Science (Honours) - 4500

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Science


Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Typical Duration: 1 Years  

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 3

Max UOC Per Semester: 27

Min UOC For Award: 48

Domestic Entry Requirements: See Domestic Entry Requirements

International Entry Requirements: See International Entry Requirements


Bachelor of Science (Honours)

View program information for previous years

Program Description

The purpose of Honours in the Faculty of Science is to enable students who have performed well at undergraduate level to deepen their knowledge of approaches, perspectives and traditions in their chosen scientific discipline and undertake a significant research project. Honours is a means for connecting undergraduate study with supervised independent research by consolidating and extending work completed in the undergraduate program and providing an academic foundation for students continuing on to a Masters by research or a PhD.

As part of the honours program students will be expected to complete a significant independent research project and may be expected to complete coursework. As the Faculty has a diverse range of disciplines the exact proportion of research-based work and coursework may differ by School. Students should refer to the plan pages in this Handbook for details of the different Honours programs.

In addition to conducting research and coursework students will generally also be expected to undertake Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) training, attend and present seminars, write a literature review, and write a thesis.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

Upon completion of Honours in the Faculty of Science at UNSW graduates will have the following attributes:
  1. Demonstrate coherent and advanced knowledge of the underlying principles and concepts in one or more disciplines, and knowledge of research principles and methods;
  2. Demonstrate cognitive skills that review, analyse, consolidate and synthesize knowledge;
  3. Identify and formulate solutions to complex problems with intellectual independence;
  4. Demonstrate a broad understanding of a body of knowledge and theoretical concepts with advanced understanding in some areas;
  5. Demonstrate an ability to adapt knowledge and skills in diverse contexts;
  6. Demonstrate initiative and judgement in scholarship;
  7. Demonstrate responsibility and accountability for own learning and practice and in collaboration with others within broad parameters;
  8. Demonstrate communication skills to present a clear and coherent exposition of knowledge and ideas to a variety of audiences;
  9. Construct a research project that demonstrates technical skills in research and design;
  10. Construct a research project that demonstrates critical thinking and judgement in developing new understanding.

Program Structure

Admission Requirements and Process

Students are expected to have completed the requirements for a three year full-time undergraduate Bachelor degree typically with a minimum overall WAM (weighted average mark) of a credit, and completed a major within the desired honours discipline. However, the academic requirements for particular disciplines within Science may be higher due to the competitive nature of Honours in some disciplines and the number of Honours places available within a School. Disciplines may also have particular prerequisite requirements for entry into Honours, and may consider a student’s performance in their major area of study when assessing their eligibility for admission. Students must apply to the relevant School for admission into Honours, and admission requirements as well as the number of places available are determined by the Head of School or nominee. For details of the entry requirements for a particular discipline, please see the relevant plan entry in this Handbook.

To apply for admission to Honours, students should contact the relevant School for information on research projects, available supervisors, and entry requirements. Once students have located a suitable supervisor, they should lodge an application for Honours to the School by the advertised deadlines. Deadlines for these are found on the School’s webpages. Students who have not completed their undergraduate degree at UNSW, or completed their UNSW degree at least 6 months beforehand, will need to lodge two applications – one to the relevant School, and another to the UNSW Admissions Office (

Note: this Honours program is the honours pathway from the following UNSW Science programs: 3980 Bachelor of Aviation (Flying), 3981 Bachelor of Aviation (Management); 3970 Bachelor of Science, 3925 Bachelor of Science and Business, 3965 Bachelor of Science (Environmental Management), 3987 Bachelor of Science (International), and 3991 Bachelor of Medical Science, and the associated dual degrees.

Program Structure

The Bachelor of Science (Honours) is comprised of 48 units of credit. It includes an independent research project under the guidance of an academic supervisor culminating in a written thesis, and may include higher-level coursework, compulsory attendance at OH&S training, writing literature reviews and research proposals, attending workshops and lectures, and attending and presenting seminars. The Honours year normally commences in semester 1 and is undertaken full-time over 1 year. However mid-year entry and part-time enrolment may be available at the discretion of the relevant School. The independent research project will typically be worth 24-48 units of credit undertaken across the entire year (or part-time equivalent). For details of the structure and assessment of honours for a particular discipline, please refer to the plan pages below.

The following plans / specializations are available in this program:

Academic Rules

  1. Students are expected to complete all the requirements for the Honours program as listed for their chosen discipline in the plan pages of this Handbook. Where a student does not complete a particular requirement of the program, their grade and hence graduation will be withheld until the item is completed.
  2. Students must abide by UNSW policies and procedures with regards to Occupational Health & Safety, Ethics, and Research. Details of these will be provided to students in an Honours Handbook or information session by the relevant School.
  3. Students will typically complete a research project of 24-48 UOC. Each student will have a supervisor for their project who is expected to have at least a Masters (AQF level 9) qualification. Students may be supervised by a person external to UNSW, especially where a research project is industry-based. However, where a student has an external supervisor a joint-supervisor must be nominated who is an employed academic of the relevant School.
  4. As part of their research project students will be required to complete, at a minimum, a literature review and/or research proposal, present a seminar on their findings and complete a written thesis. Some disciplines may require additional assessment for the honours program such as additional seminars or reports. Details of all assessable components of the honours program for each discipline is described in the relevant plan pages of this handbook.
  5. All students will be required to complete a written thesis. Details of thesis requirements such as word limits, format, and submission deadlines will be provided by the relevant School. A student’s thesis will be assessed by two markers, which may not include a student’s supervisor. One marker should also be external to the research group in which the student has completed the project. Individual Schools relevant to the Honours project have processes for managing discrepancies in marks submitted by thesis examiners.
  6. At the end of a student’s first semester, an EC grade will be awarded provided that all requirements for the semester have been satisfactorily completed, and the supervisor is satisfied with a student’s progress on their project. Where requirements have not been completed or the supervisor feels progress is unsatisfactory, the grade will be withheld and the student given an opportunity to complete the requirement and / or progress their project. If the outstanding requirement(s) has not been completed prior to the commencement of the following semester, the supervisor will discuss this with the Honours Coordinator in the School and the student may be required to withdraw from the program. The Science Student Centre will be notified of this as the Program Authority. Once withdrawn from the program a student will need to reapply for admission to the Honours program.
  7. Where a student would like to take leave from the program or defer their commencement, they should discuss this with their supervisor and School, and where the School approves, a recommendation for program leave or deferment is submitted to the Science Student Centre for approval as the Program Authority. Please note that program leave and deferment is not always possible as research groups do not always have ongoing funding for research projects.
  8. Where a student decides to change their research project, they should discuss this with their Supervisor and the Honours Coordinator in the relevant School. Changing of research projects will be at the discretion of the School and may not always be possible. Changes to research projects may only occur within a student’s first semester.
Honours Grading

At the completion of their Honours program students will be awarded an honours grading as follows {note: this is subject to UNSW Policy which is currently under review}:
  • Honours Class 1: mark of 85 or greater
  • Honours Class 2 Division 1: mark from 75 to 84
  • Honours Class 2 Division 2: mark from 65 to 74
  • Honours Class 3 or Pass: mark below 65
The calculation of class of award will be determined from the student’s weighted average mark for all of the courses (research-based and coursework) required for the program.

Please note that only courses completed as part of the Honours program will be included within an honours calculation.

Honours marks and gradings will be scrutinized at a School level as either part of an Honours Committee or School Assessment Committee to ensure consistency across sub-disciplines and cohorts. The Faculty will also review these marks and grades prior to the release of results.


Students who complete an Honours program and achieve an Honours Class 1 are well placed to apply for higher degree research (a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Masters by Research (MSc)) and scholarships such as the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). Completion of Honours is also a good way to demonstrate capability as a researcher in commercial laboratories. Further details on career opportunities for students who complete an Honours degree can be obtained from the relevant School.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:  UNSW Fee Website.

Faculty of Science Rules

The Faculty of Science has some rules that relate to all students enrolled in programs offered by the Faculty in relation to recognition for prior learning, general education, course exclusions, study load, and cross-institutional study. All students should read the information contained on the Faculty General Rules and Requirements page in this Handbook.

Area(s) of Specialisation