University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Philosophy

Student Opportunities

College Honors and Independent Study in Philosophy

College Honors

The Department encourages qualified students to pursue year-long College Honors thesis projects with its faculty members. Questions addressed in recent theses include: Are moral judgments objective or subjective? Should we accept Kant’s conception of moral principles? What makes you today the same individual as the person who went by your name five years ago? Do humans have a meaningful sort of free will?

Independent Study

The Department welcomes proposals from students for independent study ("Readings and Research"). A student who would like to pursue an independent study project should develop a proposal in consultation with the faculty member with whom he or she plans to work. The proposal is submitted to the chair for approval. Whenever possible, proposals should be planned and submitted the semester before the independent study is to begin.

The following guidelines will be used in evaluating the proposals for independent study:
  • A student pursuing independent study need not be majoring or minoring in Philosophy. However, he or she should have done background work appropriate for the level of the proposed course. For PHIL 197/8, there should be an introductory level Philosophy course, and for PHIL 297/8, a pertinent 100-level course.
  • The proposal should explain how the independent study's purposes could not be served as well by an ordinary course.
  • The course requirements, including reading, written work, oral reports, projects and/or exams, should be clearly stated.
The following course numbers are used for Independent Study courses:
  • Fall Registration
  • PHIL 197 - Intermediate Readings and Research
  • PHIL 297 - Advanced Readings and Research
  • Spring Registration
  • PHIL 198 - Intermediate Readings and Research
  • PHIL 298 - Advanced Readings and Research

Faculty are not required to supervise honors theses or independent studies (Readings and Research). Rather, such projects are run by mutual agreement only. It is a good idea to prepare well before approaching a particular professor to solicit his or her participation. Still, you can expect help from the professor in nailing down the specifics.

Last modified January 18 2011 02:41 PM