During their senior year, philosophy majors work on a 2-semester independent study project under the guidance of a philosophy professor, doing original work on a topic of interest to them. The aim is to produce a long formal paper in which they use the skills they’ve gained to develop original analyses and ideas about their topic.
During the fall semester, students take Philosophy 390 (2 cr), in which they typically focus on refining their topic, doing research, and meeting with thesis advisor to develop their understanding and analysis, and doing a significant amount of writing. Thesis students often meet together to share ideas and strategies. Students make a presentation at a departmental gathering et the end of the semester in which they share a brief summary of their thesis work thus far.
During the spring semester, students take Philosophy 391 (4 cr), in which they work of writing the thesis in consultation with the thesis advisor.
To prepare for the thesis project, majors take Philosophy 292 Philosophical Methods (2 cr) during the spring of the junior year. The seminar focuses on developing the skills students will need to complete the thesis project successfully. Students will also identify a thesis topic by the end of the course.
Honors in Philosophy
Departmental honors in philosophy are awarded to graduating seniors who satisfy the following two criteria: (a) at the start of their final semester, their overall GPA is 3.25 or higher and their GPA in philosophy is 3.5 or higher, and (b) their senior thesis receives an A from the thesis advisor and then is judged by the whole department faculty to be well-researched, well-argued, well-organized, well-written, and to exhibit original philosophical thinking. Theses advisors recommend students for consideration for honors.
Previous Senior Theses
- Keegan Nichols. "Laughter and Tears: Zarathustra as Existential Education." Honors awarded. Advisor: Professor Gordon Bearn.
- Danica Palacio. "Ink and paper: Seeing Everyday Miracles." Honors awarded. Advisor: Professor Gordon Bearn.
- Candice Travis "Liberal Consent: Charade or Freedom?" Honors awarded. Advisor: Professor Robin Dillon.
- Mari Freedberg. "Personal Identity and the Persistence of Self," Honors awarded. Advisor: Professor Aladdin Yaqub.
- Roman Lao-Gosney. "Dreams and Morality." Advisor: Professor Greg Reihman.
- Shannon Maloney. "The Validity of the Philosophy of Technology: Are We Asking Unique Questions?" Advisor: Professor Aladdin Yaqub.
- Peter Mangano. "Sartre and Deleuze on Grace." Advisor: Professor Greg Reihman.
- Darius Callier. “Discerning Duties: Investigating the Moral Responsibilities to Resist State-Sponsored Oppression.” Advisor: Professor Robin Dillon.
- Sebastian Malavenda. “Kant’s Theory of Punishment.” Advisor: Professor Aladdin Yaqub.
- Donasia Tillery. “Actualizing the Female Gaze: (Self) Representations of the Female Body in Feminist Art.” Honors awarded. Advisor: Professor Robin Dillon.