Honors Degree Program

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 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
• 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 to BA Honors in Philosophy, you must have completed *24and 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.
How do I apply and what's the deadline?

You can apply at the end of your first or second year (after completion of 24 credits), provided you meet the above criteria. You might also be able to apply at the end of your third year. Speak to the Undergraduate Program Director or to the Undergraduate Advisor about it. See the University of Alberta Calendar for complete admission information. 

Students must apply online by May 1st for September admission.

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.
Honors Workshop
Twice a year, near the end of the Fall and Winter semesters, the department hosts an honors workshop. This is a chance for honors students to present their research and get feedback from their peers. Priority is given to students currently registered in PHIL 498 or INT D 520 but any honors student can presented if there is space available. Presentations are normally 20 minutes followed by a short commentary (normally given by a graduate student) and a Q&A. This is a great opportunity to hone in your presentation skills and also learn about what other students are working on. All honors students are expected to attend. Check our calendar of events for this year's dates.
Examples of recent honors thesis topics
  • Social Intuitionism and the Emotions

  • The Architectonic Necessity of Kant's Third Critique

  • Depictions of Immorality in video Games and Ethical Gameplay

  • Social Oppression and the Identity of "The Drug User"

  • Towards A Phenomenology of Power

  • Caring Ethical Leadership

  • Silence, Language, and Technology in Heidegger

  • Living Counterfactuals: Thought Experiments in Fictional Works

  • Sartrean Intersubjectivity and the Possibility of Trust

  • Personal Identity with Exclusively Psychological Criteria

  • Ecological Optics and Descartes' Theory of Sense Perception

Thesis Guidelines

The Honors Thesis is a piece of original research, normally 25-50 pages in length, written with the guidance of a faculty member. Typically, students enroll in PHIL 498 in the final term of their program. 

Before enrolling in PHIL 498, you should consult with potential supervisors and think about possible topics. Your supervisor should be someone whose area of research coincides with your own interests. If you are not sure whom to ask, think of someone who taught a class you really enjoyed, or check out the profiles on our Faculty webpage. Once you have chosen a supervisor, you need to submit the Honors Essay Registration form.

Students enrolled in PHIL 498 are expected to meet regularly with their thesis supervisor throughout the term as they narrow down their research topic, develop a reading list, conduct their research, and write their thesis. The completed thesis is submitted for a grade to the thesis supervisor, normally on the last day of classes. 

Honors Degree Requirements

See the University Calendar for general Faculty requirements for honors degrees as well as Philosophy specific requirements.