Honours Studies: a General Guide

The following information should be read in conjunction with Study at Murdoch: A General Guide in this Handbook.

It is important that students also read the legislation relevant to their studies so that they are familiar with all of the requirements; for guidance refer to the University Regulation section of this Handbook.

Further information on all of these topics can be obtained from The Student Centre and from the Honours Policy, available at:


Structure of Honours Degrees

Individual Honours course descriptions and requirements are detailed in the Bachelor and Honours Degrees section of this Handbook.

There are two kinds of Honours offered by the University:

  • those which require completion of an additional 24 credit points to the ordinary degree ; and
  • those which include a research dissertation of at least 12 credit points.

Each Honours student has an individual and distinctive Honours project and program of study, approved by the School Dean following recommendation by the appropriate Honours Sub-Committee by the end of the third week of the first semester of the student’s Honours enrolment. The Honours program of study details the thesis topic area, length, production component, submission date and supervisor(s); details of any coursework including credit points value, enrolment option, method(s) of assessment, and supervisor(s); and when each Honours component will be taken. The student should be involved in drafting the Honours program of study and shall be given a copy of the program of study after its approval. The School Dean will send a copy of the study program to the supervisor(s) of the thesis and to the supervisor(s) of any individualised components.

The amount of coursework varies considerably between Honours courses, ranging from 3 to 12 credit points.

Where an Honours course requires completion of an additional 24 credit points, those points must be at 500-level, but may include up to 4 credit points at 200/300/400-level and up to 8 credit points at 600-level or above. This can include units offered by other courses, or by other universities subject to approval of the Academic Chair. (Honours students whose first degree is from another university cannot include units from other universities, as at least 24 Murdoch credit points are needed to take out a Murdoch degree.) Coursework may include individualised Honours components, but the terminology ‘Independent Study Contract’ is not applicable at Honours level.

Honours which require completion of an additional 24 credit points shall be completed within no more than three years, including periods of broken enrolment arising from exclusion, approved leave, non-enrolment or any other cause.

Changes to the Honours Program of Study

Any change to the approved Honours program of study requires the approval of the student, supervisor(s), Honours Sub-Committee Chair and the School Dean.

Honours Thesis

There are University guidelines on the format of Honours theses. These are available in the Honours Policy at:


Application Process

Applicants for Honours should apply online at:


or via The Student Centre.

Each School has minimum requirements for admission. Normally, completion of a Bachelor Degree (AQF Level 7) or equivalent in the same discipline or cognate area with a Distinction average; subject to availability of a suitable supervisor and approval of the School Dean.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to ensure sufficient time for consideration by the School, however late applications may be accepted. All applicants are required to keep an original or certified copies of any documentation submitted as part of their application. This may be required at a later date or be requested by the University as part of any admissions review or audit.

Enquiries about entry to specific Honours courses should be directed to the Academic Chair.

Withdrawal/Approved Leave/Transfers/Extensions

Students wishing to withdraw from a component of an Honours course (or to postpone a component to another semester) should do so before the census date, as any changes after then will be recorded on their academic record, will incur a fee liability and will not entitle them to extra time to complete their Honours. Withdrawals and failures in Honours components are taken into account when determining the final class of Honours, but neither necessarily disqualifies the student from graduating with Honours.

A student is permitted only one attempt at an Honours course within a disciplinary area or group of closely related disciplines. Where a student withdraws from the Honours course before the commencement of the second semester of enrolment (or third semester, in the case of a part-time student), this is not considered an attempt. Withdrawals after then are regarded as an attempt. Students who withdraw from Honours do not receive any academic credit towards Honours for any coursework already completed; there is only a total 24 credit points credited when Honours is awarded.

International students studying on a student visa are required to meet with a Transition and Retention Officer before formally withdrawing, as withdrawal will result in having their Confirmation of Enrolment cancelled and may have implications on their student visa. 

If a student needs a period of time away from their Honours enrolment, an application for Approved Leave should be submitted to The Student Centre. Approved Leave may be granted for a maximum period of two consecutive semesters. Students who are granted Approved Leave for one or two semesters will need to update their program of study. In some cases this may require changes to the components of the honours course, or of supervisor.

A student enrolled in one Honours course may apply for entry into an alternative Honours course within two weeks of commencing; if offered a place, the student must withdraw from the initial Honours course before accepting the new offer.

The 'Approved Leave/Intermission of Study (Honours)' and 'Withdrawal from Murdoch University' forms are available at:

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The University reserves the right to cancel, without notice, any course, major, minor or unit if the number of students enrolled falls below limits set by the University.

Regulations and Rules

Students should ensure they are familiar with the University's internal legislation, including provisions specifically relevant to their studies. See the University Regulation overview and view legislation online.