Honours Assessment Information

Honours Marking Procedures

Students are reminded of the need for very regular back-up of all disks, and to print out hard copies of draft material. Computer failure is not an adequate reason for extensions on theses (or essays). If you have any difficulties or problems during your Honours, or if you have any questions, please contact the Director of Honours, Dr Andrea Bubenik.

  • A percentage score and a grade are awarded for Honours coursework courses and Dissertation (see Determining Class of Honours below).
  • All Honours dissertations are marked by two assessors nominated by the supervisor. Assessors submit written reports which will be provided to the student. If the two assessors cannot agree on a grade, the Director of Honours will appoint a third assessor. All assessors meet to agree on a grade; if consultation does not produce agreement the third assessor's grade will be accepted.
  • This procedure and its outcome will be reported to the Honours Examiners' Meeting.
  • Essays and examination papers for first-semester courses are returned only temporarily to students; they should be available if needed for the end-of-year honours examiners' meeting. Second-semester courses also need to have their scripts available for the examiners' meeting.

Determining the Class of Honours

The University of Queensland recognises academic merit achieved in AQF level 8 Bachelor Degree Honours qualifications through the award of a class of honours.

  • In accordance with the General Award Rules, a Bachelor Honours Degree may be awarded in an approved field of study and must be awarded in one of these classes – Honours class I; Honours class II (A or B); Honours class III (A or B).
  • Unless the program rules state that all attempts at courses that contribute to the calculation of the class of honours should be used, the result achieved in the first attempt will be used, regardless of the program in which the result was obtained. This will include where supplementary assessment has been undertaken (for example a result 2S4 means a grade of 2 will be used for calculation of honours classification, and a grade of 4 used for the purposes of completion of the program requirements).
  • The standard cut-offs for classes of honours are shown below. Where specific program requirements make these cut-offs impracticable, a case can be made to CAPP for a change to be made for that program.


GPAClass of Honours
6.200 - 7.000Class I
5.650 - 6.199Class IIA
5.000 - 5.649Class IIB
4.000 - 4.999Class IIIA
<4.000Class IIIB


Assessment and Grading Criteria for Honours Dissertations

The Dissertation and the coursework are equally important for determining a student's results.

  • The Dissertation embodies a substantial amount of research on primary sources, or on scholarly and critical studies of such sources, or on both.  In this context research can be defined as directly creating new knowledge, or locating and critically evaluating existing primary and secondary textual materials, or translating, editing, annotating, and/or analysing such materials, or engaging in any other appropriate scholarly project, provided that the student's original contribution can be clearly identified.
  • The Dissertation should demonstrate the student's critical capacities, intellectual initiative, and writing skills, and show an ability to develop a consistent, coherent, and independent response to the Dissertation topic.
  • The Dissertation is assessed according to the following six criteria:
  1. Ability to Articulate and Explain the Dissertation Topic
  2. Quality of Scholarship and Research
  3. Ability to Use Appropriate Theoretical and/or Methodological Concepts
  4. Quality of Argument
  5. Quality of Structure and Organisation
  6. Standard of Presentation

How well a Dissertation satisfies the criteria determines the mark and grade of Honours it receives.  A Dissertation is normally expected to meet the requirements of all the criteria equally.  The Criteria are not listed in any order of priority since each Dissertation, within the general standard required of Honours work, pursues its own topic and hence needs to meet its own intellectual requirements.

The criteria should form the basis of ongoing discussions between the student and the advisor, as part of the assistance and feedback provided to students in their honours year.

Points To Consider In Ensuring The Dissertation Satisfies The Criteria.

The following points are intended to assist a student to ensure that the Dissertation will satisfy the criteria, and assist the examiners in determining the mark and grade awarded.  However not all of the following points may be relevant, or equally important, for all Dissertations. Consequently the individual points do not form criteria in themselves.

Ability to Articulate and Explain the Dissertation Topic

  • Does the Dissertation clearly articulate and explain the research question or scholarly problem that it considers?
  • Are all keywords and key concepts carefully and clearly explained?

Quality of Scholarship and Research

  • Has previous scholarly analysis, criticism, and research relevant to this topic been identified and considered?
  • Is this previous scholarly material incorporated competently (e.g. by quotation, paraphrase, and/or commentary) and meticulously acknowledged by citation?
  • Does the Dissertation demonstrate competence in understanding and evaluating this material?
  • Have any similarities and/or differences between this Dissertation and previous investigations been clearly indicated?
  • Has there been a rigorous regard to accuracy, thoroughness, and the ethical issues associated with the particular field of enquiry?

Ability to Use Appropriate Theoretical and/or Methodological Concepts

  • Does the Dissertation show evidence that appropriate theoretical and/or methodological texts have been read, and relevant concepts understood?
  • Does the Dissertation engage in an informed and confident way with these concepts?
  • Does the Dissertation demonstrate an ability to situate the project in relation to these concepts?
  • Does the Dissertation make its own theoretical and/or methodological approach clear and justify that approach?

Quality of the Argument

  • Does the Dissertation formulate a coherent and developing argument?
  • Does it address the topic, explore its parameters, and keep the materials relevant to the argument?
  • Does it lead to a well-formed, conclusive statement incorporating the major findings of the project?

Quality of Structure and Organisation

  • Does the Dissertation have a logical structure given its course matter and overall approach?
  • Is there an appropriate form of introduction and conclusion either as separate sections or as parts of the first and last sections respectively?
  • Does this structure assist the overall development of the argument and/or the presentation of the scholarly project?
  • Does it distinguish major from minor points and apportion its word allocation accordingly?
  • Is there an excessive reliance on quotation, paraphrase, or other primary or secondary material?
  • Does it conform to the word-length requirement for 15,000 words, normally including quotations but not including the abstract or any appendices?
  • Has it provided as appendices all supplementary illustrative or supportive documentation (such as graphs, tabular lists, survey results, illustrations, primary documents, transcripts of interviews, videos etc) referred to in the main body of the Dissertation?  (These are not included in the word length.)

Standard of Presentation

  • The thesis should be in 1 1/2 or double line spacing, on A4 paper and printed on both sides of the paper.
  • Is the Dissertation written in English at a high standard of expression, and at an appropriate level of academic discourse?
  • Does it correctly cite and reference all source materials used in the project, normally using as a style guide the current edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (or the Linguistics Style Guide)?
  • Has it been carefully proofread to ensure the accuracy of spelling, quotations, and references, including cross-references; the correctness of grammar and punctuation; the clarity of expression; and the inclusion of all the material accurately paginated and sequenced?
  • Has a 300 word abstract been provided?
  • Has a statement of originality been provided and signed on all copies submitted?  For example:  'The work presented in this thesis is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, original, except as acknowledged in the text, and has not been submitted, either in whole or in part, for a degree at this university or any other university.'
  • The cover and title page should clearly state the candidate's name, the full title of the thesis, the degree for which it is submitted, and the year. In addition it should also identify the supervisor, and contain the following statement:  'A dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of (either) Arts, Communication or Journalism with Honours.'
  • Two copies of the thesis must be submitted, both of which will be returned after it has been marked. Once grades are finalised one copy will be available for pick-up by the student and the other will be given to students supervisor (unless student requests otherwise). A digital copy will be retained by the School and will be made available for other students for research related purposes (unless student requests otherwise).

Grading of Dissertations

Grade XFailNo assessable work received.
Grade 1FailFails to demonstrate most or all of the basic requirements of the course (The minimum percentage required for this grade is: 0%)1%-24%
Grade 2FailDemonstrates clear deficiencies in understanding and applying fundamental concepts; communicates information or ideas in ways that are frequently incomplete or confusing and give little attention to the conventions of the discipline.25%-44%
Grade 3FailDemonstrates superficial or partial or faulty understanding of the fundamental concepts of the field of study and limited ability to apply these concepts; presents undeveloped or inappropriate or unsupported arguments; communicates information or ideas with lack of clarity and inconsistent adherence to the conventions of the discipline.45%-49%
Grade 4Pass

Demonstrates adequate understanding and application of the fundamental concepts of the field of study; develops routine arguments or decisions and provides acceptable justification; communicates information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the discipline:

Grade of 4 - A Dissertation that achieves a grade of 4 has normally achieved satisfactory standards in all the marking criteria or good standards in some marking criteria with satisfactory and/or borderline standards in others.  It normally demonstrates: an adequate argument; a reasonable engagement with existing research on the topic; an adequate presentation of the relevant theoretical aspects of the project; satisfactory writing standards; some evidence of an attempt at an independent approach.  A grade of 4 indicates a satisfactory standard at honours level:

Grade 5Credit

Demonstrates substantial understanding of fundamental concepts of the field of study and ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; develops or adapts convincing arguments and provides coherent justification; communicates information and ideas clearly and fluently in terms of the conventions of the discipline:

Grade of 5 - A Dissertation that achieves a grade of 5 has normally achieved good standards in all the marking criteria or high (very good) standards in some marking criteria with good and/or satisfactory standards in others.  It normally demonstrates: a consistent argument; a reasonably coherent engagement with existing research on the topic; a good presentation of the relevant theoretical aspects of the project; good writing standards; some independence in approach.  A grade of 5 indicates a good standard at honours level

Grade 6Distinction

As for 5, with frequent evidence of originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and in creating solutions; uses a level, style and means of communication appropriate to the discipline and the audience:

Grade of 6 - A Dissertation that achieves a grade of 6 has normally achieved high (very good) standards in all the marking criteria or very high (excellent) standards in some marking criteria with high (very good) and/or good standards in others.  It normally demonstrates: a consistent and well-focused argument; a coherent engagement with existing research on the topic; an assured presentation of the relevant theoretical aspects of the project; very good writing standards; an independent approach, although this may be not clearly or evenly achieved.  A grade of 6 indicates a very good standard at honours level, and a high professional standard of presentation

Grade 7High Distinction

As for 6, with consistent evidence of substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critically evaluates problems, their solutions and implications:

Grade of 7 - A Dissertation that achieves a grade of 7 has normally achieved very high (excellent) standards in all the marking criteria or exceptionally high standards in some marking criteria with very high and/or high standards in others.  It normally demonstrates: an extremely well-focused argument; a sustained engagement with existing research on the topic; an assured presentation of the relevant theoretical aspects of the project; confidence and maturity in the writing; an exciting breakthrough in research proficiency or critical stance, or other evidence of successfully achieved independent perspective.  A grade of 7 indicates an excellent achievement at honours level, and a very high professional standard of presentation that includes an advanced standard of English expression and grammar.


Thesis Submission Date

The Thesis Submission Date can be found here under the heading- Submission.

Late Submission

Extensions should be arranged with the Director of Honours Studies prior to the submission date. Only exceptional circumstances will be considered.