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Bachelor of Design in Architecture



To qualify for enrolment in the one-year, full-time honours program a student must have qualified for the award of the Bachelor of Design in Architecture pass degree, or an equivalent degree from another university, with a weighted average mark of at least 70.

Before making their application a prospective honours student must develop a dissertation topic and receive confirmation from an appropriate member of full-time or fractional academic or research staff that they are willing to supervise them. It is also possible to have an associate supervisor where a student’s research topic extends beyond the immediate expertise of their primary supervisor.

The Honours year

Honours must be undertaken full time over two consecutive semesters. It comprises four units of study (ARCH4003 and ARCH4004 in the first semester and ARCH4005 and ARCH4006 in the second semester).
There are no formal classes. Honours students are expected to make arrangements for weekly contact with their supervisor on an individual basis to chart their work, receive advice, review and monitor progress.

Submission date and form of dissertation

A student undertaking a dissertation shall:

  • lodge two copies of their dissertation with their supervisor by the end of the first week of the formal examination period in the final semester of enrolment.
  • the dissertation should be between 15,000 and 25,000 words in length.
  • a lesser word length is expected and acceptable for a dissertation that has a significant non-text-based exploration (for example, dissertations that include a significant design or art component, or empirical or experimental research component). In these cases the word length will be determined and agreed with the candidate's supervisor(s) and the Principal Examiner.
  • state in the dissertation, generally in the preface and specifically in the notes, the sources on which the research was based, the extent to which the student has made use of the work of others and the portion of the dissertation which is claimed to be original; and
  • not lodge as the student's own work any work previously submitted for a degree of the University of Sydney or any other university, but may incorporate such work in the dissertation provided that the student indicates the work so incorporated.

A student may lodge the dissertation for examination bound in either a temporary or permanent form according to the following conditions:

  • temporary binding must be able to withstand ordinary handling and postage.
  • the preferred form of binding is the 'perfect binding' system
  • the cover of a temporarily bound dissertation must have a label showing the student's name, name of the degree, title of the dissertation and year of submission.

A student must lodge the final dissertation in a permanent form according to the following conditions:

  • following examination and emendation if necessary, at least one copy (the library copy) of the dissertation must be bound in a permanent form
  • if amendments are required, all copies of the dissertation which are to remain available within the University must be amended.


Students who do not complete the honours year will be awarded the pass degree. Those who terminate their study prior to the end of the second semester of study will be awarded a grade of 'DC' or 'Discontinue without failure'.
Students who fail or discontinue the honours program may not re-enrol in it, except with the approval of the Dean.

Determination of honours

A candidate's performance shall be assessed by a Principal Examiner and two other examiners. The Principal Examiner shall normally be the Degree Program Director unless otherwise nominated by the Dean. After consultation with the supervisor, the Principal Examiner shall appoint two examiners to examine the dissertation.
The Principal Examiner is appointed to oversee the examination process within the policies of the University for the assessment and examination of coursework.
The role of the Principal Examiner is to:

  • make available to each honours student the criteria and assessment instrument for the examination of the honours dissertation
  • appoint two examiners for each dissertation
  • ensure that all examiners have been appropriately briefed on the assessment criteria. Where practicable, new examiners will be provided with examples of dissertations, which have been assessed within various bands to help calibrate the assessment
  • review the examiners' reports and conduct a parity check. Parity is defined by the principle of equal marks for equivalent work.

The examiners shall report to the Principal Examiner.
The Dean shall, on the recommendation of the Principal Examiner, award the degree of Bachelor of Design in Architecture with honours whenever the following sections are satisfied:

  • the examiners have recommended the degree be awarded without reservation or subject to emendations to all copies of the dissertation which are to remain available in the University; or
  • the Principal Examiner unanimously accepts the recommendation of the supervisor that the degree be awarded subject to emendations despite reservations expressed by any examiner; and
  • the overall performance is 70 or greater.

The Dean, on the recommendation of the Principal Examiner, will determine the class of honours, if any, on the overall performance of the candidate in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture using a mark derived from weighting the mark for the honours dissertation at 70 percent and the weighted average mark of the pass degree at 30 percent.

The honours dissertation itself receives a mark, which is recorded on the transcript next to ARCH4006. The other units will be converted to 'SR' for 'Satisfied requirements' upon successful completion of the dissertation.
The honours degree of Bachelor of Design in Architecture shall be awarded to eligible students, with the following grades:

  • Honours Class I (with a mark of at least 80), or
  • Honours Class II, Division 1 (with a mark of at least 75), or
  • Honours Class II, Division 2 (with a mark of at least 70).

The University Medal may be awarded as described in the frequently asked questions section.

A candidate for the honours program who does not meet the requirements for award of honours shall be awarded the Bachelor of Design in Architecture pass degree.
The Dean may also recommend that an unsuccessful candidate be permitted to prepare for re-examination if of sufficient merit and the supervisor has so recommended.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the program students will be able to:

No. Course learning outcome Graduate quality Graduate quality Graduate quality Graduate quality
1 Exercise ethical judgement based on a sound understanding of the fundamental concerns of the discipline of architecture and the ways that its knowledge and practices are shared, assessed and accepted. Depth of disciplinary expertise Integrated professional, ethical and personal identity    


Appraise the multiple criteria of architectural design, including programmatic, thematic, structural and environmental concerns, and synthesise these in persuasive architectural projects that are conceptually grounded and technically adept. Depth of disciplinary expertise Critical thinking and Problem solving Inventiveness


3 Demonstrate comprehension of the key ideas, movements and protagonists in historical and contemporary architectural discourse, and critique them using the conventions of humanities research. Depth of disciplinary expertise Critical thinking and Problem solving

Communication (oral and written)

Integrated professional, ethical and personal identity
4 Identify and examine the technical and environmental factors acting on architectural design, and devise integrated solutions using evidence-based criteria. Depth of disciplinary expertise Critical thinking and Problem solving



5 Employ well-developed skills in various modes of architectural representation, including drawings and models, to develop and communicate architectural propositions. Depth of disciplinary expertise Critical thinking and Problem solving Information and Digital literacy Communication (oral and written)
6 Work collaboratively in interdisciplinary contexts to address complex built environment problems, accommodating differing cultural values and practices to promote just outcomes and enact positive change. Cultural competence Interdisciplinary effectiveness Integrated professional, ethical and personal identity Influence
7 Respond to the challenges of new knowledges and practices in architecture, including emergent technologies, to arrive at novel solutions to complex problems. Depth of disciplinary expertise Information and Digital literacy Inventiveness


8 Demonstrate a working knowledge of the regulatory and legal frameworks within which the architectural profession operates, and formulate and justify decisions made in these contexts using appropriate terminology. Depth of disciplinary expertise Communication (oral and written) Information and Digital literacy Integrated professional, ethical and personal identity
9 Navigate the differing theoretical underpinnings, methodologies and conventions of various modes of architectural research to successfully conduct a substantial independent research project. Critical thinking and Problem solving Communication (oral and written) Depth of disciplinary expertise Influence

Honours unit of study table

Bachelor of Design in Architecture

Students are required to complete the following units of study:
Unit of study Credit points A: Assumed knowledge P: Prerequisites
C: Corequisites N: Prohibition


Semester 1
Dissertation and Research Methods A
Dissertation and Research Methods B
12    ARCH4003
Semester 2
Dissertation and Research Methods C
12    ARCH4004
Dissertation and Research Methods D
12    ARCH4005