Senior Project Guidelines (Revised Fall 2014)
What As A Senior Project In Philosophy?
The Cal Poly Catalog states: "A senior project is a capstone experience required for all Cal Poly students receiving a baccalaureate degree. It integrates theory and application from across the student's undergraduate experiences."
In the Philosophy Department, the senior project is divided into two 2-unit courses: PHIL 460 and PHIL 461. Completion of PHIL 460 requires passage of the Senior Exam and the formulation of a plan of research under the guidance of a senior project advisor. Completion of PHIL 461 requires the submission of a formal report of your philosophical research, inquiry and findings to the advisor.
The Senior Exam will be administered during the third and ninth weeks of each quarter if sufficient demand exists. Details of the exam appear below. Arrangements to take the exam must be made with the department chair when you enroll in PHIL 460. Enrollment in PHIL 460 requires an add permit from the department chair. Completion of PHIL 460 also requires the submission of a Senior Project Agreement form by the end of the fifth week of enrollment in the course. PHIL 460 is graded on a CR/NC basis. Failure to pass the Senior Exam and submit a Senior Project Agreement form may result in a failing grade in the course.
Typically, the formal report submitted for PHIL 461 consists of a 15-25 page scholarly essay focused on a well-defined philosophical issue. For more specific details about both format and grading, it will be necessary to consult with the faculty advisor who agrees to supervise your project. Permits to add PHIL 461 are to be obtained from the department chair. Work in PHIL 461 is assigned a letter grade by the department chair on the advice of your project advisor.
Hard copies of senior projects completed in or before 2008 are housed in the Philosophy Department (Building 47, Room 37). Projects done in or later than 2008 are available in electronic form. Students are welcome to review these finished products to familiarize themselves with the form and content of past senior projects in Philosophy. Hard copies of past projects may not be removed from the department office.
Advice is available from the department chair, your senior project advisor, or from the department's major advisors. The administrative staff in the department office is also available for direction regarding various details and paperwork regarding the senior project.
Submitting Your Senior Project
When your project is complete, please follow these two steps:
- Email an electronic copy of the project to the department chair and to the department’s administrative coordinator. Please submit it as a Word document or a PDF. If this is not possible please contact the department chair.
- Submit a paper copy of the title page. Format your title page as shown on the following page. Both the senior project advisor and the department chair must sign the title page.
Should you ELECT to have your senior project electronically stored in the campus library, see the instructions at this site:
Please consult with your senior project advisor, the department chair or the department office staff should you have any further questions regarding senior projects.
The Senior Exam
The structure of the exam is as follows:
- One essay chosen by you from a list of seven questions in the history of philosophy (30 points)
- One essay chosen by you from a list of seven questions in metaphysics, epistemology and the philosophy of science (30 points)
- One essay chosen by you from a list of seven questions in ethics and political philosophy (30 points)
- Ten true/false or multiple-choice questions in logic (5 points)
- One passage requiring an explanation of the logical fallacies it commits (5 points) Each essay should be 250-500 words in length. You will have three hours to complete the exam. It will be scheduled so as to best accommodate the needs of the people taking it. The exam will be composed and graded by a faculty committee. As stated above, it will be offered in the third and ninth week of each quarter if sufficient demand exists. You must make arrangements to take the exam with the department chair when you obtain an add permit for PHIL 460.