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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

STAT490 Honours Project

First SemesterAlso available:  Full year
40 points


All you need to get started is approval for your topic, and a staff member who is willing to supervise you. If you have no clear topic in mind, ask staff members for suggestions: it is useful to make enquiries towards the end of your 300-level year. The range of potential topics is very broad: the main criterion is that there must be sufficient statistical content at an appropriate level, and that you produce a coherent report.

It is important to limit the scope of the project to fit the available time. It should amount to about one quarter of your total workload for the year, and be about 40-50 pages long. Note that the writing is likely to take longer than you expect.

It will be examined by at least two members of staff, other than the supervisor. The supervisor will provide comments to the examiners on originality, difficulty, and their contribution. The criteria used in marking it are broadly as follows:

You will give an informal seminar to staff and students in the second half of Semester 1, outlining what you are doing in the project. This seminar is not marked and will usually last around 15 minutes plus time for questions. It is intended to allow you to practise and improve your presentation skills. Your supervisor will provide feedback on your talk, after consulting with other members of staff. You will also give a seminar in the second half of Semester 2, which counts 10% of the total mark for the project. This will usually last about 20 minutes plus time for questions. The following criteria will be used in assessing your presentation:

The schedule for the project is as follows:

One unbound copy should be submitted to David Fletcher (Director of Studies for 400-Honours Statistics). The Department will take care of copying and binding as required.

Final mark

Your final mark F in the paper will be calculated according to this formula:

F = max(E, (2E + A)/3)


and all quantities are expressed as percentages.

Students must abide by the University’s Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity means being honest in your studying and assessments. It is the basis for ethical decision-making and behaviour in an academic context. Academic integrity is informed by the values of honesty, trust, responsibility, fairness, respect and courage.

Academic misconduct is seeking to gain for yourself, or assisting another person to gain, an academic advantage by deception or other unfair means. The most common form of academic misconduct is plagiarism.

Academic misconduct in relation to work submitted for assessment (including all course work, tests and examinations) is taken very seriously at the University of Otago.

All students have a responsibility to understand the requirements that apply to particular assessments and also to be aware of acceptable academic practice regarding the use of material prepared by others. Therefore it is important to be familiar with the rules surrounding academic misconduct at the University of Otago; they may be different from the rules in your previous place of study.

Any student involved in academic misconduct, whether intentional or arising through failure to take reasonable care, will be subject to the University’s Student Academic Misconduct Procedures which contain a range of penalties.

If you are ever in doubt concerning what may be acceptable academic practice in relation to assessment, you should clarify the situation with your lecturer before submitting the work or taking the test or examination involved.

Types of academic misconduct are as follows:


The University makes a distinction between unintentional plagiarism (Level One) and intentional plagiarism (Level Two).

  • Although not intended, unintentional plagiarism is covered by the Student Academic Misconduct Procedures. It is usually due to lack of care, naivety, and/or to a lack to understanding of acceptable academic behaviour. This kind of plagiarism can be easily avoided.
  • Intentional plagiarism is gaining academic advantage by copying or paraphrasing someone elses work and presenting it as your own, or helping someone else copy your work and present it as their own. It also includes self-plagiarism which is when you use your own work in a different paper or programme without indicating the source. Intentional plagiarism is treated very seriously by the University.

Unauthorised Collaboration

Unauthorised Collaboration occurs when you work with, or share work with, others on an assessment which is designed as a task for individuals and in which individual answers are required. This form does not include assessment tasks where students are required or permitted to present their results as collaborative work. Nor does it preclude collaborative effort in research or study for assignments, tests or examinations; but unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, each students answers should be in their own words. If you are not sure if collaboration is allowed, check with your lecturer..


Impersonation is getting someone else to participate in any assessment on your behalf, including having someone else sit any test or examination on your behalf.


Falsification is to falsify the results of your research; presenting as true or accurate material that you know to be false or inaccurate.

Use of Unauthorised Materials

Unless expressly permitted, notes, books, calculators, computers or any other material and equipment are not permitted into a test or examination. Make sure you read the examination rules carefully. If you are still not sure what you are allowed to take in, check with your lecturer.

Assisting Others to Commit Academic Misconduct

This includes impersonating another student in a test or examination; writing an assignment for another student; giving answers to another student in a test or examination by any direct or indirect means; and allowing another student to copy answers in a test, examination or any other assessment.

Further information

While we strive to keep details as accurate and up-to-date as possible, information given here should be regarded as provisional. Individual lecturers will confirm teaching and assessment methods.