Honours in Environment and Genetics offers a dynamic program across a range of specialisations: botany, genetics, zoology, or a project that is multidisciplinary. Click here to download a copy of the honours handbook for 2021.

Honours projects are available to students in the Department at both the Melbourne and Albury Wodonga campuses, as well as through research affiliates such as the Arthur Rylah Institute and Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems (CFE). You may also have the opportunity to undertake your project in collaboration with institutions such as the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, or Zoos Victoria.


The major assessment task is an independent research thesis, worth 70% of the overall Honours mark. The coursework component consists of three main tasks each worth 10%: a major literature review, grant application and final seminar presentation.


To be eligible for Honours, students must have an average grade of at least 70% in third year (60 credit points), and an average of at least 65% across all third year units.

Students transferring to La Trobe University for Honours are encouraged to contact an Honours Coordinator to discuss eligibility.

How to Apply

1. Contact a potential supervisor

Students interested in applying for Honours are encouraged to discuss your preferences directly with academic members of staff. Many academics are also open to discussing other project ideas. To gain an overview of research undertaken please see the research specialisations under the departments' webpages.

Click here to download a copy of the 2021 honours booklet, which includes supervisors and projects on offer.

2. Receive your letter of invitation

Students will be invited by letter to apply for Honours once their results and eligibility are known. These letters are typically sent out around mid-December or mid-July. This is not a guarantee of entry; students must also have an agreement with a willing supervisor under whose tutelage they will study.

3. Enrol

Students must enrol in the Honours subjects (Subject code EEE4HNA for the first period and EEE4HNB for the second period; these codes are independent of semester). A part-time honours option is also available across 18 months (EEE4HNX).

There are two honours cohorts per year starting February or July. Start dates are typically 1-2 weeks before the start of semester.

Financial Assistance

Some students may qualify for financial assistance, including the La Trobe Honours Year Grant Scheme. (Applications open Nov - late January of each year - consider applying even if you plan to start mid-year.) Contact the Honours coordinator or the Scholarships office for more information. Enrolled students will also be eligible to apply for a range of other external grants and bursaries.

The Department also offers several honours scholarships:

Nature Advisory Botanical Scholarship

Nature Advisory is one of Australia’s leading specialist ecological consultancies, advising government, private and corporate clients how to address the requirements of Australia’s biodiversity regulations.  Commonwealth, state and local government regulations control how development projects of any type can affect biodiversity and require them to ensure their impacts are avoided where possible, or minimised and offset.  Nature Advisory undertakes scientific impact assessments, works with developers to apply these principles and prepares technical reports that accompany development applications.  This sector is now one of the largest employers of botanists and zoologists in the country.

To reflect its commitment to develop excellent environmental professionals, Nature Advisory is proud to support La Trobe University in offering a scholarship to support the professional development of passionate, young botanists.

This scholarship comprises both a stipend and a contribution to research costs to a total of $15 000. Importantly, the research project supported must require the recipient to continue developing excellent plant identification skills.  Subject to academic performance, the candidate will be eligible to apply for a 12-month position with Nature Advisory.

Eligibility: Enrolled in Honours in the Department of Environment and Genetics with a research topic involving field botany and plant identification.

Selection Criteria: Selection for the award will be based on academic performance in third year subjects, plus application to and interview with interview with Nature Advisory.

Richard Zann Bursary

In February 2009, the Victorian bushfires claimed the lives of Dr Richard Zann, his wife Eileen and their daughter Eva. Dr Zann was a highly respected staff member of La Trobe University. Richard’s interest in Zoology began as a boy growing up in rural northern NSW. He went on to become a distinguished academic and ornithologist who had an international reputation for his work on bird behaviour. Dr Zann had been a member of the Department of Zoology at La Trobe University since 1972.

In memory of Richard Zann, and to acknowledge the significant impact of both his research and teaching, an annual bursary has been established by his family, donors, and the Department of Zoology, that will support the career development of a La Trobe University research student from a rural area.

Eligibility: Enrolled in Honours in the Department of Environment and Genetics with a research topic in zoology. The student needs to have come from a rural area.

Peter Rawlinson Award

Peter Rawlinson was appointed Lecturer in Zoology in 1967, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1975.  He died on April 11th 1991, whilst on a University expedition to Krakatau, Indonesia.  Peter's main interests were in the ecology of reptiles and other vertebrates, and he also had a strong commitment to conservation ecology and environmental protection.  The Award is intended as an appropriate tribute to the life and interests of Peter Rawlinson, particularly his encouragement and assistance to young biologists beginning a research career in animal ecology.

The purpose of the Award is to support field-based research in animal ecology by a Zoology Honours or Postgraduate Diploma student who shows outstanding research potential; the Award will provide a source of funding additional to the normal departmental allocation for the student.  Value of the prize is $500 (awarded annually). The Award funds may be used to contribute to the research costs, including travel costs, of students carrying out field research in animal ecology, and to contribute to the costs of attending relevant conferences within Australia.  The supervisor's advice should be sought before expenditures are made.

Eligibility: Enrolled in Honours or Postgraduate Diploma course in the Department of Environment and Genetics with a research topic in animal ecology.

Selection Criteria: Selection for the Award will be based on a combination of:

  • academic performance in Third Year Zoology subjects, an average at least equivalent to a B grade,
  • appropriateness of the area of the proposed research project, which should have a substantial dependence on field data. Field work by the candidate should provide the primary and irreplaceable basis of the project,
  • written reports from at least two referees containing an assessment of the applicants' research potential.  It is the candidate's responsibility to ask referees to submit reports before the closing date.

David Ashton Memorial Scholarship

David Ashton was one of Australia's most highly regarded botanists and a leading authority on the ecology of Australia's mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests. Throughout his career David studied and documented how forests change over time and how they relied on and respond to bush fires. He also went on to study other plants and ecosystems including alpine regions of Australia and North America, Antarctic vegetation and beech forests in Chile.

David was Associate Professor of Botany at the University of Melbourne until his retirement in 1989, and an honorary Associate of the Department of Botany at La Trobe University after that. David made a bequest to La Trobe University to support honours students studying the Ecology of Australian plants.

The Scholarship:

This is an annual award for the best third year student as judged by their 3rd year grades. The award is for $1000, available to the student as a living allowance.  The award is not to fund the student’s research.

Eligibility/Terms & Conditions: Applicants must meet the following criteria

  • Have completed their third year studies at La Trobe University
  • Be enrolled in Honours in the Department of Environment and Genetics
  • The research thesis component of their Honours Degree be focussed on the ecology of flora in Australia.

Honours Coordinators

For more information on honours courses contact:

Dr Nick Murphy
Melbourne (Bundoora)
Telephone: +61 3 9479 2534
Email: n.murphy@latrobe.edu.au

Dr Aleicia Holland (A-W Instance Coordinator)
Telephone: +61 2 6024 9646
Email: a.holland2@latrobe.edu.au

Interested? Browse our research specialisations to discuss options with supervisors.