Qualified students who are interested in an Honors concentration should consult an Honors Philosophy advisor as early as possible. Except in cases where special permission is granted, students must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 and a 3.5 average in completed courses in philosophy in order to be eligible for admission. Honors concentrators are required to complete 28 (rather than 25) credits in the concentration, including Philosophy 401 (the Undergraduate Honors Seminar), which is taken in the fall semester of the senior year, and 498 or 499 (Senior Honors Independent Study), which is taken in the winter semester of the senior year.
In 401 the honors candidates learn the basic research skills to prepare them to write a senior honors thesis. In 498 or 499, which is taken in the semester following 401, students work with a thesis supervisor to develop their ideas into a thesis of appropriate length (usually 40-50 pages, double-spaced). At the end of this process, they defend their thesis at an oral exam, conducted by a committee of two professors, one of whom supervised the thesis. The award of the honors degree requires successful defense of the thesis and the level of honors (honors, high honors, highest honors) is determined on the basis of thesis and defense.
Before a student enrolls in 498 or 499, honors candidates must submit a thesis proposal to the department for its approval. Students considering an honors degree should consult a concentration advisor as early as possible. They should also be thinking during their junior year about possible thesis topics and possible professors to work with on a thesis. You are invited to read past honors theses located in the Tanner Philosophy Library, 1171 Angell Hall.