Graduating with Honors
There are two ways that students can graduate with Honors in Philosophy.TRACK 1. SENIOR HONORS THESIS OPTION
The Senior Thesis option is designed for students who would like to cap off their philosophical studies by producing an extended multi-chapter treatment of a philosophical topic. There is no strict page requirement for this option and the length of the thesis will vary according to the particular area of philosophy. Most theses fall into the 35-60 page range.TRACK 2. SENIOR HONORS ESSAY OPTION
The Honors Essay option is designed for students who plan to do graduate work in philosophy but is open to all majors. It involves extra coursework (11 instead of the 9 courses required for the standard major), access to some 200-level graduate courses, and a paper-length Senior Honors Essay that may serve as the writing sample for the student’s graduate school applications. Again, there is no strict page requirement for this option, but it is expected that Essays will be in the 15-30 page range.
NOTE: A high grade point average 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.
THE HONORS PROCESS
Students will normally sign up for the Senior Honors Thesis or Senior Honors Essay in the Fall of their senior year after meeting with the Philosophy Department Honors advisor and securing a Faculty Supervisor. Students are encouraged to begin planning Honors projects in the Spring of their junior year; this includes identifying potential supervisors and discussing the possibility of working with them. Students will be given two course credits, one each semester, for writing a thesis and one course credit for writing the essay. In order to get course credit for the essay students must do roughly the same amount of work that they would do for an independent study course.
In the case of both the Thesis and the Essay a Second Reader will be selected by the supervisor in consultation with the student. The student will also be given the option of having an oral exam. The Department will meet as a whole to evaluate the Honors Thesis/Essay and award honors on the basis of the recommendation of the Supervisor and Second Reader. The possible grades are No Honors, Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors.
NOTE: The Department Honors Advisor will be responsible for ensuring that participants in the program meet the requirements of their respective tracks, as well as for advising them on various aspects of their participation in the program, e.g., thesis/essay writing in general, locating a Second Reader, graduate courses, etc.