Available in 2022
Course code



20 units


4000 level

Course handbook


POLI4003 is the first part of the thesis component of the Politics and International Relations Honours year, the other being POLI4004. The honours thesis gives students the opportunity to put the skills they have acquired over the course of their undergraduate studies into advanced practice in the form of a substantial project. This project can be in one of three formats:

1) Academic, 2) Work-Integrated Learning, or 3) Creative/Digital.

Option 1) Academic

This option entails the researching and writing of a 15,000-20,000 word academic thesis on a disciplinary or interdisciplinary topic determined in consultation with an assigned supervisor with expertise in the relevant discipline/s. The thesis will engage critically with recent scholarship in the field, offer a systematic and comprehensive account of the topic, and embody the standards of argumentation, writing, and referencing in the relevant discipline field/s.

Option 2) Work-Integrated Learning

The Work-Integrated Learning option allows students to undertake a substantial research-based project for, or in collaboration with, an approved workplace wholly or largely dedicated to the discipline, pre-approved by the supervisor. Assessment comprises the following:

• a 5,000-8,000-word mini-thesis critically reflecting on the relationship and relevance of the Project, including its finding and outcomes, to the discipline of Politics, and including an engagement with the relevant scholarly literature.

• a 500-word description of the workplace and its key characteristics (to be endorsed by the workplace supervisor)

• and produce a weekly reflective journal totalling 2000 words.

Option 3) Creative/Digital

The Creative/Digital option enables students to engage in practice-led research resulting in a creative work or, alternatively, use new media formats to develop and communicate a research project. Requiring pre-approval by the supervisor, this option entails substantial individual research effort within the chosen discipline. The thesis will consist of a creative/digital portfolio equivalent to between 10,000-12,000 words, accompanied by a 5,000-8000 word reflective analysis outlining the background, aims, methods and theoretical foundations of the project, and developing a critical analysis of the scholarship relevant to the project.

Across its three options, the thesis component of the Honours year is intended to develop and strengthen professional skills, challenge students intellectually, and round off their undergraduate studies with higher-level independent studies designed to be useful in many fields of future endeavour.


Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Apply advanced disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary skills in the design and production of a research project;

2. Critically employ relevant theories and methods;

3. Engage in politics-based research with an awareness of how the Humanities disciplines contribute to cultural and work-based debates around topical socio-cultural and political issues;

4. Formulate an extended critical argument drawing on discipline and/or interdisciplinary knowledge.

5. Demonstrate advanced skills in communicating research.


The thesis project will be pre-approved by, and developed in consultation with the student’s supervisor.

Assumed knowledge

At least a credit average performance in Politics and International Relations courses as a major sequence.

Assessment items

Thesis: Thesis

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Individual Supervision

Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1

Individual supervision as required; to be arranged in consultation between student and supervisor.

Self-Directed Learning

Face to Face On Campus 18 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.