Rules and Components of the Honours Year

What are the Requirements of the Honours Year?

The Honours year is comprised of 48 units of credit (UOC). The compulsory thesis and seminar contributes 18 UOC to the total. In addition to the thesis work, each student will undertake five courses of 6 UOC each. The thesis represents 18/48 of the final mark.

Honours students each present a seminar of 25 - 50 minutes on their thesis to members of the academic staff, interested visitors and other students. The seminar is worth 10% of the thesis mark. 

Students will attend sessions organised by the Honours Coordinators in which they practise their final honours seminar presentation, listen to presentations of other honours students, and engage in other honours training activities. Students should also attend any appropriate seminars in their thesis area.   

Structure & Requirements

When enrolling, an Honours student nominates their Honours stream, which is one of Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, Statistics, Physical Oceanography;  there is also the Quantitative Risk stream, available to Advanced Mathematics students only.  However, your choice of courses is not restricted to your own department or stream.

Before enrolling, you must discuss your choice of subjects with the Honours Coordinator for your stream. The application form and further information can be found on the main Honours page.

All Honours courses are timetabled centrally.  Once fixed, the timetable for these courses will be available through myUNSW.  If you wish to change any courses for S1 or S2 this must be done before census date 31st March and no later by 31st August for S2 by contacting, Student Services Manager.

External courses: With the permission of the relevant Honours Coordinator, a student may take a course from other disciplines at UNSW, other mathematics schools (for example, at University of Sydney), and external courses such as those taught at the AMSI Summer School and those offered through the Advanced Collaborative Environment.  Normally at most one course can be external, or in exceptional cases, two.

AMSI Summer School Enrolment

To undertake courses at the AMSI Summer School, students are required to complete the AMSI Summer School Application on-line.  You are also required to have the courses approved by your Honours Co-ordinator and complete the form for UNSW enrolment. Please read the School's guidelines on the rules and assessment for AMSI Summer School courses.

Oral Presentation & Thesis Seminar

Typically in Weeks 11 or 12 of the last semester of their Honours year, students each present a seminar of 25 - 50 minutes on their thesis to members of the mathematics staff, interested visitors and other students. This presentation is worth 10% of their thesis mark. The presentation will be assessed on: Knowledge displayed; motivation presented for the study of the topic; description of contributions/achievements; description of results; clarity of verbal discussion; clarity of slides/figures; keeping to time; and responses to questions.

The Honours Thesis

Students will write an honours thesis on their honours topic. The thesis normally includes a literature survey and a critical analysis of the topic area. This provides some preparation for the problem-solving and report-writing aspects of future employment, or for progression to a research degree. Each student works under the supervision of one or more members of the School on an investigation of some topic in Mathematics or Statistics that is currently an area of active research. Members of the School are flexible about the range of areas in which they will supervise students.

Prospective students should start talking to staff members about possible thesis topics well before they start their Honours year. An early decision about a topic will facilitate an early start on reading. Supervision by individual staff members is dependent on staff agreement and availability.

For more detailed and comprehensive information about the Honours thesis, please see Thesis Information.

Honours Mark and Grades

The marks for the thesis and Honours courses will be combined to give a weighted average mark, forming a final Honours mark which will be rounded up and used to decide the grade of Honours the student will be awarded.

The final Honours mark corresponds to the following grades:

  • 85 or above:  Class I
  • 75 or above:  Class IIA
  • 65 or above:  Class IIB
  • 50 or above:  Class III

Students with a final mark of 95 or above may be recommended for a University Medal by the School.