A candidate for honors in Philosophy must fulfill all of the requirements for a major in Philosophy. The student must have a minimum of a 3.5 cumulative and major GPA at the time of application for honors and upon graduation from the college. Students considering pursuing honors in philosophy should consult with departmental faculty as early as possible in their career at Rhodes to generate the best plan for course work. Students interested in pursuing Honors must take PHIL 399 Honors Tutorial during the spring semester of the junior year.

The Goal

A student pursuing honors in Philosophy must write and defend an essay (not to exceed 60 pages) on a philosophical topic or question. The essay must address an educated audience without undue reliance on technical or idiosyncratic language.

The Honors Committee

One member in the Philosophy Department will serve as the first reader and sponsor of the project. (Normally, each faculty member can sponsor only one student.) The committee must also include a faculty member from outside the department who will serve as second reader of the project. Finally, at least one additional member of the Philosophy Department will serve on the committee as a reader. The first reader bears primary responsibility for overseeing the project and providing the grades (for Philosophy 495 and 496). Normally, the second and third readers will act as consultants whose primary responsibility is to read the penultimate and final versions of the honors essay.

The Proposal

The candidate for honors must prepare a Project Proposal of no more than 5 pages (excluding bibliography and glossary) that is approved by the majority of Philosophy Department faculty as well as the reader from outside the department. (No student proposal that lacks the endorsement of the full honors committee will be approved.) The proposal should clearly state the question or issue the honors work will address and describe the methodology used to resolve the question or develop the issue. A bibliography of works to be consulted must also be included. A final version of the proposal must be submitted to the honors committee by the end of the fourth week of the fall semester. If the committee determines that the proposal shows sufficient promise but is unacceptable in its current form, the student may resubmit a revised version of the proposal by the end of the sixth week of the fall semester. (A student whose proposal is not accepted may pursue an independent study with the first reader for the fall semester.)

The Defense

A candidate for honors must complete the essay by the end of the eighth week of the spring semester. The student will then be required to successful defend the paper in an oral defense before the honors committee; the defense will be open to the public. If the committee determines that revisions are appropriate, the student must complete them by a specified time, usually the end of the tenth week of the spring semester. The committee will be responsible for deciding whether the student will be granted honors, although other departmental faculty may also be consulted. Students will be notified of the committee’s decision by the end of April.

Catalogue Information on the Honors Program

Honors Research Guidelines


The following are recipients of Honors in Philosophy:

2010  Mark Wadley

2005  Stephen R. Ogden, "Processing God: The Possibilities and Sufficiency of Christian Concepts
          of God′s Relationship to Time"

          Clifton Bryant

2003  Carson Weitnauer, "Grounds of Christian Belief"

2001  Jeremy Simpson Boyd, "Truth, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation"

2001  Eric Joseph Lewellyn, "The Utility of Human Rights"