Philosophy Senior Capstone Project

Philosophy concentration students must successfully complete a Capstone Project, which typically consists of a Senior Thesis, Service Learning Project, or Creative Project. Each student is responsible for securing a supervisor for his or her project. The project supervisor should be a full-time member of the faculty who regularly teaches PHIL courses. It is recommended that students begin planning for the project as early as possible and, ideally, meet with prospective faculty supervisor one or two semesters prior to undertaking the project.

*Students who are eligible for Major Honors use their Senior Capstone Project to satisfy the Major Honors requirement. The student must complete the requirements for the project as well as additional honor requirements. Major Honors Capstones require a second reader; the faculty supervisor will help the student to select the second reader.


To participate in the Philosophy Concentration Senior Capstone, students must have completed a minimum of 90 semester credit hours.

Project Options

Senior Thesis Option

A scholarly paper is usually understood to be a substantial research or critical paper (minimum 4500 words) on a specific topic. While the particular topic, approach, scope, and length are worked out between the student and the faculty supervisor, the paper should demonstrate that the student has mastered the concepts and materials in an area of Philosophy and has come to independent interpretations and conclusions. Students intending to apply to graduate school in Philosophy or a related field should strongly consider this option, and should pursue it in the Fall semester of their Senior Year, given standard application deadlines.

*Major Honors scholarly papers must include a minimum of 6000 words.

Service Learning Project Option

The Service Learning Project requires students to use their critical, philosophical acumen to engage with a problem of public need or interest. While the exact details of the project are worked out between the student and the faculty supervisor, the project consists of a public service intervention, the documentation of the intervention and its effectiveness, and a reflection paper (minimum 2500 words) explaining the philosophical rationale for the project and reflecting on its execution. The intervention must be actual and public, not merely hypothetical.

*Major Honors Service Learning Projects must include a minimum of 4000 words in the reflection paper.

Creative Project Option

The student must create an original work of art, performance, or creative writing that communicates or is thoroughly informed by philosophical ideas and reflections. Copies of the work should be submitted as appropriate to the medium and worked out with the faculty supervisor. The Creative Project should be accompanied by a critical essay that explains the philosophical nature of the work (minimum of 2500 words). A public performance or exhibition is encouraged, which could include web publishing, an exhibition, a performance, or a reading.

*Major Honors Creative Projects must include a minimum 4000 words in their reflection paper, and must include a public performance. Students will work with their faculty supervisor to determine the appropriate form of public presentation.

Registering for Senior Project

In order to register for honors credit, students should consult with their academic advisor. Students must complete an Application and Registration for Philosophy Senior Capstone Project form, which is signed by the supervisor (and second reader for honors) and is turned in to the Academic Advising Suite (JO 4.508) when the student registers. Students will then register for three hours of credit under the course number PHIL 4328.

*Major Honors students must follow all guides included on the Major Honors info sheet.