Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors Program

The Departmental Honors program requires 16 credits of honors coursework, the completion of which enables you to graduate "With Honors." You do not have to be enrolled in the University Honors Program (a 32-credit program) to undertake the Departmental Honors program (a 16-credit program). All University Honors Program participants must, however, complete the 16 credit Departmental Honors program as part of their overall University Honors requirements.

Program Expectations

To receive Honors in Philosophy a student will be expected to pursue a philosophy curriculum that demands greater depth and rigor than required by the major; they will be expected to complete the curriculum at a consistently high level of achievement; they will be expected to engage in independent study and research (under the supervision of a faculty member) beyond the requirements of their course-work; and they will be expected to present and defend a culminating project that synthesizes aspects of their study. Students can demonstrate these expectations in either of two ways--a thesis option or a portfolio option.

Culminating Project

Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.50 as well as a 3.50 in philosophy courses. Students must satisfactorily complete PHIL 500: Philosophy Workshop before they may submit a thesis prospectus.

Thesis Option Explained

Requirements: 798/798H (4 credits), 799/799H (4 credits) Senior Thesis, and (2) 700-level Philosophy Seminars (4 credits each) (these may be the same two seminars counted toward the major requirements) (totaling 16 credits). Seminars require an average grade of A-, and a minimum GPA of 3.50.

Two course sequence open only to senior philosophy majors in the University Honors Program, the Philosophy Departmental Honors program, or by special permission from the Department. All senior thesis candidates must have a proposal approved in the spring of their junior year and a thesis advisor assigned by the Undergraduate Program Director before registering for 798/798H. Students must orally defend their theses before the Department. (See Department guidelines for further details.) Prerequisite for 798/798H: PHIL 500. Prerequisite for 799/799H: B- or above in 798/798H. Writing intensive. 4 cr. each.

Procedure

Throughout the Junior Year

Candidates should discuss their projects with faculty members in order to refine their topic and arguments and determine which faculty members would be suitable advisors. Candidates should also, at the discretion of individual faculty members, work with faculty members in drafting proposals.

May 1 of the Junior Year

Candidates must submit a proposal of approximately 2,500 words to the Undergraduate Program Director. A proposal must include an outline of the project, a summary of the project, and a bibliography. The proposal must also include, in order of preference, three faculty members the candidate would like to direct her thesis. The Undergraduate Program Director will distribute copies of the proposals to relevant faculty members.

May of the Junior Year

The faculty will accept or deny thesis proposals. The Undergraduate Program Director will, in consultation with the faculty and in consideration of candidates’ requests, assign thesis advisors for accepted proposals. Assignments will be made in a manner that best matches candidates’ topics with the interests of advisors while distributing advising responsibilities judiciously among the faculty.

May of the Junior Year through February of the Senior Year

Candidates will meet regularly with faculty advisors and develop a timetable for completing a first draft of the thesis. Candidates will enroll in Philosophy Honors Thesis 798/798H for the fall semester. Upon completion of 798/798H with a grade of B- or better, candidates will enroll in Philosophy Honors Thesis 799/799H in the spring semester.

September of the Senior Year

Each candidate will, in consultation with their primary thesis advisor, request one or two other faculty members to serve as secondary readers of her thesis.

March 1 of the Senior Year

Candidates will submit complete first drafts of theses to their committee. Typically, a thesis will range between forty and sixty pages.

April 15 of the Senior Year

Candidates will submit final drafts of their theses to their committee members.

May of the Senior Year

Candidates will orally defend their theses before the Philosophy Department. After consulting with other members of their committees, primary advisors will assign grades.

Distinction on Senior Thesis

Distinction on Senior Thesis is granted by a unanimous determination of the student’s committee that the thesis exceeds A level work and is worthy of special recognition.

Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.50 as well as a 3.50 in philosophy courses. Students must satisfactorily complete PHIL 500: Philosophy Workshop before they may pursue a portfolio project.

Portfolio Option Explained

Requirements: Complete four philosophy seminars at 700 level (4 credits each) (the major requires only two 700 level seminars) with an average grade of at least A-; develop a portfolio of work that includes three research papers (revised as appropriate), from 700 level seminars; and an introduction essay that addresses how the portfolio represents a synthesis of philosophical ideas; and publicly present their portfolio in a meeting of students and faculty in philosophy.

Procedure

During the Junior Year

Candidates should discuss their plans for preparing a senior portfolio with their faculty advisor and identify four 700 seminars to be taken to fulfill the portfolio option.

May 1 of the Junior Year

Candidates must identify a portfolio advisor and receive approval of Undergraduate Program Director to pursue the portfolio option.

Senior Year

Candidates will complete the four 700 seminar requirement. By the end for the first semester, candidates will have identified one other faculty member to serve as the second portfolio reviewer. At the beginning of the second semester, candidates will identify at least three papers (or papers in progress) from at least two 700 seminars that will constitute the portfolio. Under the supervision of the faculty advisor and second portfolio reviewer, candidates will revise papers as appropriate and draft the introduction for the portfolio.

May of the Senior Year

Candidates will orally defend their portfolios before the Philosophy Department. After consulting with other members of their committees, primary advisors will determine whether the portfolio meets the requirements for Honors in Philosophy.