Honors TrackThe Philosophy Honors Track is designed for highly qualified, motivated philosophy majors. Through special distribution and credit hour requirements, as well as a directed honors thesis, students are prepared for in-depth philosophical research and related graduate and professional opportunities.
To be accepted into the Philosophy Honors Track, a student must:
* be a philosophy major in either the general or individually designed track,
* have at least sophomore standing,
* have at least 9 hours in UAB philosophy courses,
* have and maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in UAB philosophy course work,
* submit a formal application for Honors in Philosophy to the department chair.
Being admitted to the Honors Track is not a guarantee that the student will be allowed to write an honors thesis.
Formal application may be secured from the department office or is available via download here in a pdf format. Ideally, the student will have a paper from a course that can be developed into an honors thesis. The student should arrange to find a faculty sponsor to recommend the student to the track. It is the chair's responsibility to formally approve admission into the track. Admission, which can typically be expected by any student who meets the eligibility requirements, is acknowledged by a letter of invitation to the student to join the track. Once admitted, if for any reason the student wishes or needs to move or return to the general or individualized track, this is accomplished simply by declaration to the chair.
* Completion of at least 36 hours in philosophy (at least 27 above the 100-level), including honors distribution requirements and a written honors thesis (typically 20 pages), and a GPA of at least 3.6. The thesis is done under the supervision of a professor in the department. Credit for the thesis is earned by registering for PHL 499. For further details contact the department.
* No course in which a grade below C has been earned may count towards the major requirement. The distribution requirement covers a range of courses, including a seminar, required of Honors Track students. The range is designed to acquaint the student with important areas of philosophy and its history. The distribution of acceptable courses is as below:
Honors Distribution Requirements:
I. Ethics and Value Theory (6 hours)
Courses satisfying this requirement include:
PHL 115: Contemporary Moral Issues
PHL 116: Bioethics
PHL 125: Introduction to Ethics
PHL 135: The Rule of Law
PHL 215: History of Moral Philosophy
PHL 230: Social and Political Philosophy
PHL 232: Classical Political Thought
PHL 233: Modern Political Theory
PHL 315: Ethics: Theories of Good and Evil
PHL 330: Libertarianism as a Political Philosophy
PHL 335: Philosophy of Law
II. History of Philosophy (6 hours):
Courses satisfying the requirement include:
PHL 205: Existentialism
PHL 239: Classical Thought of India, China, and the West or PHL: 203 Philosophy of Religion (Not both)
PHL 240: History of Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
PHL 341: History of Philosophy: Descartes to Hume
PHL 342: History of Philosophy: Kant and the 19 th Century
PHL 343: History of Philosophy: Twentieth Century
PHL 348: American Philosophy
III. Other Core Courses: Epistemology/Metaphysics/Philosophy of Mind/Logic/Philosophy of Language/Philosophy of Science (9 hours)
Courses satisfying this requirement include:
PHL 220: Symbolic Logic
PHL 270: The Scientific Enterprise
PHL 305: Epistemology
PHL 308: Metaphysics
PHL 320: Intermediate Symbolic Logic
PHL 350: Philosophy of Language
PHL 372: Minds and Machines
PHL 375: Philosophy of Mind
PHL 470: Philosophical Problems in the Natural and Social Sciences
IV. Seminar in Philosophy: (3 hours)
PHL 490, 491, 492
V. Honors Thesis:
VI. Electives: (9 hours)
Any PHL courses
* Topics (PHL 290, 291, 292) and Seminars (PHL 490, 491, 492) have contents which vary from offering to offering. Which area in the distribution requirement such a course might satisfy depends on the content, but most such courses fit clearly into one of the above categories. For instance, a course on the Ethics of the Natural and Built Environment would qualify as an ethics course and would count as one of the courses satisfying the requirement in Ethics and Value Theory. Students who are unsure about which area in the distribution requirement an individual course satisfies should ask the professor teaching the course or contact the department chair. Depending on the content, PHL 290 or PHL 490 may be taken more than once to fulfill different requirements. For example, a student may take a 490 seminar on Aristotle to fulfill part of the history requirement, and then take a second 490 seminar on philosophy and cognitive science to fulfill the seminar requirement itself.
* Departmental courses not mentioned above may occasionally serve to satisfy distribution requirements. In addition, some students reach their senior year only to discover that they have an excess of courses in one area while being deficient in one of the others. Naturally, this situation can be prevented by careful planning, but in individual cases a single course from one area might be substituted to satisfy the requirements of another. This is always done at the discretion of the department chair. Questions about such courses, as well as requests for adjustments or substitutions, should be addressed to him, either in person or in writing.
*Occasionally students find themselves unable to complete the honors thesis. In such instances the professor will assign a grade for the Directed Readings course but the student will graduate without the honors distinction.
*Students may be enrolled in the honors track while simultaneously pursuing the requirements for the concentration in Philosophy and Political Economy.