Undergraduates majoring in Philosophy may apply to graduate with distinction in Philosophy if they maintain a GPA in Philosophy of 3.5 or higher and successfully complete a writing assignment.
The writing assignment for distinction is usually, but is not required to be, a continuation and expansion of an A paper that the student has already written for a Philosophy class at SMU. Papers written for distinction in Philosophy are expected to show detailed familiarity with a substantive philosophical problem, as well as some originality in approaching the problem. The paper must be completed sufficiently in advance of graduation to be blind reviewed by two members of the Philosophy faculty, who make separate and confidential recommendations to the Chair as to whether the project merits distinction.
Students who complete a paper as part of their application for Distinction in Philosophy are advised to do so under the supervision of a Philosophy faculty member who is familiar with their project. This can often be done as 1-credit independent study the semester before graduation, subject to faculty availability.
In recent years, SMU has graduated a small but steady number of students with Distinction in Philosophy. Students interested in applying for distinction in Philosophy are strongly encouraged to talk with a Philosophy advisor (currently Professor Lockard, email: email@example.com) at least two full semesters prior to their intended graduation date to discuss the process in more detail.