Honours in Law

There are three possible pathways whereby an ANU student studying law (whether part of a flexible double or not) may qualify to obtain a law degree with Honours. The final Honours grade is calculated differently depending on the pathway.

If you would like to transfer from the one pathway to another, this may be possible. Please see the SubDean (LLB & JD) for individual advice.

New Honours – LLB(Hons)

Most ANU law students will be enrolled in an LLB(Hons) degree. Since 2015, all undergraduate law students have been enrolled in this program. This program delivers and assesses Honours-level research skills in all coursework, including both compulsory and elective courses. This means that a student enrolled in this program is eligible to be awarded a degree with Honours without needing to write a thesis. This path to Honours is also called embedded honours.

Students who wish to write a thesis in the LLB(Hons) program can enrol in the course LAWS4300 Supervised Research Paper. You do not need to write a thesis in the LLB(Hons) program to be awarded a degree with Honours.

Calculating your Honours grade in the LLB(Hons) program

Upon completion of the LLB(Hons) program, students are given an Honours grade. This grade is different from a GPA. Information about the ANU GPA and how it is calculated is found here: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/grade-point-average-gpa

The LLB(Hons) grade is calculated using WAM (Weighted Average Mean).

Only eligible courses are used for this calculation. Eligible courses are those undertaken at the ANU College of Law for a grade. Students may have fewer ANU law courses if they have, for example, undertaken an exchange, cross institutional study, or transferred to the ANU after starting their law degree somewhere else. While courses studied elsewhere might count towards the completion of a law degree, as they do not have an ANU grade they cannot be used in the Honours calculation.

The honours grade is calculated by adding together the marks for all eligible courses, and then dividing by the total number of eligible courses. This method is called WAM, and is set out in clause 45 in the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy https://policies.anu.edu.au/ppl/document/ANUP_004603).

At the ANU College of Law may also apply a ‘discount rule’. The discount rule works in the following way;

  1. If you have studied 16 courses at the ANU law school, add the 16 grades together and divide by 16.
  2. If you have studied 17 courses at the ANU law school, discount the lowest grade and add the 16 highest grades together and divide by 16.
  3. If you have studied 18 courses at the ANU law school, discount the lowest two grades and add the 16 highest grades together and divide by 16.
  4. If you have studied 19 courses at the ANU law school, discount the lowest three grades and add the highest 16 grades together and divide by 16.
  5. If you have studied 20 courses (or more) at the ANU law school, discount the lowest four grades and add the marks for all the rest of the courses together and divide by the number of courses. This means that you can only discount a maximum of 4 courses.

WAM will produce a number out of 100. This is used to calculate the law Honours grade.

  • 80+ = H1 or First class Honours
  • 70- 79 = 2A or Second Class Honours Division A
  • 60-69 = 2B or Second Class Honours Division B
  • 50 – 59 = Third class Honours
  • Below 50 = No Honours

Please note that for the purposes of Honours calculation, an N or an NCN grade is given 0 marks. Unless a 0 can be excluded according to the discount rules above, it is included in the WAM.

Transferring students – from LLB to LLB (Hons)

Students enrolled in a law degree at the ANU prior to 2015, would have enrolled in an ‘LLB’ degree. With the introduction of the LLB (Hons) program in 2015, many students transferred from the LLB program into the ‘LLB (Hons)’ program. Students must apply to transfer. It does not happen automatically.

For transferring students, the calculation of the Honours grade is the same as for New Honours students. Regardless of the date of your transfer, ‘eligible courses’ include all those completed at the ANU College of Law for a grade on or after Semester 1 2015.

As it is not possible to include the grades for courses before semester 1 2015, it is likely that transferring students will not have many courses to ‘discount’.

Old Honours – LLB with Honours Thesis

Students in the LLB degree who woudl like to be eligible to graduate with Honours need to complete the course LAWS3202 Honours Thesis. Please note this course will be offered in Semester 2, 2019 for the final time, as that is when the ANU College of Law completes the teachout of the old LLB program.

Honours under the previous LLB program is calculated differently. It is a combination a student’s coursework average (Part A), and the mark for the thesis (Part B).

Part A is calculated by applying the Honours scale (see below) to eligible law courses (see below). The mark for Part A constitutes 70% of the mark for the final Honours examination (see below).

Part B consists of a mark derived by applying the Honours scale to the candidate’s result in the Honours Thesis. The mark for Part B constitutes 30% of the mark for the final Honours examination.

An explanation of the terms used in this formula is set out below.

Final honours examination is the calculation of the result for Part A and Part B and leads to the Honours Grade.

Eligible Law courses included 14 or more completed law courses at the ANU. Eligible courses do not include:

  1. Honours Thesis
  2. A course completed by a candidate at another university which has been given status, or any cross institutional study
  3. A course taken for a second or further time, the student having failed the course at the first attempt
  4. If
    1. a student has completed 19 courses at the ANU including Honours Thesis, then 3 courses (18 units) in which the candidate has the lowest mark
    2. a student has completed 18 courses at the ANU including Honours Thesis, then 2 courses (12 units) in which the candidate has the lowest mark
    3. a student has completed 17 courses at the ANU including Honours Thesis, then 2 courses (6 units) in which the candidate has the lowest mark

Honours Scale

Course result (0-100 per cent) Honours Mark (0-10)
0-49 0
50-52 1
43-56 2
57-59 3
60-62 4
63-66 5
67-69 6
70-72 7
73-76 8
77-79 9
80-100 10

Calculation

Part A: The Honours scale is applied to the results from all the eligible law courses (including the Honours Thesis), and an average mark is calculated. This mark is then worth 70% of the overall mark.

Part B: The Honours scale is applied to the Honours Thesis result. The resulting mark is worth 30% of the overall mark.

Honours Grades

  • Honours (First class): if the candidate obtains an Honours mark of 4.25 or more in Part A, and a mark of 4.00 or more in Part B, and an Honours mark of 7.25 or more overall.
  • Honours (Second class division A): if the candidate obtains an Honours mark of 4.25 of more in Part A, and a mark of 4.00 or more in Part B, and an Honours mark of less than 7.25, but more than 5.75 overall.
  • Honours (Second class division B): if the candidate obtains an Honours mark of 4.25 or more in Part A, and a mark of 4.00 or more in Part B, and an Honours mark of 5.75 but more than 4.25 overall. Note that the ANU College of Law may make an award of honours where the student has an Honours mark of 4.25 or more in the final honours examination and there is a marginal shortfall in Part A which may be considered to be compensated for by the result in Part B.

Do you want to transfer?

Students enrolled in the LLB program are still eligible to transfer into the LLB (Hons) program if they meet the following requirements;

  1. Completion of at least 12 courses at the ANU College of Law since 2015 for which a grade has been given, and
  2. The transfer is completed in the semester/ session before you graduate. That is, you must transfer in Semester 1, so that you can graduate in Semester 2. Please refer to the ANU administrative calendar for deadlines to transfer programs (http://www.anu.edu.au/directories). You will not be permitted to transfer in your last semester of law study.

If you are interested in transferring to the LLB (Hons) program and are unsure if you are eligible, please contact the SubDean for advice.

JD students

Only JD students enrolled before 2015 are eligible to graduate with Honours. If so, Honours is calculated in the same way as for ‘Old Honours’ students. JD students enrolled in or after semester 1 2015 who wish to complete a thesis should look to enrol in ‘Graduate Research Unit’ (LAWS 8301).

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team