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Philosophy Honors Program

Contact Person:
David Curry, Chair
201 Morey
(315) 267-2019

36 credit hours required.

The Honors Program in Philosophy is designed to allow students a more rigorous introduction to the discipline than the normal major. It is particularly designed to better prepare students who plan to enter graduate programs in philosophy, law, political science, psychology or other related fields of study. Students will be exposed to a more rigorous set of course requirements, and will write and orally defend a thesis written under advisement of a faculty mentor. Students will thus be better prepared for graduate study in terms of content, and in terms of the discipline and skills needed to thrive in graduate school. They will gain a more in depth understanding of the progression of philosophy by engaging in active philosophical research of contemporary significance.


  1. Philosophy majors with six credit hours in philosophy completed at SUNY Potsdam (or other acceptable institution, to be determined by the faculty);
  2. 3.5 cumulative GPA in philosophy;
  3. 3.25 cumulative degree GPA;
  4. 3.0 minimum grade in all philosophy courses to be applied to major;
  5. Submit application at least three semesters before graduation.

Senior Thesis and Oral Defense
Thesis will be written as part of a year-long intensive research project on a topic to be approved by the full faculty of the department and which is of interest to both the student and at least one faculty mentor. The mentor and student will devise a course of study (effectively, design a tutorial) and present the fruits of their research, in the form of an essay, to the department as a whole for approval. An oral defense for the thesis will be required before three members of the faculty to be chosen by the student and mentor. The thesis is to be presented to the faculty by mid-semester of the second semester of the senior year.

Students who fail to pass their thesis exam but who complete all coursework for the honors program will be granted a standard major in philosophy.

All courses are 3 credits unless noted. Credits are divided as follows:

Required Coursework (Credits 27)
PHIL 210 Introduction to Symbolic Logic* OR
     PHIL 217 Language and Symbolic Logic
PHIL 322 Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 324 Modern Philosophy
PHIL 328 Issues in Ethical Theory
PHIL 440 Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy OR
     PHIL 355 Philosophy of Language
PHIL 454 Theory of Knowledge
PHIL 465 Metaphysics
PHIL 480 Honors Thesis Research I (2 credits)
PHIL 481 Honors Thesis Research II (1 credit)
PHIL 387 Selected Philosophers OR
PHIL 475 Seminar in Philosophy

*It is highly recommended that students also take PHIL 110 Introduction to Logic.

Electives: three of the following (Credits 9)
PHIL 320 Aesthetics
PHIL 323 Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 325 Nineteenth Century Philosophy
PHIL 350 Philosophy of Science
PHIL 359 Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 370 Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 380 Philosophy of Mind