Honours in Aviation

The School of Aviation is proud to be able to offer an Honours in Aviation as part of its comprehensive suite of industry-relevant degrees. It is available as either a one year full-time or a two-year part time program.

The course introduces students to major research areas through a course of advanced lectures and a major research thesis of not more than 15,000 words. Through the taught component of this course, students will critically examine academic and industry developments within aviation with particular emphasis towards the chosen area of their thesis. The research thesis will examine an area of research significance as permitted by the Head of School. Students must have attained a credit average throughout their Bachelor program to be admitted into this program. 

Specialisation will be encouraged in the areas of aviation safety and human factors, commercial airline management (including finance and economics) and aviation meteorology. Potential Honours students need not have a specific topic in mind when notifying the School of their intention of enrolling. Honours students can develop their research topic with their supervisor over the first few weeks of their candidature.


Entry requirements

Credit (WAM 65) plus average in a 3 year full-time bachelor degree specialising in Aviation. This typically includes the UNSW 3980 Aviation (Flying) and 3981 Aviation (Management) programs but may include other Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering programs where students have majored in Aviation or Aerospace Engineering.


Application Process

  1. Think about an area you might be interested in researching by reading the information below.
  2. Contact the Honours Coordinator, Dr Julie Hatfield, who can facilitate discussions with a potential Supervisor.
  3. Meet with the potential Supervisors and once a Supervisor agrees to work with you, complete the Honours Application Form.


Components (assessable items) of the Honours Program

  1. Tutorial classes
  2. Research Proposal
  3. Literature Review
  4. Midway Presentation
  5. Final Presentation - 15%
  6. Thesis - 85%


Examination Procedure

All assessable items, excluding components 1 and 2 are marked by at least three academics.


Final Grade

Based on performance across all assessable items.


Range of Grades

  • Fail (<49%)
  • Hons. Class III (50% to 64%)
  • Hons. Class II, Division 2 (65% to 74%)
  • Hons. Class II, Division I (75% to 84%)
  • Hons. Class I (>85%)


How to Apply

For further information about the Honours program, please contact:

Dr Julie Hatfield - Honours Coordinator
School of Aviation
UNSW Sydney
Sydney NSW 2052 Australia

Tel. +61 2 9385 7949 (internationally) or 02 9385 7949 (within Australia)
Fax. +61 2 9385 6637 (internationally) or 02 9385 6637 (within Australia)
E-mail: j.hatfield@unsw.edu.au


Recent projects have included:

  • Network design and connectivity in long-haul low-cost carriers
  • On the value of airline fuel hedging, evidence from global airlines
  • Air passenger shopping behaviour in an airport terminal: a simulation approach
  • The effects of noise cancelling headsets on pilot performance: A study of native English speaking and EL2 pilots
  • Decision rules in making flight choices: Application of vertical protocol analysis and choice experiments
  • Predicting pilots risk taking behaviour
  • The effect of gender on driving behaviour
  • What product factors allow airlines to command a price premium on the Sydney to Los Angeles market?
  • Pilot error in ATC environments
  • The effects of caffeine on pilot's performance and learning ability
  • The changing role of the air transport pilot 1960-2006
  • A comparison of introductory crew resource management training between the Australian Defence Force and Qantas
  • The low cost model evolution: a case study of Jetstar International
  • Unruly passenger behaviour onboard aircraft


UNSW Aviation Honours Alumni:

“I am interested to do the Honours since day 1 of my uni life. I always find research fascinating and honours also greatly improves your chance in securing a job upon graduation. In Singapore, a good Honours is almost a mandatory requirement to apply for certain jobs. I like to believe my honours has given me some advantage in my successful job hunt. I am also able to secure a scholarship to do a PhD in UNSW Aviation (showing the importance of good Honours again!).
I am currently doing research on how airport retail can be enhanced through airport configurations (a continuation of my Honours project). I really like my research topic(that’s why I quit my job to start a PhD!). If you like to do research in certain topic (in the meantime, improve your employability), I believe Honours is a good option.”

– Yimeng Chen, UNSW Aviation Honours 2014


Available Research Supervisors

Below is a list of UNSW Aviation research staff and their Field of Research (FoR). Research supervisors often develop Honours topics with students that are mutual topics of interest. Applicants should contact the Honours Coordinator, Dr Julie Hatfield (j.hatfield@unsw.edu.au), who will facilitate discussions with desired/suitable research supervisors.


Dr Soufiane Boufous

Field of Research (FoR): Road Safety
Tel: +61 2 9385 6227
Email: soufiane@unsw.edu.au

Dr Carlo Caponecchia

Field of Research (FoR): Human Factors and Safety
Tel: +61 2 9385 7184
Email: carloc@unsw.edu.au

Dr Julie Hatfield

Field of Research (FoR): Operator training and education; Human response to aircraft noise; Cycling safety.
Tel: +61 2 9385 7949
Email: j.hatfield@unsw.edu.au

Dr Tay T.R. Koo

Field of Research (FoR): Air Transportation and Freight Services, Human Geography, Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Tel: +61 2 9385 6737
Email: t.koo@unsw.edu.au

Professor Gabriel Lodewijks

Field of Research (FoR): Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Tel: +61 2 9385 6767
Email: g.lodewijks@unsw.edu.au

Associate Professor Brett Molesworth

Field of Research (FoR): Personality, Abilities and Assessment, Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance, Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, Computer-Human Interaction
Tel: +61 2 9385 6757
Email: b.molesworth@unsw.edu.au

Dr David Tan

Field of Research (FoR): Airline finance and economics
Tel: +61 2 9385 7182
Email: david.tan@unsw.edu.au

Associate Professor Richard CL Wu

Field of Research (FoR): Airline Management/Performance
Tel: +61 2 9385 4191
Email: c.l.wu@unsw.edu.au

Dr Fangni Zhang

Field of Research (FoR):Transport Economics, Air Transportation and Freight Services, Road and Rail Transportation
Tel: +61 2 9385 7949
Email: fangni.zhang@unsw.edu.au