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Admission into the Honours program at Notre Dame is by invitation only. Offers are made to final year law students or students who will graduate at the end of first semester of the following year. Those offers are made in writing and generally in mid December of the year prior to enrolling.
In order to graduate with Honours in Law, students are not required to be admitted into a separate degree course, nor are they required to spend an additional year of study at the University. The Class of Honours in Law is determined by reference to results obtained in all of the law units of the degree AND the completion of a major research paper (thesis).
A student accepted into the Honours program is required to enroll in the unit LW441 Advanced Research Project (ARP). This unit is a two semester unit and takes the place of two elective units. As part of the ARP unit, the student must write and submit a major research paper of 10,000-12,000 words. The topic is chosen by the student but must be approved by the course co-ordinator.
When the final Honours grades are calculated, LW 441 is given double the weighting of other units in the degree when calculating the class of Honours.
The University of Notre Dame allows for three different classes of Honours to be awarded:
- First Class Honours
- Second Class Honours (level A); and
- Second Class Honours (level B).
While the class of Honours is noted on the student transcript, the current practice at the University, except in the case of First Class Honours, is simply to note that the degree was conferred with ‘Honours’ on the testamurs with no reference to the class awarded.
The School of Law does not apply a bell curve or a scaling policy to the grading of the ARP papers or the determination of the different classes of Honours. The final determination of the class of Honours is made by the School of Law Honours Committee and it is based on the results the student has achieved in all of their law units and the ARP paper.
Some interesting past theses have considered:
The law relating to the removal of spermatozoa from deceased/comatose men.
A civil cause of action (tort) against climate change vandals.
Blog seeding, e-roaching and misleading marketing.
Privatised war: Regulation and accountability of private military companies.
Any queries relating to Honours in the Law degree should be directed to the
Honours Coordinator, Lisa Jarvis : firstname.lastname@example.org