Procedures for Granting of Honors at Graduation
- Candidates for Honors at Graduation in philosophy must take, for credit, an independent study under the supervision of a member of the philosophy department in which they write a substantial research paper. The Philosophical Research Seminar may not fulfill this requirement of an independent study course.
- An acceptable Honors project must be the product of extensive research. Accordingly, the candidate will be expected to formulate and work through a reading list that adequately covers the topic of the project during the course of the semester of independent study.
- At least one week before the end of classes in the spring term, the candidate must submit to the department a final draft of the research paper, complete with abstract and bibliography, to be considered for honors at graduation.
- A majority of the departmental members, not including the adviser, must support the project as being worthy of consideration for honors before an oral defense may be scheduled. No candidate can receive departmental honors at graduation without the support of such a majority.
- If the project is approved by such a majority, then the adviser, in consultation with the candidate and the chair of the department, will select a committee of at least three individuals to serve as the examining committee for the oral defense. Exactly one of these individuals should be a person who is not a member of the philosophy department.
- Members of the committee, the adviser, and the candidate shall meet, as scheduled, for an oral defense. The defense should be publicized within the department and be open for other members of the department and interested students to attend. The adviser should not participate in the discussion during the defense. After the questioning period, the candidate and visitors should leave the room to allow the committee to deliberate and decide whether to grant honors at graduation. The adviser should remain in order to answer any questions of the committee, but should otherwise not participate in the deliberations. It should be understood by everyone on the committee that the granting of honors is not automatic and requires both a paper that represents an exceptional piece of scholarly research as well as an oral defense that demonstrates a thorough command of the topic and relevant literature. The committee shall then decide, by secret ballot, whether or not to grant departmental honors at graduation. The chair of the committee, normally the philosopher on the committee with greatest seniority, will count the ballots and report the result to the chair of the department in writing.