SoMS Honours

SoMS Honours

Overview » Guidelines for Supervision

Primary supervisors of School of Medical Sciences (SoMS) Honours students must have an academic appointment (paid or conjoint) through the Faculty of Medicine. Associate or Co-Supervisors may be appointed to play a role in the training and supervision of the student in the laboratory. This role can be undertaken by postdoctoral staff; however, postgraduate students cannot take on the role of the associate or co-supervisor. Primary / Co / Associate supervisors in a close personal relationship must declare this to the Honours Convenor, who will then appoint an additional independent, School Associate supervisor.
 
Supervisors who are new to the SoMS Honours program are expected to attend the supervisors’ workshop held in early S1-2016 (date to be confirmed).
 
Given the time and energy commitments needed to effectively supervise students, primary supervisors will generally have only one Honours student. However, experienced supervisors may be allowed a second student, after providing evidence to the Honours Convenor of a successful track record of supervision in SoMS and justification of how they can effectively supervise two students. Supervisors are required to confirm, prior to the commencement of the project, that they are financially able to support the project for the duration of the Honours year and that all ethics and other approvals required for the project have been obtained.
 
Supervisors should bear in mind three important points when proposing an Honours project: firstly, Honours is only an introduction to research so expectations should be realistic; secondly, the proposed project needs to yield results within the period of the Honours “year”; and finally, the Honours year is, in fact, not a full year but only 7 months of research activity plus approximately 2 months to produce and submit a Literature Review and a Project Manuscript.
 
Supervisors are required to attend the two presentations of their Honours student(s) in June (Introductory Seminar) and November (Final Seminar) in order to be aware of their student's performance. Please see the timetable in the course outline or SoMS website for the precise dates of the assessments. Detailed information regarding the requirements, structure, and format of the Literature Review, Introductory and Final Seminars and Project Manuscript are listed in the course outline and SoMS website.
 
Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that their student(s) meet the assessment deadlines of the Honours program, including ensuring attendance at the seminars and timely submission of Literature Review and Project Manuscript, for which late submission penalties exist (see “Penalties” in the course outline). Supervisors should also ensure that their student(s) attend the Research Skills Seminars (during semester 1) and the School/Department/Institute research seminars (throughout the year). Supervisors are asked to regularly review the students’ Seminar Notebooks ensuring that they are attending at least 80% of relevant seminars, and taking notes and reflecting on selected seminars throughout the year (see “Research Performance and Seminar Engagement” in the course outline). Supervisors should also regularly check up on the students’ laboratory books to ensure experimental details and protocols are being effectively recorded. Please see the course outline and SoMS website for the Research Skills and School/Department Research seminar timetables, topics and details for the seminar notebook.
 
Supervisors are required to assess their student(s) performance using the “Research Performance and Seminar Engagement” assessment rubric and submit this at the end of the Honours project. This assessment form outlines the criteria for assessing the student's performance, worth 12.5% of the final Honours grade. 
 
Primary supervisors should have prior primary or co-supervision experience of a SoMS Honours or postgraduate research student, or of a student in a similar Honours or postgraduate research program.
 
Primary supervisors may also be asked to be an Examiner of another SoMS Honours student, and this role is part of the responsibility of supervision of a SoMS student.
 
Please note that the final marks for the Honours year will only be released to students via the standard myUNSW format, and will not be released to supervisors. Students are encouraged to discuss their final marks with their supervisors upon completion of their Honours program.