Philosophy

Honors Degree

Have you thought about enrolling in our Honors Program?

If you would you like to take your experience of Philosophy a step further and pursue your interests in a more focused way, think about enrolling in our Honors program!

  • What are the requirements for the Honors Degree?

    The breadth requirements are the same as for the Major, but Honors students are asked to take:

    • a minimum of *60 in philosophy (rather than *30–48 for the major)
    • an extra *3 at the 400-leveL
    • the Honors thesis (PHIL 498)

    See below for detailed Honors degree requirements

  • What are the advantages of an Honors Degree?

    An honors degree is a mark of academic excellence. As an honors student, you will

    • acquire a broader knowledge of philosophy
    • take part in a small seminar designed especially for honors students
    • hone in your independent research skills
    • get to delve deeper into a topic that is of interest to you
    • learn how to write a longer research essay
    • work closely with one faculty member

    Though not required for most graduate programs, the skills acquired during your honors degree will certainly strengthen your application to graduate school. For example, you will be able to use the original research conducted for your honors thesis as the basis for your sample paper. You will also have worked closely with a faculty member, who will know you and your work and be in a position to write a more detailed letter of recommendation. Furthermore, by having already tried your hand at independent and original research in philosophy, you will have a better idea whether you enjoy the kind of work done in graduate school and whether graduate school is the right choice for you
  • Is there a minimum GPA?

    To be eligible for admission, you must have completed *24 and have maintained a 3.0 overall GPA, with an average of at least 3.3 in all Philosophy classes. Consult the University Calendar for admission requirements.  See the University Calendar for Faculty of Arts regulations concerning the Honors program.

  • When should I apply?

    You can apply for the Honors program at the end of your first or second year, provided you meet the above criteria. You might also be able to enroll at the end of your third year. Speak to the Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies), Marie-Eve Morin, or to the Undergraduate Advisor, Diane McKen, about it. 

  • Can I combine Honors in Philosophy with other majors or Honors majors?

    Yes, such combinations are possible. It is even possible to write a combined Honors Thesis (INT D 520) that is supervised jointly by faculty from both departments and whose subject integrates both disciplines.

  • When is the deadline for applications?

    Deadline for application is May 1 each year.  You can go online to the Undergraduate Admission page to apply for an internal transfer (as you are changing degree programs). 

  • Examples of recent honors thesis topics:

    Social Intuitionism and the Emotions
    The Architectonic Necessity of Kant’s Third Critique
    Social Oppression and the Identity of “The Drug User”
    Philosophy of Humour
    Hard Intuitionism
    Caring Ethical Leadership
    Sartrean Intersubjectivity and the Possibility of Trust
    Personal Identity with Exclusively Psychological Criteria
    Foucault, Power, and the Prozac Body
    Rawls’ Kantian Constructivism
    Ecological Optics and Descartes’ Theory of Sense Perception
    Comparing Death in Hegel and Heidegger

Detailed Requirements

Honors in Philosophy requires a minimum of *48 - *60 in Philosophy. Requirements are:

  1. one of PHIL 120, 220, or 325 (Formal Reasoning);
  2. two of PHIL 230, 240, 333, 336, 343 (History of Philosophy);
  3. one of PHIL 200, 205, or 215 (Metaphysics/Mind/Epistemology requirement);
  4. one of PHIL 250, 270, or 280 (Ethics/Political Philosophy/Aesthetics requirement); 
  5. Fourth Year Honors Essay (PHIL 498);
  6. *12 must be at the 400-level in Philosophy (not including PHIL 498).

Notes 

  1. In no case can more than one reading course (ie. *3) be applied toward satisfying Honors requirements. 
  2. 400-level PHIL courses offered by St. Joseph's College may not be applied to the 400-level requirement for the Honors in Philosophy program.

Promotion Requirements

Promotion from year to year requires a GPA of at least 3.0 with an average of at least 3.3 in all Philosophy courses in the Fall/Winter.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation with an Honors in Philosophy requires a program average of at least 3.0 with an average of at least 3.3 in all Philosophy courses. Graduation with a First Class Honors requires an average of at least 3.7 in all Philosophy courses in the two final years (last *60) and an average of 3.5 or better in all courses in the two final years (last *60).

Combined Honors in Philosophy

Students may pursue a Combined Honors program in Philosophy and another discipline.

The common requirements in a Combined Honors program are the same as for other Honors programs. 

A Combined Honors degree in Philosophy and another discipline requires a minimum of *36 (at the junior-and senior-levels) in Philosophy and a minimum of *36 in the other discipline. Requirements in Philosophy are

  1. at least one of PHIL 120, 220, or 325 (Formal Reasoning);  
  2. at least two of PHIL 230, 240, 333, 336, 343 (History of Philosophy); 
  3. at least one of PHIL 200, 205, or 215 (Metaphysics/Mind/Epistemology requirement) and one of PHIL 250, 270, or 280 (Ethics/Political Philosophy/Aesthetics requirement);  
  4. Honors Essay (PHIL 498 or INT D 520- with consent from both departments);  
  5. *9 must be at the 400-level in Philosophy (not including PHIL 498). 

A maximum of *9 at the 100 level in Philosophy is permitted.

With the permission of the Honors Advisor, students pursuing Combined Honors in Philosophy and another discipline may write a combined honors essay (INT D 520) that is supervised jointly by faculty from both departments and whose subject integrates both disciplines.  In these circumstances, students will complete INT D 520 in place of PHIL 498.

Notes

  1. In no case can more than one reading course (ie. *3) be applied toward satisfying Combined Honors requirements.  
  2. 400-level PHIL courses offered by St. Joseph's College may not be applied to the 400-level requirement for the Combined Honors in Philosophy program.

Promotion and Graduation Requirements

In a Combined Honors program, students are required to meet the promotion and graduation standards of each discipline. The requirements in Philosophy are outlined in University Calendar, under the Faulty of Arts, BA Honor and BA Major/Minor Requirements, Philosophy, Combined Honors in Philosophy.