Honors Majors & Minors

Students undertaking to pursue Honors in Philosophy should have a B+ grades in philosophy courses and a B+ average overall. The opinions of the philosophy faculty concerning the philosophical ability of students weigh heavily in borderline cases.

Only students who have already completed two philosophy courses will be considered for admission to the Honors program.

Preparations

Students will normally prepare for external examination in a given field in philosophy by completing a double-credit seminar at Swarthmore. Majors will have 3 preparations, minors will have 1 preparation. With the approval of the department, it is possible to combine one-credit courses or attachments, taken either at Swarthmore or elsewhere, to form a preparation. With the approval of the department, a double-credit thesis may be counted as one preparation and submitted to an examiner.

Philosophy students must declare their honors preparations by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of the senor year.

Honors Majors

Honors Majors will register for one-credit of Seniors Honors Study in Philosophy during the Spring term of their senior year. Senior Honors Study does not count toward fulfilling the eight credit requirement for the major. External examiners will set questions and specify additional readings (3-4 articles or book chapters) for each preparation that is to be examined. These questions will be available to students by the end of the Fall term. Honors majors will choose one question for each preparation. They will then produce for each preparation an independent essay of no more than 4,000 words in response to the question they have chosen.

It is expected that these essays will demonstrate initiative in engaging with problems and texts and that they will develop lines of argumentation beyond what is normally expected of papers produced for seminar discussion. The preparation of the essays will not be supervised by members of the faculty. Conversation among students who are preparing these essays is encouraged, but each student must produce and independent, original essay. The essays must be submitted to the department to be sent to the external examiners by the beginning of the written examination period. There will be no further written examination of preparations beyond these independent essays. An examiner will conduct a 60 minute oral examination for each preparation on both the independent essay and the materials considered in the preparation (typically all the materials listed on the syllabus for the related seminar).

Honors Minors

Honors Minors must complete six credits of work in philosophy. In special cases, with approval of the department, one or two of these credits may be closely related topics taught outside the philosophy department that are well-integrated with their work in philosophy. Minors in philosophy will register for 1/2 credit of Senior Honor Study in the Spring term of their senior year. Senior Honors Study does not count toward satisfying the six credit requirement for the minor. They will prepare one independent, original essay of no more than 4,000 words in response to a question set by an external examiner (as above with majors). An external examiner will conduct a 60 minute oral examination on both the independent essay and the materials considered in the preparation (typically all the materials listed on the syllabus for the related seminar).

Deadlines

  • Student wishing to add a major or minor in Philosophy must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the Fall term of the senior year.
  • Philosophy students changing their program from course to honors (or honors to course) must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year.
  • Philosophy honors students must declare their honors preparations by the end of the add/drop period of the Fall term of senior year.
  • Students wishing to drop an honors major or minor must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year.