Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility requirements to be accepted into the Honours program?

  1. You need to have completed at least 160 credit points of your law program (which is usually the end of fourth year for undergraduate students) (or 140 credit points if you are undertaking two Summer session subjects) and no more than 200 credit points; and
  2. You must demonstrate the likelihood of graduating with an Honours Weighted Average Mark (HWAM) of at least 70 at the time of graduation; and
  3. You must submit a Nomination of Topics form which expresses preferences among supervisor-defined topics and/or describes your student-defined topic in a scholarly manner (see 'Nomination of Topics form' for further information); and
  4. You must demonstrate satisfactory academic writing skills; and
  5. A principal supervisor must be appointed.

Requirement 2 (HWAM) can be fulfilled by demonstrating an Admission Average Mark (AAM) of at least 70 at the time of admission to the Honours program.

You can speak directly with Law School academic staff about the possibility of supervision or you can ask the Law School Honours Program Coordinator for advice and assistance (lawhonours@westernsydney.edu.au).

When do I need to apply by?

The final date for submitting an application to enrol in the Honours Program is 10am on February 1. However, you are strongly encouraged to apply before this date, if possible.

How do I apply?
The only way to apply is via the online application form, which is found on the Honours in Law page. 

What happens after I apply?
The School of Law will notify you via an email to your student e-mail account whether your application has been successful or not.

How is my ‘Honours Level’ determined when I graduate?
The calculation of your Honours Award Level (or ‘class of Honours’) is based on your Honours Average Weighted Mark (HWAM) at the time of graduation.

Honours Award LevelThreshold
First Class Honours:HWAM of 80 or higher
Second Class Honours, Division 1:HWAM of 75 or higher
Second Class Honours, Division 2:HWAM of 70 or higher

If your HWAM is below 70, then an Honours level is not awarded. Third Class Honours is not awarded in the Bachelor of Laws.

Note:

*If you commenced your LLB degree in 2007 or earlier then you may elect to take the benefit of the new rules by applying to be accepted into the School of Law's honours program. Please contact Unit Coordinator to discuss.

**If you commenced a combined degree in 2006 but changed to the non-graduate entry LLB degree program in 2008 only the new rules apply. Please contact Unit Coordinator to discuss.

What is my HWAM?

HWAM (Honours Weighted Average Mark) is the way the School of Law determines your level of achievement in the Honours program and we use it as a guide to admission.

In the calculation of a student's Honours Weighted Average Mark:

  • Only Bachelor of Law subjects are included;
  • Compulsory Fail (CF) grades are assigned a numeric mark of 42%;
  • In the case of subjects you have failed, the Fail result and the results in any re-attempts are included, subject to the exclusion rules below;
  • The results in your non-Honours subjects are allocated a 0.66 (66%) weighting and the result in the Honours subject, 200700 Law Honours Dissertation, is allocated a 0.34 (34%) weighting;
  • The subjects, other than 200700 Law Honours Dissertation, with the two lowest results are excluded;
  • There is no rounding of HWAM once calculated.

The HWAM is calculated in accordance with the following formula:

HWAM = (((Sum of marks in all non-Honours law subjects) - (sum of marks in two lowest non-Honours law subjects))/((Number of non-Honours subjects) - 2)*0.66) + ((Mark in 200700) *0.34)

HWAM=

(((Sum of marks in all non-Honours law subjects)

-

(sum of marks in two lowest non-Honours law subjects))

/

((Number of non-Honours law subjects) -2)*0.66)

+

((Mark in 200700) *0.34)

Note: 'non-Honours law subject' does not include any subjects obtained by Advanced Standing or on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis; it does include Fails and Compulsory Fails (which are included at the nominal value of 42).

You can calculate your current and projected HWAM using the AAM/GPA Ready Reckoner on the Honours in Law website.

What is my AAM?

Your AAM (Admission Average Mark) is one way of demonstrating your level of academic achievement and is sufficient to enter the Honours program.

In the calculation of the Admission Average Mark:

  • Only Bachelor of Law subjects are included;
  • Compulsory Fail (CF) grades are assigned a numeric mark of 42%;
  • In the case of subjects you have failed, the Fail result and the results in any re-attempts are included, subject to the exclusion rules below;
  • Any subjects obtained by Advanced Standing or on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis are not included;
  • Your subjects with the two lowest results are excluded.

The AAM is calculated at the time of determining your admission to the Honours program and in accordance with the following formula:

AAM = ((Sum of marks in all completed law subjects) - (sum of marks in the two lowest completed law subjects))/((Number of completed law subjects)-2)

AAM=

((Sum of marks in all completed law subjects)

-

(sum of marks in two lowest completed law subjects))

/

((Number of completed law subjects) - 2)

You can calculate your AAM using the HWAM/AAM Ready Reckoner on the Honours in Law website.

What is the Nomination of Topics form?

The Nomination of Topics form allows you to nominate a topic for study.

You are encouraged to consult with your intended supervisor(s) when completing the Nomination of Topics form. The Nomination of Topic form is less detailed than a formal Research Proposal. Download the Nomination of Topics Form.

As a guide, the Nomination of Topics Form should be around 500 words (excluding headings and footnotes) and should address the following aspects:

  • Area of research or research topic (or research question, if developed);
  • Significance of proposed research (why is this research important to do now?); and
  • Brief literature review (discuss and explain at least five relevant legal sources).

What is an example of satisfactory academic writing skills?

You need to prove you can write an extended argument (not just answer a problem question in an exam) so we ask you to submit an assignment that demonstrates your writing and research skills as part of the online application form. Choose perhaps the assignment for which you received a high rating on a writing-related assessment criterion or maybe one you were really proud of.

How is the Honours dissertation marked?

Unlike other assessments, the Honours dissertation is marked by two examiners who are not your supervisor. In general, the expectation is that one marker is internal to Western Sydney University and one marker is external to the University. Each examiner submits a formal report, which is provided to the supervisor and the student, although the examiner’s identity remains confidential unless that confidentiality is waived by the examiner. The final mark for the dissertation is determined in accordance with the University’s Honours in Bachelor Awards Policy and the School of Law Honours Award Guidelines.

How does enrolling in Honours effect my other alternate subjects?

This subject is worth 30 credit points (10 credit points in Autumn, 20 credit points in Spring) and it takes the place of three law alternate subjects.

How do I choose a supervisor?

Selecting the right supervisor is very important. You should start with a consideration of who you think you might get on well with and who is an expert in an area you might want to research. You can find more information about the expertise and background of Law academic staff via the Law School webpage and the University staff directory. You should then meet with your prospective supervisor to discuss both their availability and their interest in your topic, and to assess whether you think you might be able to work with them.

If you are unsure where to start, email the Honours Program Coordinator, who can make suggestions (lawhonours@westernsydney.edu.au).  Ultimately, decisions about supervision are made by the Dean of the Law School, on the recommendation of the Honours Program Coordinator.

How do I choose a topic?

Think about what you have a passion for. Think about what interested or intrigued you most when studying a subject or topic. If you are doing a combined degree, think about how you might marry knowledge from that degree with research in law. Think about what you might want to do after graduation. Then start writing. If you can put down 200-300 words on a topic and it sounds interesting to you, it might be a good direction to head in.

You do not need to finalise your student-defined dissertation topic before submitting an application – you just need to demonstrate that you have begun the process of identifying and, possibly, narrowing the field of interest.