• Class Number 6882
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 24 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Christian Wolf
    • AsPr Christian Wolf
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

The research project forms a major component (50-75%) of the assessment in the A&A honours program. Students will have a choice of a wide variety of projects offered by academic staff at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics every year. The remaining 25-50% will be in the form of coursework.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Plan and engage in an independent and sustained critical investigation and evaluation of a chosen research topic in astronomy and/or astrophysics.
  2. Systematically identify relevant theory and concepts, relate these to appropriate methodologies and evidence, and draw appropriate conclusions.
  3. Engage in systematic discovery and critical review of appropriate and relevant information sources
  4. Appropriately apply statistical or other evaluation processes to original data.
  5. Communicate research concepts and contexts clearly and effectively both in writing and orally.

Research-Led Teaching

Honours in astronomy and astrophysics offers qualified students a first taste of research. While publishable results are not expected, every Honours student will independently investigate advanced material and engage in the process of open-ended inquiry.

The CHM/COS College Honours Handbook and timelines can be downloaded from the College forms-policies-guidlines website.

Honours students will be enrolled in a dedicated Wattle page for RSAA researchers which contains relevant resources and support materials.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Extensions to thesis (and assignment) deadlines will only be granted for health reasons or for unforeseen circumstances (i.e. that arose due to factors beyond the student’s control). Extensions will not be granted for work reasons or due to circumstances that should have been anticipated by you, the student. Extensions to thesis deadlines require careful and complete documentation of the causes and demonstration that the circumstances were beyond the control of the student. Such applications should be discussed with the supervisor, and, following this, with the Honours Convener. The Convener must approve any extension of up to two weeks. Extension of time to submit beyond two weeks after the completion date will be subject to the approval of the Deputy Dean on the recommendation of the Honours convener. Note: No application for an extension will be considered unless the Milestone Completion Form is submitted by the required due date. The Milestone Completion Form has to be submitted by the Monday prior to the thesis submission date.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Overview:The Astronomy and Astrophysics Honours Thesis course is taken as a variable unit course over two consecutive semesters. Students enrol in ASTR4005 (12 units) in their first semester of enrolment and ASTR4005 (12 units) in their second Semester of enrolment. For every 6 units of enrolment, the expectation is that the student would work a minimum of 8-10 hours/week over the course of the semester.
A student enrolling in full-time Honours for the first time in Semester 2 is expected to submit their thesis in Semester 1 of the following year.
Students who are enrolled part-time or taking a reduced study load should consult the Honours convener for information about the due dates and unit distribution.
The Honours year Sem 2 intake commences on Monday 24 July. Students are expected to begin discussions with their supervisor(s) and meet with the Honours Convener in advance of classes beginning on 24 July.
This summary provides a general information for a student enrolling in this course for the first time as a full-time student.
It is expected that full-time Honours students will enrol in this course twice over consecutive semesters (total 24 units) along with other coursework courses that form part of the honours year to a total of 48 units in the full-year.
2 In the first semester of candidature, by August 25, Honours students are required to present a research proposal, which outlines the project including theoretical underpinnings of the problem to be tackled, the proposed method and a literature review. After the end of the first semester of candidature, by January 15, a mid-term report is to be submitted for formative evaluation. Research proposal due 18 September 2023Mid-term report due 25 February 2023Further milestones - please see 2023 Honours Timeline and Handbook for full details as well as ASTR4005 Wattle page.Seminar/Oral Presentation in May 2024Thesis Submission (100% marks) - 23 May 2024

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Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Submission of research proposal 0 % 18/09/2023 30/09/2023 1,2,3,5
Presentation of the mid-term research progress report 0 % 25/02/2024 15/03/2024 1,2,3,4,5
Oral presentation of thesis work 20 % 03/06/2024 03/06/2024 5
Final Research Thesis 80 % 23/05/2024 30/06/2024 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students will have regular meetings with their project supervisors and work independently on a critical investigation of a chosen research topic, approximately 20 hrs of intellectual activities per week in the honours year. Meetings may be in person or online. Submission of research plan (within the first month of the honours year), presentation of the mid-term research progress report and submission of the honours thesis, all in accordance with the COS honours milestone completion form.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 18/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Submission of research proposal

Students are expected to write a research proposal in close consultation with their supervisor(s), suggested length: 5-10 pages (A4), demonstrating that they understand the problem they are trying to solve and relevant work that has addressed it in the past. This proposal should include:

  • provisional title
  • abstract (max. half page)
  • introduction (motivating the research), 
  • statement of the problem and the specific issues to be studied
  • previous work (critical review of the literature relevant to the work pursued here)
  • objectives of the Thesis and statement of the novelty of the proposed work
  • proposed research program (including approach, new model(s)/ technique(s)/idea(s), hypothesis and anticipated results, risks and contingency plans) 
  • proposed timeline
  • references 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 25/02/2024
Return of Assessment: 15/03/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Presentation of the mid-term research progress report

Students are expected to submit a research progress report, suggested length: 10-20 pages (A4), building on their research proposals but extending and modifying them as required. The report should demonstrate the work that has been accomplished and update the outlook towards conclusion of the project with relevant explanations on whether the original goals and methods are still applicable, or why they had to be changed and into what, and finally present an updated timeline. For this report, it is more important to be on time to allow for mid-term reflection than to be polished.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/06/2024
Return of Assessment: 03/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 5

Oral presentation of thesis work

Students must present a 15-20 minute seminar, plus questions, on their thesis. Presentations should briefly describe the theoretical foundations of the research problem and the method used, present the results and discuss them with reference to the available literature before making final conclusions. Students should also describe any limitations within the study and recommendations for future research. Candidates will receive feedback on:

  • Presentation content: well researched, coherent narrative and argument demonstrating critical appraisal and integration of relevant literature, enough background to understand the significance, clear presentation of results and key findings and clear understanding of the major issues, ability to answer questions
  • Presentation delivery: fluency and clarity, interaction with the audience; use of notes or props, quality of visual backups; quality of slides (not too much information, a minimum of words, visually pleasing etc)

Assessment Task 4

Value: 80 %
Due Date: 23/05/2024
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Final Research Thesis

Students are expected to submit a final research thesis, suggested length: up to 40 pages (A4), with a firm upper limit of 50 pages (not including abstract, table of contents or references). The thesis will evolve from the mid-term report, but be a polished final statement of the project from introduction to summary, appendix and references. The thesis may also include an additional evaluation section in which students may reflect on what they have learnt about doing research. Assessment criteria for research theses include:

  • logic, rigour, accuracy
  • internal consistency: the extent to which ideas are presented consistently and with clear progression from research questions through to conclusions
  • the use of information and/or evidence to sustain argument: how and to what degree the information sourced from authorities in a field or from data collected is integrated and used to sustain the argument; clarity and accuracy in presenting data
  • demonstration of analytical and critical judgment: the extent of reflective assessment and appraisal of strengths and limitations of previous work and/or own work
  • quality of conclusions: clear statement of the meaning and relevance of findings presented through linkage to other research, potential of findings to contribute to the field and identification of further work required to confirm or extend conclusions.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Students will be provided with written feedback on their theses after the final Honours marks are released.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Christian Wolf

Research Interests

Exoplanets, Astronomical Instrumentation, Stars and Star Formation

AsPr Christian Wolf

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AsPr Christian Wolf

Research Interests

AsPr Christian Wolf

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