As a senior philosophy major, joining the philosophy honors program will enable you to pursue large-scale independent research under the mentorship of a member of the philosophy faculty. It's an opportunity to take your philosophical work to the next level, while also providing a credential demonstrating excellence in research skills and self-directed initiative.

As part of the program, during senior year, you will enroll in two graduate seminars (500- or 600-level courses) and write an honors thesis. You'll write the thesis under the direction of a philosophy department faculty member who will help shape the project, assist with research methodology, read and respond to your drafts and determine the timetable for research, writing and submission.


About the Philosophy Honors Program

Any declared philosophy major with a QPA of 3.5 or above may apply as a junior to join the program for senior year.
The program has two elements. First, you'll take two 500- or 600-level philosophy graduate seminars (not cross-listed undergraduate sections, if they exist). We strongly suggest you take both seminars in the first semester of the program.

During your second semester, you'll enroll in PHIL 468 (3 credits), an honors thesis research course that grants credit for your thesis work. While in this class, you'll meet regularly with your director to hone the topic, work out a writing schedule, receive feedback on drafts and revise your work. After the final submission of your thesis, your director will arrange a public defense, where you'll present your project and take questions from your director, philosophy department faculty, philosophy graduate students, majors, minors and any other interested folks.
First meet with the philosophy department faculty member with whom you would like to work. Come to this meeting with a preliminary explanation of the thesis project you'd like to pursue. Also, secure the endorsement of a second philosophy department faculty member who is familiar with your work from previous classes.

Next, assemble your application, which consists of a letter describing your background in philosophy (including a list of courses), the thesis you intend to pursue and an outline of your goals for program participation. Include the names of the faculty member who has agreed to direct your thesis research and your second endorser. Please also include your Duquesne transcript (unofficial printouts are fine). Finally, submit your application by email to Dr. Jim Swindal (

We accept applications until April 1 for students graduating in May or August the following year or until November 1 for those graduating in December the following year.
Your thesis director must be a full-time member of the philosophy department faculty. Adjunct professors or graduate instructors are not eligible to direct philosophy honors program theses.
Yes! Register for the zero-credit PHL 499 Philosophy Capstone course during the same semester you take one of your honors program graduate-level seminars, choose an appropriate module and discuss it with your seminar professor.

Contact for more info

Dr. Jim Swindal