Bachelor of Arts (Degree with Honours)

Course 104AA (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Year and Campus: 2011 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 009645A
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Undergraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 12 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


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Arts & Music Student Centre
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Course Overview:

The BA (Honours) is an advanced and specialised course of study requiring a higher standard of performance than for the pass degree. It enhances your ability to acquire advanced skills of analysis, to develop original ideas, and to apply innovative solutions to complex problems.

The BA (Hons) involves one additional year of study at fourth-year level. Students may specialise in one area of study (pure honours) or two (combined honours). Entry to the honours degree must be approved by the School/s concerned and the Faculty. Commencement of honours must occur within five years of the completion of your degree course.

This BA (Honours) program is available to students who have completed the heritage Bachelor of Arts, including the BA105AA, BA/BCom, BA/LLB, BA/BSc, or other combined Arts courses at the University of Melbourne. Students who have completed the new generation B-Arts or an Arts degree from another University should apply for the new generation Honours program (BH Arts)


The Honours program is an advanced level of study designed to allow students to specialise their knowledge across one area of study (pure Honours) or two (combined Honours). Students accepted into the program undertake fourth-year level subjects and a short research thesis and must achieve honours-level grades (minimum 65%-H3) for each component of assessment in order to qualify for the award.

The opportunity to specialise provides a strong foundation for the future direction of graduates, whether as a means of progressing to higher degree research in Arts at the Masters or PhD level, or improving the scope of employment options and professional advancement. Students with Honours from Melbourne Arts record exceptionally high rates of satisfaction with the professional and academic directions they pursue beyond graduation.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

The requirements for the BA (Honours) degree is the completion of 100 points of study at fourth-year level. Pure honours usually consists of 62.5 points of coursework and a thesis of 37.5 points. Combined honours usually consists of the thesis and two coursework subjects in one area of study (37.5 + 25 = 62.5 points) and three coursework subjects in the combined area of study (37.5 points).

You are required to achieve an honours grade (ie. H1, H2A, H2B, H3) for each component of assessment in fourth year, and an overall grade of at least H3. Your overall grade will be based on the weighted average of your marks for each component of your fourth-year studies: this is known as your final examination (FE) result.

If any of these requirements are not fulfilled, you will only be eligible for the BA pass degree. A pass (P) or fail (N) grade in any component of assessment will disqualify you from taking out the BA (Honours) degree.Fourth-year studies are usually taken full-time. In exceptional circumstances (such as work commitments, ill-health etc.), and with both School and Faculty approval, you may be permitted to take your fourth-year studies part time over a maximum of two years.

You will not be permitted to transfer to part-time studies after commencing fourth year, nor will you be permitted to withdraw from fourth-year subjects after the first two weeks of each semester without School and Faculty approval.

In all cases, your thesis must be completed over two consecutive semesters within a 12-month period of enrolment. Withdrawal from the thesis will only be permitted in very exceptional circumstances.Once you have enrolled and/or commenced study at fourth-year level, leave of absence will only be approved in exceptional circumstances and with the support of the relevant School/s. The maximum leave that will be granted is two semesters (12 months). If you are granted 12 months leave you must complete your studies within a maximum of three years of the original commencement date of your fourth-year studies.

Students who wish to resume a discontinued University of Melbourne honours degree must follow the application process outlined above. See Applying for Honours.

In all cases, the BA (Honours) degree must be recommenced within five years of the completion of the BA (Pass) degree.

University of Melbourne BA (Pass) degree graduates who have been accepted into the BA (Honours) may be granted, with School approval, a maximum of 12 months leave of absence between the completion of the BA (Pass) degree and the commencement of Honours.

Over-enrolment in the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) is not permitted. Students wishing to complete more than 100 points of study at fourth-year level must apply to enrol in any additional subjects through CAP.

Extensions of time for outstanding work during fourth-year studies (eg. as a result of illness) may be granted to 31 December (30 June for semester one subjects and mid-year-entry year long subjects). Extensions must be approved by the relevant head/s of School or honours coordinator/s.

Any further extensions will require the prior written approval of the Director of Academic Programs as well as the written support of the Head of School. Extensions past 31 December or 30 June may attract additional subject/course fees.Under certain circumstances you may be given credit for studies undertaken at an overseas or interstate university up to a maximum of 37.5 points for pure honours and up to 25 points in each area for combined honours to an overall maximum of 37.5 points.

If you wish to study abroad, interstate or at another local university, you must seek the prior approval of both the relevant School/s and the Honours Course Adviser in the Faculty of Arts. Approval will depend on the appropriate level, weighting and standard of subjects, and, for the thesis, the provision of suitable co-supervision arrangements. Interested students should contact the Honours Course Adviser through the Arts & Music Student Centre.

For information on policies that govern this degree, see Academic Services Policy listed as part of the University Melbourne Policy Framework. Students also should also refer to information on the Student Policy Directory


Please note that some specialisations are not available in pure honours and must be taken in combination with another area - consult each area for more details.

Entry Requirements:

In order to be eligible for admission to fourth year honours you must have:

  • satisfied the requirements of the Bachelor of Arts (heritage degrees only) within the last five years and;

  • completed a major in the particular area/s of study, including any prerequisite subjects specified by the program/s concerned and;

  • attained the appropriate standard across the major/s.

An appropriate standard is an average grade of H2A or H2B over the second/third-year subjects of the major/s. Refer to the individual area of study entry for information on the minimum standard required (see above).

In some circumstances, prospective honours students may, with School support and Faculty approval, be permitted to enrol in a maximum of one 12.5-point bachelor-degree subject in order to fulfil outstanding subject points requirement of the BA (Pass) degree. If approved, the final subject of the BA (Pass) degree will be taken concurrently in the first semester of enrolment in the BA (Honours). This option is not available for BA combined degree students or for the purposes of completing a major sequence in the proposed honours area of study.

Students who do not meet the entry requirements for the BA (Honours) degree may be eligible to apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts. This course also allows students to undertake a research project in a specialist field of study. Admission to the Postgraduate Diploma requires the completion of an undergraduate degree with a major in an approved area of study with a grade average of at least H2A (75%) or H2B (70%) in the final year of the course. The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts is similar in structure to the BA (Honours) and may provide an alternative pathway to higher degree research.

Please note: Students who have completed the new generation B-Arts or an Arts degree from another University should apply for the new generation Honours program (BH Arts). Applications can be found at the following website:

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Description, Course Objectives and Generic Skills of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Further Study: Coursework Masters

If you wish to continue your professional studies at postgraduate level, the studies you undertake in your major can provide a direct pathway to Coursework Masters Degrees in the areas of humanities and social sciences, management, international studies, arts management, development studies and many more. Entry is based on academic merit and in most cases requires a Bachelors degree or equivalent in the relevant study area.

For more information on entry into a coursework masters degree, please refer to the The Graduate School of Humanities & Social Sciences:

Research Higher Degrees

If you wish to undertake advanced research and explore particular study areas in more depth, there will be opportunities to proceed to a range of Research Higher Degrees at masters and doctoral level. For more information about research higher degree study in Arts, see the Faculty of Arts Graduate Research Programs.

Graduate Attributes:

Students who graduate with Honours in the Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne receive a passport to a world of opportunities. The degree provides students with the scope to refine their analytical skills and research techniques while significantly expanding the range of options available after graduation.

Generic Skills:

Arts students are encouraged to pursue their academic interests and professional aspirations by taking a variety of subjects in a range of different areas of study. All arts subjects provide students with transferable generic skills that prepare them for further study and the workplace.

As a result of attendance at scheduled classes, participation in planned activities and discussion groups, and timely completion of essays and assignments, arts graduates should acquire transferable generic skills in the following areas:

  • research

    through competent use of the library, electronic databases, and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;

  • critical thinking and analysis

    through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;

  • thinking in theoretical terms

    through lectures, tutorial discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences;

  • thinking creatively

    through essay writing, creative writing, tutorial discussions and presentations, conceptualising theoretical problems, forming judgements and arguments from conflicting evidence and by critical analysis;

  • understanding of social, ethical and cultural context

    through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument;

  • communicating knowledge intelligibly and economically

    through essay writing and tutorial and seminar discussion;

  • written communication

    through essay preparation and assignment writing;

  • public speaking

    through tutorial and seminar discussion and class presentations;

  • attention to detail

    through essay preparation and writing, and examination revision;

  • time management and planning

    through managing and organising workloads for recommended reading, essay and assignment completion and examination revision;

  • teamwork

    through joint projects and group discussions.

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