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HUMA400 Honours Thesis A (Full-Time)

Unit rationale, description and aim

Honours graduates in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences need to be able to identify, respond to and solve complex and emerging problems and challenges in a wide range of professional contexts through engaging in original and methodologically appropriate research. In this unit, students will advance their understanding of a specialist field by developing a thesis that responds to a researchable question and contributes new knowledge to the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences and advances the common good. You will work with your supervisor in negotiating the topic and, with their guidance, you will develop advanced skills in accessing, synthesizing and evaluating primary and/or secondary data as relevant evidence applied to your thesis. This unit aims to support the development of advanced theoretical and technical knowledge and skills through a process of self-directed and scholarly investigation that supports further learning and/or professional practice in the field. 

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Autonomously formulate a complex research project according to the methodological and ethical conventions of the field of studyGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO2Apply advanced cognitive and technical research skills in the chosen field of studyGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO3Critically analyse and evaluate an original research problem in the form of a thesisGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO4Transmit an advanced scholarly, theoretical and/or technical contribution to knowledge in the form of a 15,000 word thesisGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO5Utilise advanced communication skills of clear and precise thesis writingGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11


Topics covered in thesis supervision sessions will normally include:

  • ethics
  • primary and secondary research approaches
  • goal setting and time management
  • skills in reporting and analysis
  • scholarly critique
  • argumentation
  • citation
  • writing, editing and preparing the thesis for examination.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

You will work closely with a specialist supervisor who is appointed by the National Head of School to negotiate a topic of significance in an approved field and develop a question and a methodological approach that can guide your research. As an Honours student, you are expected to work autonomously in developing your thesis by applying theories, concepts, data and skills relevant to advancing understanding in the specialist field. Your supervisor will engage you in regular cycles of reflection and critical self-appraisal to incrementally develop a sophisticated and scholarly thesis of 15,000 words. In addition, your supervisor will guide you in developing techniques to find further resources available within ACU, the relevant scholarly community and industry, to support your learning, the development of your thesis and your professional competence. 


This unit has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 300 hours in total across the semester.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The summative assessment for the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) is a 15,000 word original, written thesis based on work carried out over the period of study that evidences advanced knowledge and skills necessary for further learning or professional practice in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Over this period of study, you will be provided with regular formative assessment of your progress by your supervisor who will seek and respond to drafts of your writing as well as invite you to question and debate prominent arguments, theories and empirical evidence that pertain to your research question/problem. At the end of your first semester, you will present a work-in-progress paper or written progress report, as specified by your supervisor. By such regular and formative feedback loops, your supervisor will monitor your performance of the learning outcomes for this course, support your development of scholarly agency and your achievement of the summative assessment task.


The research thesis must adhere to the conventions of the candidate’s field of study and the requirements stipulated in the University Guidelines for Honours Programs.


This assessment regime aligns with the standard tertiary practice for AQF-Level 8, Honours level work in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The thesis examination will involve an assessment of the student’s ability to formulate, analyse, evaluate and apply knowledge addressing an original research problem. The thesis examination will also assess the student’s application of cognitive and research skills through clear and precise scholarly writing.


The thesis examination will be in line with the University Guidelines for Honours Programs.


The Research Thesis comprises 50 credit points of units. The result for each unit in this sequence will be the same and will be awarded when all units are completed and the thesis has been examined.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Honours Research Thesis (15,000 words): an original, research-based scholarly report in a specialist field of Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences

100% over 50cp of thesis units

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Byrne, D. Research Ethics. Los Angeles: Sage, 2016.

Fink, A. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 6th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2020.

Hammond, M., and J.J. Wellington. Research Methods: The Key Concepts. 2nd ed. London & New York: Routledge. 2021

Iltis, A. S., and D. McKay. The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Kumar, R. Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners. 5th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2019.

Leavy, P. The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Martin, K. L. Please Knock Before You Enter: Aboriginal Regulation of Outsiders and the Implications for Researchers. Teneriffe, Qld: Post Pressed, 2008.

McGregor, D., J. Restoule and R. Johnston. Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices, and Relationships. Toronto: Canadian Scholars, 2018.

Sullivan, Graeme. Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in Visual Arts. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2010.

Walliman, Nicholas. Your Undergraduate Dissertation: The Essential Guide for Success. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2014.

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