University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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Honours in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture


To qualify to enrol in the honours program a student must have qualified for the award of the pass degree, or a similar acceptable degree from another university, or be a graduate of not more than four years standing, with a weighted average mark of at least 70 for the pass degree.

Before applying the student must develop a thesis topic and have an allocated supervisor from the faculty's academic staff. Students should discuss their proposed research with relevant staff prior to applying for admission to honours. It is also possible to have an associate supervisor to share supervision where topics extend beyond the immediate expertise of the primary supervisor.

The honours year

The honours course is to be taken full time over two consecutive semesters. Enrolment is effected by taking 48 credit points, being ARCH4003 and ARCH4004 in the first semester and ARCH4005 and ARCH4006 in the second semester.

The dissertation topic must be satisfactory in terms of research interests, resources and availability of supervision within the faculty and must be agreed upon between the applicant and the supervisor.

There are no formal classes. Honours students are expected to make arrangements for weekly contact with their supervisor on an individual basis to chart their work, receive advice, review and monitor progress.

The supervisor shall be a member of the full-time or fractional academic or research staff of the faculty.

Submission date and form of dissertation

A student undertaking a dissertation shall:

  • lodge with the supervisor two copies of the dissertation by the end of the first week of the formal examination period in the final semester of enrolment.The dissertation should be 15,000 to 25,000 words in length. A lesser word length is expected and acceptable for a dissertation that has a significant nontext-based exploration (for example, dissertations that include a significant design or art component, or empirical or experimental research component). The word length requirement for dissertation that have significant non text-based explorations should be determined and agreed with the candidate's supervisor(s) and the Principal Examiner.

  • state in the dissertation, generally in the preface and specifically in the notes, the sources on which the research was based, the extent to which the student has made use of the work of others and the portion of the dissertation which is claimed to be original; and

  • not lodge as the student’s own work any work previously submitted for a degree of the University of Sydney or any other university, but may incorporate such work in the dissertation provided that the student indicates the work so incorporated.

A student may lodge the dissertation for examination bound in either a temporary or permanent form according to the following conditions:

  • temporary binding must be able to withstand ordinary handling and postage. The preferred form of binding is the "perfect binding" system; and

  • the cover of a temporarily bound dissertation must have a label showing the student’s name, name of the degree, title of the dissertation and year of submission.

A student must lodge the final dissertation in a permanent form according to the following conditions:

  • permanent binding must meet the requirements given in the University Calendar under the resolutions governing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy; and

  • following examination and emendation if necessary, at least one copy (the library copy) of the dissertation must be bound in a permanent form;

  • if ammendments are required, all copies of the dissertation which are to remain available within the University must be amended.

Students who do not complete the honours year will be awarded the pass degree. Those who terminate their study prior to the end of the second semester of study will be awarded a grade of 'DNF' or 'Discontinue without failure'.

Students who fail or discontinue the honours program may not re-enrol in it, except with the approval of the Dean.

Determination of honours

A candidate’s performance shall be assessed by a Principal Examiner and two other examiners. The Principal Examiner shall normally be the Degree Program Director unless otherwise nominated by the Dean. After consultation with the supervisor, the Principal Examiner shall appoint two examiners to examine the dissertation.

The Principal Examiner is appointed to oversee the examination process within the policies of the University for the assessment and examination of coursework.

The role of the Principal Examiner is to:

  • make available to each honours student the criteria and assessment instrument for the examination of the Honours dissertation;

  • ensure the appointment of two examiners for each dissertation;

  • ensure that all examiners have been appropriately briefed on the assessment criteria. Where practical, new examiners will be provided with examples of dissertations, which have been assessed within various bands to help calibrate the assessment; and

  • review the examiners’ reports and conduct a parity check. Parity is defined by the principle of equal marks for equivalent work.

The examiners shall report to the Principal Examiner.

The Dean shall, on the recommendation of the Principal Examiner, award the degree of Bachelor of Design in Architecture with honours whenever the following sections are satisfied:

  • the examiners have recommended the degree be awarded without reservation or subject to emendations to all copies of the dissertation which are to remain available in the university; or

  • the Principal Examiner unanimously accepts the recommendation of the supervisor that the degree be awarded subject to emendations despite reservations expressed by any examiner; and

  • the overall performance is 70 or greater.

The Dean, on the recommendation of the Principal Examiner, will determine the class of honours, if any, on the overall performance of the candidate in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture using a mark derived from weighting the mark for the honours dissertation at 70 percent and the weighted average mark of the pass degree at 30 percent.

The honours dissertation itself receives a mark, which is recorded on the transcript next to ARCH4006. The other units will be converted to 'R' for 'Satisfied requirements' upon successful completion of the dissertation.

The honours degree of Bachelor of Design in Architecture shall be awarded to eligible students, with the following grades:

  • Honours Class I (with a mark of at least 80), or
  • Honours Class II, Division 1 (with a mark of at least 75), or
  • Honours Class II, Division 2 (with a mark of at least 70).

The University Medal may be awarded as described in the frequently asked questions section.

A candidate for the honours program who does not meet the requirements for award of honours shall be awarded the Bachelor of Design in Architecture pass degree.

The Dean may also recommend that an unsuccessful candidate be permitted to prepare for re-examination if of sufficient merit and the supervisor has so recommended.