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The aim of the Honours program in History, which can also be an option for those students who have majored in Australian Studies, is to provide students with either an apprenticeship as professional historians, or an extended knowledge of Australian social, economic and political life. Honours is an exciting and stimulating intellectual experience. Students carry out original research from archival, printed and or oral sources and construct a reasoned argument on the basis of their evidence to develop a thesis that displays a command of the language and the concepts and theory relevant to the subject in question.
History Honours students face a broad choice of careers on completion of their studies. A proportion go on to postgraduate studies but others use their skills in careers such as teaching, publishing, the public service, journalism, museum work, management and many other areas. In addition, since the 1980s, an increasing number of Honours graduates have been practicing as independent professional historians, writing histories for corporations, local government bodies and organizations.
The Honours program consists of coursework (worth 4 credit points), and a dissertation of between 15,000 and 16,000 words (worth 4 credit points). Full-time students will complete the program in one academic year; part time students normally take two years. Coursework is usually done before the dissertation.
A thesis is a limited piece of independent research based on both secondary (published) sources and some primary material (e.g. the minutes of Cabinet or the League of Nations, newspapers, collections of documents, oral evidence or quantitative data from official or private sources). The thesis addresses a proposition and presents an argument and conclusion, i.e. your 'thesis'. It is not simply a narration of events or views even though it may well include an important assembling and ordering of such events or views.
It is important, for your own motivation, that you write on a topic or examine or analyse a problem which interests you. This topic must, however, be viable. This means that the sources it requires must be readily available and not too voluminous to make the task beyond the scope of a dissertation of this length. You should be able to research and write your thesis in six months if you are a full-time student, or one year, if you are part-time.
Your choice of topic must be refined in discussions with the academic staff in your discipline area. The Honours Coordinators will refer you to the member of staff whose interests most closely align with your own.
Further information including units of study can be found in the Deakin course search.
Dr Helen Gardner
Honours Course Adviser - History
School Honours Coordinator