Bachelor of Laws with Honours
An award of Honours signals that a student has achieved high order legal research competencies and a high standard of academic excellence in their LLB degree.
Completion of the LLB with Honours requires students to develop skills in legal research methodologies. These skills are highly relevant to a range of professional career options, including academic careers, research, policy and government advisory positions, as well as enhancing the range of legal research skills that can be applied to conventional forms of legal practice. In addition, employers in the legal profession tend to look favourably upon an Honours award as indicating that a student has achieved a high standard of excellence in their undergraduate law studies.
Entry to the LLB Honours program is open only to students who attain excellence in their LLB studies. The Honours program involves the completion of two units of study:
Together, the two Honours units require the preparation of a sound research methodology and proposal to support the completion of a research thesis.
The School's Honours program is comparable to the Honours programs which operate in other academic disciplines. This is important for LLB Honours graduates who may in future wish to apply for postgraduate scholarships and to enrol in postgraduate studies. This is because an Honours qualification is a pre-requisite to entry into some postgraduate programs and is relevant to eligibility for postgraduate scholarships.
All students enrolled in an LLB program offered by the School of Law and Justice may be eligible to graduate with an LLB with Honours. However, attainment of Honours requires you to meet certain requirements during your LLB studies:
- Approaching the end of your LLB degree (ordinarily, students will not be considered for entry into the Honours program until they have completed at least 16 units of study),
- Have a GPA of 5.3 or above to enter the Honours program,
- Discuss, negotiate and agree upon a research project with an Honours student supervisor [see Faculty page for information about SLJ Academic staff]
- Complete two units of study in this sequence (it is not possible to enrol in the second unit without having completed the first one)
- LAW10181 Legal Research: Context, Method and Perspective (Session 1) and
- LAW00524 Independent Legal Research (Session 2),
- Achieve higher than a mid-point Credit level Weighted Grade Point Average in your LLB units of study.
An award of Honours is based on a student's Weighted Grade Point Average (WGPA). The calculation of the WGPA is based on your results in LAW10181 Legal Research: Context, Method and Perspective and LAW00524 Independent Legal Research plus your 18 highest 12-credit points law units (or equivalent) which form part of the LLB degree, including units that were completed cross-institutionally.
- Units that are 'double weighted' based on workload (ie 24-credit point units) will have their GPA doubled.
- Units that are given ungraded passes will not be counted.
- Units that do not form part of the LLB degree will not be counted.
To calculate your WGPA, make a note of your grades in LAW10181 Legal Research: Context, Method and Perspective and LAW00524 Independent Legal Research and then select your highest 18 grades from the other LLB units you have completed. Allocate the following points to each grade you have achieved as relevant:
- High Distinction: 7 points
- Distinction: 6 points
- Credit: 5 points
- Pass: 4 points
- Fail: 0 points
Add up your points, and then divide by 20. This will give you your WGPA, and allow you to determine the level of Honours to which you may be eligible. Under the WGPA system, the midpoint of the Credit range is 5.5, a Distinction is 6, and the midpoint of the Distinction range is 6.5.
The Honours categories require the following levels of achievement:
- First Class Honours: midpoint of the Distinction range or better (ie 6.5 to 7)
- Second Class Honours - Division I: Distinction to, but not including, the midpoint (ie 6 to 6.499)
- Second Class Honours - Division II: midpoint of the Credit range to, but not including, Distinction (ie 5.5 to 5.999)
Students who achieve First Class Honours and obtain High Distinction in both Honours units of study indicated above may also be eligible for the award of the University Medal.
Study mode and commencement date
Students are invited to contact a prospective Academic Supervisor at their earliest convenience, in order to discuss, negotiate and agree upon a research project. Once a research project has been finalized, and all other enrolment conditions have been confirmed, enrolment in the Honours program is then confirmed by the SLJ Honours Program Director.
Southern Cross University usually holds an Honours Orientation Day for all students enrolled in the Honours programs. This day includes a number of seminars that assist students to start and manage their Honours project, to explain the approval process applied to Research Ethics applications, and outline the services available to support Honours study. Although we encourage attendance at the Orientation Day, it is not compulsory. Orientation is usually held in the week prior to commencement of Session 1.
Honours students in law must complete two units of study in their Honours year. The first unit, LAW10181 Legal Research: Context, Method and Perspective is offered only in Session 1 each year. The unit requires attendance at a compulsory 1-day workshop, which is usually held during Orientation week. Attendance at this workshop is compulsory unless an exemption is granted by the SLJ Honours program Director.
Honours students are expected to work independently, under the guidance of their Academic Supervisor. Student learning is further supported by a facilitated Blackboard site, online tutorials and a discussion board.
Students are also invited to attend the School for the purposes of the unit's first assessment item (an oral presentation of their research project); students who reside outside the Far North Coast/Gold Coast region will be permitted to complete this assessment via Collaborate if they are unable to attend in person. Ordinarily, presentations are held in Week 8. Students are then expected to complete and submit a research proposal as their second and final assessment item for this unit.
The second unit, LAW00524 Independent Legal Research, is offered only in Session 2 each year, and enrolment in this unit is conditional upon completion of the previous one. Student learning is largely self-directed, but will be supported both by the Academic Supervisor and the SLJ Honours Program Director. At the end of the unit, students are expected to submit a 10,000 word thesis
How to Apply
To be eligible for Honours, you must:
- Confirm that you are approaching the end of your degree: ordinarily, students will not be considered for entry into the Honours program until they have completed at least 16 units of study.
- Confirm you have a GPA of 5.3 or above at the time you wish to enter the Honours program.
- Contact a prospective Academic Supervisor to discuss a potential research project. Once you have agreed on a research project, contact the SLJ Honours Program Director to confirm your enrolment.
- Enrol in the prescribed units by submitting a 'unit approval request' via MyEnrolment.
If you require more information about the Honours program, please contact:
Associate Professor Jennifer Nielsen
Acting Honours Co-ordinator