Senior Year Options
There are several options for a 'Capstone Experience' in philosophy.
- An Honors Thesis
Seniors wishing to earn honors by presenting a senior honors thesis should consult their concentration advisor during their sixth semester or at the start of the seventh semester, concerning procedures and requirements. In addition to completing the usual nonhonors requirements, a student must write a thesis judged to be of honors quality by two readers and have a grade point average of over 3.5 in philosophy courses (of which at least five must be taken for a letter grade). Honors theses are usually prepared over two semesters' work with an advisor. There is more information on writing an honors thesis on this page.
- A Reading Course
Many professors will be happy to set up a Phil 1990 reading course for one semester with an individual student, e.g. leading to the preparation of a special large paper on a particular topic of research. One option is to set up a Reading Course to accompany a 1000-level course that you have recently taken or are taking at the same time. For example, you might take Phil 1660 Metaphysics, and also do a special reading course on Necessity or on Reduction and Supervenience. Or you might take Phil 1640, The Nature of Morality, and also do a reading course to specialize in the notion of Moral Facts. In each case the 1000-level course would provide a general overview of the topic and give you an idea of one professor's views, and then you could research further in the subject either with that same professor or with another with overlapping interests. A one-semester Reading Course may also for some people be a first step towards writing an Honors Thesis.
- Senior Seminars
There are seminars with the number Phil 0990, aimed primarily at advanced undergraduates, on varying topics each year.
- Graduate Seminars
2000-level seminars are mainly aimed at graduate students, but many are able to take advanced undergraduates as well. The best preparation is usually to have done a 10000-level course with the same professor or in the same general area of philosophy.