Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The thesis units, SCIE403 and SCIE404 (or SCIE403 and SCIE405 and SCIE406), form the capstone of the Honours degree. These supervisor led units respect the individual as an independent and active learner, allowing them to further develop and implement their theoretical and technical knowledge and skills by designing, conducting and communicating a research project in a collaborative and collegial environment. The results in the form of a traditional academic thesis or combination of journal article, literature review and extended methods, normally of 10,000 to 15,000 words in length, to be submitted for independent examination following the existing University policy.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Implement a program of research that will effectively address a relevant question, including designing experiments and analysis of resultant data (GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8) 

LO2 - Demonstrate ability to conduct research to a required standard including workplace safety standards in the laboratory or field as required (GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8) 

LO3 - Report on the outcomes of that program in a manner consistent with well- recognised and prescribed academic practice specific to the discipline (GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10) 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 


A specific research topic will be chosen in discussion with the allocated supervisor. The topic will reflect the student’s current knowledge base, expertise and interest. The student will be required to prepare and present a systematic or narrative review of the literature, a discussion of the method chosen, describe their results, and discuss the implications and conclusions of their findings. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning will be largely by means of a mentoring relationship with the allocated supervisor. Students will be expected to meet regularly with their supervisor on an individual basis. The frequency of consultation might be expected to vary at different times in the process. For example, there might be a need for more regular contact during the actual formulation of the problem, at the commencement of the data collection and in the writing-up process.  

The supervision process, during which students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and its successful outcomes reflects respect for the student as an independent learner. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment in this unit mimics the outcomes of research in the real world. Students will present a seminar that outlines the outcomes of their honours project. The seminar is a common communication method for researchers either reporting back to funding bodies and/or seeking informal peer review prior to preparation for publication. The written task, in either thesis or journal article format (with an expanded literature review and methods section) aligns with the research processes of the real world.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment task 1 Seminar 

Students will present a seminar of their Honours project outcomes  


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Assessment 2: Written task 

i) Submission by thesis 

a. Thesis 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 


ii) Submission as a journal article

LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

a) Journal article 


b) Literature review


c)Expanded method section 


Representative texts and references

Day, R.A. (2006). How to write and publish a scientific paper (6th Ed.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.  

Divan, A. (2009). Communication skills for the Biosciences: A graduate guide. Oxford University Press: Oxford.  

Katz, M. (2006). From research to manuscript: A guide to scientific writing. Springer: Dordrecht.  

Lindsay, D. (2011). Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.  

Matthews, J.R., & Matthews, R.W. (2014). Successful scientific writing: a step by step guide for biomedical and medical sciences (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Moriarty, M.F. (1997). Writing science through critical thinking Jones & Bartlett: Massachusetts.  

Murray, R. (2006). How to write a thesis (2nd Ed.). Open University Press: Philadelphia.  

Reardon, D. (2006). Doing your undergraduate project. Sage Publications: California.  

Rugg, G. & Petre, M. (2007). A gentle guide to research methods. Open University Press: New York.  

Shamoo, A. & Resnik, D. (2003). Responsible conduct of science. Oxford University Press: New York. 

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