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Graduating with Honors

Graduating with Philosophy Department Honors

The Philosophy Honors Program is designed to provide outstanding and highly motivated philosophy majors with the opportunity to develop their skills during the senior year through the independent exploration of a special topic of their own choosing under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Eligibility for Admission

  1. To be eligible for admission to the honors program, students must have completed at least 24 credits in philosophy of which at least 12 credits have been taken at the University of Oregon.
  2. The honor’s candidates grade point average (GPA) in philosophy must be at least 3.5, which must be maintained through graduation.

Procedures for Admission

  1. Admission to the honors program is contingent upon the student’s obtaining the agreement of a faculty member in the philosophy department to supervise the student’s research and writing and to chair the student’s oral examination committee.
  2. Potential honors students must also obtain agreements from one additional philosophy faculty member who will serve on an oral examination committee.
  3. Students who satisfy the credit and grade eligibility requirements must complete the Honors Candidacy Form, upon which they are to list the names of their supervising committee members and give a tentative title for their projects.
  4. This form must be approved and signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and then returned to the department office; completion of this process signals admission to the honors in philosophy program.

Course of Study

  1. Besides the courses required of all philosophy majors, a candidate for honors must take 16 of the 52 credits in philosophy at the 400 level.
  2. Honors students should initiate their thesis work through enrollment in PHIL 405: Reading and Conference, typically during the fall term of their senior year. This course is taken for 4 credits, P/NP only. During this term, the student will carry out guided independent research intended to clarify and refine the research question of the thesis. Although this research should be carried out independently, it should involve regular meetings and consultations with the faculty adviser.
  3. In the term in which the student intends to complete the thesis, he or she must enroll in PHIL 403: Thesis, normally for 4 credits (P/NP only). This will typically be during the winter term of the student’s final year of classes, although in some cases it may be during the spring term.

The Thesis

  1. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s ability to formulate a significant research problem; to do research in primary sources; to interpret sources with imagination and technical skill; and to present the finished work in a form meeting professional standards in philosophy.
  2. In quality and length, the thesis will go well beyond normal expectations for a typical seminar paper in an advanced undergraduate philosophy course.
  3. The thesis must be an original document written for the sole purpose of fulfilling the honors program requirement in philosophy.
  4. The thesis should follow a standard system of style throughout, such as the style manual of the Modern Language Association (MLA), the University of Chicago, or the American Psychological Association (APA).

Completion of Thesis and Oral Examinations

  1. At the beginning of the term in which a student intends to complete the thesis and is enrolled in PHIL 403, she or he will notify the Director of Undergraduate Studies of that intent.
  2. When the thesis is completed and has received the approval of the faculty adviser, the student will consult with the members of the examination committee to select the day and time of the oral examination.
  3. The finished thesis must be in the hands of the examining committee at least 10 days before the examination.
  4. The oral examination will be open to other students, faculty, and friends as observers.
  5. Although the defense is typically held at the end of the Winter term of the student’s last year of classes, it may be scheduled at the end of the Spring term. In that case, it must be scheduled no later than the end of the eighth week of classes.
  6. Acceptance of the student’s thesis may depend on revisions made after the defense, under the supervision of the thesis adviser. In this case, the student will be informed on the day of the defense of the nature of the expected revisions and a deadline to complete them.
  7. A final copy of the approved thesis should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than the date of the student’s graduation.

Honors Designation

Students whose theses are approved by the committee, pass the oral examination, satisfy the philosophy major requirements, complete at least 16 credits in philosophy at the 400 level, maintain a GPA of 3.5 or above in courses in philosophy, and have deposited a copy of the thesis with the director of undergraduate studies, will receive a baccalaureate degree with honors in philosophy.

For more information about graduating with honors in philosophy, please consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.