Qualified students who are interested in an Honors major should consult an Honors Philosophy advisor as early as possible, no later than their junior year. To be eligible for admission into the honors program, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or more, and a 3.5 average in completed courses in philosophy (exceptions may be granted on a limited case-by-case basis).
Honors majors are required to complete 28 (rather than 25) credits in the major, including Philosophy 401 (the Undergraduate Honors Seminar), which is taken in the fall semester of the senior year, and 499 (Senior Honors Independent Study), which is taken in the winter semester of the senior year.
In PHIL 401, the honors candidates refine their theses topics, identify the texts relevant to these topics, read these texts, and begin drafting their theses. They may also look at past honors theses archived in the Tanner Philosophy Library. As they develop their ideas, they present them to each other for feedback. In PHIL 499, which is taken in the following semester, students work with a thesis supervisor to develop their ideas into a thesis of appropriate length (usually 50-60 pages, double-spaced). At the end of this process, they defend their theses 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.