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Senior Thesis

  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris

    Philosophy department circa 2011

  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris

    Professor Mark Collier with philosophy students

  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris

    Professor Demetriou with ’13 Philosophy Grads

  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris

    Professor Garavaso with Philosophy students

  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris
  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris
  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris
  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris
  • Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Morris

Official Guidelines

Writing and defending a senior philosophical thesis is the culminating experience for UMM philosophy majors. In this course, majors develop a piece of their philosophical writing, creating multiple drafts in response to comments from a variety of philosophical viewpoints, and orally defend their thesis.

As one of the purposes of the defense is to allow students the opportunity to revise and refine a piece of writing more than is normally possible with a paper written at the end of a semester for a seminar, the senior thesis should not be a paper that a student creates ex nihilo his or her final semester. Instead, the student should use as the basis for her thesis either (1) a paper written for a previous philosophy class, or (2) a paper that the student researched and developed independently, but has already substantially completed prior to starting the senior defense. Using a previous seminar paper as the basis for one's senior thesis is not supposed to preclude the student significantly modifying the conclusion or argument of that paper or from developing the paper in new directions. In fact, such modification and expansion is not only permitted, but is encouraged.

In order for the thesis to serve its purpose and be a profitable experience for the student, multiple drafts of the thesis have to be circulated in a timely fashion. We have developed the following requirements for successfully completing the defense.

Official Timeline for Senior Defense

By end of the 2nd week of classes
By end of the 3rd week:
By end of 5th week:
By end of 6th week:
By end of 8th week:
By end of 12th week:
By end of 13th week:
By end of 15th week:

Note that the dates above are deadlines; if you want to circulate drafts of your thesis earlier than these deadlines, or circulate more drafts than mentioned above, you are very welcome to do so. The structure above is supposed to represent the minimum number of drafts, done at the latest permissible time.

On-line examples of recent senior theses: