Graduating with Honors
Fall 2009 Guidelines
Students who wish to graduate with Honors in Philosophy must complete all of the requirements for the major, as well as successfully complete a senior honors essay or senior thesis. A high grade point average (GPA) does not lead to Honors in Philosophy. Latin honors (summa, magna and cum) do depend on GPA, but they are judged independently of departmental honors, except that the university will not grant a summa cum laude degree unless a student also graduates with departmental honors.
Students who wish to pursue Honors in Philosophy must register for two semesters of senior research (PHIL 99A in the fall and PHIL 99 B in the spring). Only one semester of PHIL 99 may be counted toward your degree in philosophy.
Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA overall and a 3.5 GPA in the philosophy department in order to pursue an honors thesis.
Each student who is writing a thesis is encouraged to submit a prospectus by the end of the seventh week of the fall semester. The prospectus should provide an outline of the main topic and questions that will be raised in the thesis. A bibliography of proposed readings should be included as part of the prospectus, which should be about five to 10 pages in length.
A student enrolled in the fall semester of PHIL 99 should complete 25 pages of the thesis by the end of the semester. The 25 pages might be an "overview" of the thesis itself or one of its chapters. Each advisor also has a responsibility to determine by the end of the semester whether the student’s work in the fall shows sufficient promise and progress to justify its expansion into a full thesis in the spring.
By the end of January, the advisee along with his or her thesis advisor, should select a second reader who will read the thesis once it is finished.
The department has no recommended style for a thesis, but the style of the thesis should be consistent. Theses include a cover page, title page, table of contents, chapter headings, bibliography and footnotes. Footnotes may be in the form of end notes or appear at the bottom of the page. Pages should be numbered. Theses are generally printed on bond paper, although this is also optional. If the thesis is on bond paper, it is recommended that it be on bond paper that is acid-free. Theses should be bound. The binding is at the student’s discretion, but GBC spiral binding or wire binding are the most popular.
Cover pages must contain certain information and be in a certain format. The following text should be centered near the bottom of the cover page:
A Senior Thesis Submitted to
the Department of Philosophy of Brandeis University
in Partial Fulfillment of the Bachelor of Arts Degree
An oral, or hour-long conversation with your advisor and second reader, is optional but strongly recommended.
The thesis is due on or before the last day of classes of the spring semester. At that time, two typed and bound copies should be submitted to the departmental office.
If and when the thesis is accepted by the department for honors, it may be placed in the permanent collection of the university libraries. However, students must sign a standard release form. (PDF)