Honours information

Admission criteria

  • A grade point average of Credit (or equivalent for students who completed their undergraduate studies elsewhere), preferably including a Distinction for the Integrated Project.
  • Students who can demonstrate an improved performance and academic record or who have professional experience in the specified area of research may also be eligible, subject to approval by the Head of School.

Marine invertebrates

Marine productivity

Marine sustainability

Marine mammals

Coral reefs

Marine chemistry

Fisheries and aquaculture

Nutrient cycling

  • Novel nitrogen cycling pathways in aquatic environments - Dr Dirk Erler
  • Carbon cycles in aquatic environments - Professor Isaac Santos
  • Carbon and nitrogen cycling in estuaries, mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs - Professor Brad Eyre
  • Controls on phosphorous export to coastal systems - Dr Naomi Wells
  • Nutrient enrichment and food web dynamics - Dr Joanne Oakes
  • Effect of weed plants in the coastal zone on macrofauna communities and nutrient cycling - Dr Joanne Oakes
  • Water quality and pollution - Dr Douglas Tait
  • Historical water quality trends in south east QLD estuaries - Dr Naomi Wells
  • Managing water quality during the blueberry farming bloom -  Professor Isaac Santos


  • Groundwater geochemistry - Professor Isaac Santos
  • Effect of rainfall on catchment nutrient losses - Dr Naomi Wells
  • Groundwater nutrient inputs to the Great Barrier Reef - Dr Douglas Tait


  • Palaeo-biogeochemistry - Dr Dirk Erler
  • Palaeoecology - Dr Kathryn Taffs
  • Paleo-indicators of change: Sea surface temperature, heavy metals and rare earth elements - Dr Sander Scheffers

Vegetated aquatic systems

  • Wetland ecosystems- Dr Kathryn Taffs
  • Wetland nutrient and greenhouse gas cycling - Dr Dirk Erler
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from coastal vegetated systems - Dr Damien Maher
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from estuaries- Dr Naomi Wells
  • Water quality and bio indicators - Dr Kathryn Taffs
  • Measuring surface elevation change and impacts of sea level rise on estuarine wetlands /mangroves - Dr Debra Stokes
  • Vertebrate ecology of mangrove ecosystems - Dr Debra Stokes
  • Carbon and nutrient uptake and processing within vegetated coast systems (mangroves, seagrass, saltmarsh) - Dr Joanne Oakes

Metals and toxicology

Plant genetics

  • Unravelling the genetic control of traits of interest in commercial Passionfruit - Dr Peter Bundock
  • Restoration genetics of rainforest plant species of the Big Scrub - Dr Peter Bundock

Medicinal plant chemistry

  • Botanical origin and sample conformance in herbal authentication - Peter Mouatt and Associate Professor Kirsten Benkendorff
  • Chemical diversity in Citrus or passiflower extracts - Dr Joshua Smith
  • Novel applications for black cumin seed - Ashley Dowell
  • Novel uses for Australian medicinal plants - Ashley Dowell
  • Development of a standard for Eremophila mitchellii (Buddha wood) oil - Ashley Dowell


Plant biochemistry

  • Chemicals in Coffee and analysis

    Coffee is one of the most commercialised and widely consumed food products in the world. The Australian coffee market is worth approximately 2 billion dollars and the average per capita consumption is about 2 kg coffee per year. However, 99% of the coffee consumed in Australia is grown overseas and imported as green beans ready for roasting.  Coffee quality is mainly influenced by specific chemical components in the coffee bean. The aim of this project is to develop and optimise an efficient analysis method to detect key chemicals responsible for the variation of coffee quality. This important method and information can later assist us to select coffee varieties to be grown in Australia.  This project will utilise the new liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) platform available at Southern Cross Plant Science to analyse chemical components in raw and roasted coffee beans.

    To apply please send your CV and academic transcript first to ben.liu@scu.edu.au 

    Number available: One
    Value: $5000
    Course of study: Enrolled into Bachelor of Science with Honours at Southern Cross University.

    Selection criteria:
    Enrol into Bachelor of with Honours degree in 2020 session 3 or in 2021 at Southern Cross University, where preference may be given to domestic students.

    The applicant should have completed a science degree preferably at Southern Cross University attaining a GPA of 5 and above.

Plant nutrition

  • The influence of nitrification inhibitors and urease inhibitors on soil function - Associate Professor Terry Rose
  • The impact of nitrogen and phosphorus on oil yield and quality in tea tree - Associate Professor Terry Rose

Ecology and Environmental Management

  • Socio-cultural environmental management - Professor Bill Boyd
  • Vegetation ecology, threatened species conservation, ecological restoration - Dr Claudia Catterall
  • Conservation genetics, Biodiversity and landscape connectivity - Professor Les Christidis
  • Conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife - Associate Professor Ross Goldingay
  • Ecology and management of forest wildlife - Associate Professor Ross Goldingay
  • Road impacts on wildlife and their mitigation - Associate Professor Ross Goldingay
  • Marine conversation and management - Associate Professor Brendan Kelaher
  • Water quality and bio indicators - Dr Kathryn Taffs
  • Impacts of the marine ornamental aquarium trade - Dr Anna Scott


  • Forest restoration - Professor Bill Boyd
  • Evolutionary biogeography of the Australasian fauna - Professor Les Christidis
  • Domestication of subtropical and tropical tree species - Associate Professor Doland Nichols
  • Tree regeneration in Border Ranges - Associate Professor Doland Nichols
  • Silviculture and forest health in subtropical eucalypt plantations - Associate Professor Doland Nichols
  • Modelling competition in mixed species stands - Professor Jerry Vanclay
  • Plantations and water use - Professor Jerry Vanclay
  • Incentives for sustainable private native forestry - Professor Jerry Vanclay
  • Evaluating the biodiversity value of mixed species restoration systems throughout the agricultural landscapes of the Northern Rivers - Dr Kevin Glencross

Geology and geography

  • Quarternary geology and Geoarchaeology - Professor Bill Boyd
  • Evolutionary biogeography of the Australasian fauna - Professor Les Christidis

Society, culture and education

  • Environmental interpretation/education - Associate Professor David Lloyd
  • Community and Indigenous consultation - Associate Professor David Lloyd
  • Higher education and teaching and learning - Professor Bill Boyd
  • Transitions to sustainability - Dr Hanabeth Luke
  • Social license for industrial development - Dr Hanabeth Luke
  • Social dimensions of land management - Dr Hanabeth Luke
  • Social resistance movements - Dr Hanabeth Luke

Carbon and climate

  • Coal seam gas - Professor Isaac Santos
  • Climate adaptation - Professor Caroline Sullivan
  • Carbon cycling and sequestration - Dr Douglas Tait and Dr Damien Maher
  • The influence of increased temperature and CO2 on benthic metabolism - Dr Damien Maher
  • Contribution of benthic microalgae to carbon burial ("blue carbon") - Dr Joanne Oakes
  • Carbon sequestration in mangroves and wetlands - Associate Professor Christian Sanders

Environmental polymers and plastics

  • Antibacterial polymer surfaces - Dr Lachlan Yee
  • Environmentally sustainable, responsible or biodegradable materials - Dr Lachlan Yee
  • Assessing microplastic contamination in estuarine sediments - Dr Debra Stokes

Spatial sciences

  • Geographic information systems and database management - Dr Michael Whelan
  • Remote sensing and agricultural software - Dr Michael Whelan
  • How useful are small drones in monitoring estuarine plants and animals? - Dr Debra Stokes
  • Ray population assessments; with drones - Dr Debra Stokes
  • Cutting-edge drone monitoring of wildlife and habitats - Associate Professor Brendan Kelaher
  • Exploring NDVI videography to map mangroves in the tweed - Dr Debra Stokes

Regional and urban planning

  • Delivering affordable housing - Dr Elizabeth O'Brien
  • Environmental planning - Dr Ruth Potts
  • Governance - Dr Ruth Potts
  • Land use planning - Dr Ruth Potts
  • Local government, infrastructure and services - Dr Elizabeth O'Brien
  • Planning for population ageing - Dr Elizabeth O'Brien
  • Planning for sustainable communities - Dr Elizabeth O'Brien

Environmental economics

  • Ecological and environmental economics - Professor Caroline Sullivan
  • Ecosystem service valuation - Professor Caroline Sullivan
  • Resource use by Indigenous people - Professor Caroline Sullivan

Environmental engineering and waste management

  • Wastewater greenhouse gas production - Dr Dirk Erler
  • Acid rock drainage - Associate Professor Malcolm Clark
  • Mine tailings slurry transition to soil: case study on changes of water content and effective stress - Dr Mona Malekzadeh
  • Assessment of mine tailings modification by bio-cementation method: feasibility study Dr Mona Malekzadeh

Additional information

Study mode and commencement dates

You can choose to study Honours on a full-time or part-time basis. There are three commencement dates - the start of session 1, 2 and 3.

How to apply

  1. Download and read the latest 2020 Honours Handbook.
  2. Decide what area of interest you would like to study and then find out which members of academic staff may be qualified to supervise you. Also see the available Honours projects.
    Supervisor Candidate Agreement Form  (Please download this form to fill in fields. Do not add information through the web browser as it does not save correctly.)
  3. Apply online.
  4. Existing Southern Cross students can apply using the application tab within My Enrolment.
  5. If you have any further questions contact the Honours program coordinator.