours units:
Class I (WAM 80-100%)
Class II, Division 1 (WAM 75-79%)
Class II, Division 2 (WAM 70-74%)
Class III (WAM 65-69%)
No Award (WAM 50-64%)
Fail (Below 50%)
If the WAM achieved is a Pass or lower, the qualification of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (Honours) is not conferred.
5.8 Advice and Support to Students
All Honours Candidates must be supported during their transition into the course, in accordance with the CCA Student Transition Policy. To this end, all Honours Candidates will be provided with orientation into the course, which will include the provision of the following documents:
- Unit outlines
- CCA Honours Policy
- Student Handbook
- Manual for Thesis Writing
Where samples of past Honours theses are available, they may be provided to Honours Candidates as examples.
5.9 Review and Appeals
5.9.1 In accordance with the CCA Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures, an Honours Candidate may apply for a review of a decision within 20 working days of notification of any academic decision. Furthermore, the academic decisions relating to Honours candidature may include:
- Rejection of application for admission to the program;
- Grades and marks awarded for a coursework component;
- Grade or mark awarded for the thesis;
- Honours classification awarded;
- Refusal to grant leave of absence or deferral;
- Decisions relating to variation of enrolment.
In each of these cases and others that may not be listed here, the procedures set out in the CCA Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures will apply in the determination of an outcome to the appeal.
5.9.2 Furthermore, when applying for a review of a grade or mark, consideration must be given to whether:
- the Unit Coordinator did not provide a clear assessment guideline in the unit outline;
- assessment requirements specified in the unit outline were unreasonable or prejudicially applied;
- a clerical error has occurred in the computation of the grade;
- due regard had not been paid to a valid request for an extension.
5.10 College Medal
Students who have successfully completed an Honours degree with a first class are eligible for consideration for the College Medal in accordance with the CCA College Medal Policy.
6. Roles and Responsibilities
6.1.The Dean of Studies is responsible for the implementation of this policy.
6.2. Academic staff are responsible for all matters relating to the Honours Coordinator and Supervisor listed above.
6.3. Students are responsible for:
- devoting sufficient time to the requirements of the Honours degree, including researching and writing the thesis;
- maintaining familiarity with relevant College policies and procedures;
- following requirements and expectations concerning the content and style of the thesis;
- applying the research methods required to complete the coursework and thesis;
- working with the Supervisor to prepare a plan for researching and writing the thesis;
- working with the Supervisor to prepare any necessary applications for ethics approval;
- meeting with the Supervisor regularly during the semester;
- responding to feedback from the Supervisor;
- seeking support services when and if required;
- drawing the attention of the Supervisor and/or Honours Coordinator to any problems.
7.1 This policy was benchmarked against policies from other universities. The benchmarking paid particular attention to Definitions, Supervision requirements, Examination procedures, and calculation of Honours classifications. The policies consulted include:
- Honours in Bachelors Awards Policy, Western Sydney University.
- Bachelor Honours Degree (AQF Level 8) Policy, Griffith University, 2017.
- Honours Policy, University of Wollongong, 2020.
- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. University of Sydney, Honours Provisions.
7.2 This policy also paid particular attention to the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021.