Departmental Honors Program

Departmental Honors Program

The Department of Philosophy offers an Honors Program, providing qualified undergraduates with a unique opportunity to do advanced one-on-one research with a faculty member.


Students gain a memorable experience in completing a substantial research project on an advanced topic with one-on-one guidance from a faculty mentor. Flexibility in choice of topic also allows students to cap off their undergraduate degree with a specially crafted program of study that goes beyond the standard curricular offerings, and also gives those students interested in interdisciplinary work a chance to pursue it.

The Honors program also provide students time to practice reading new and advanced intellectual texts, practice at composing advanced philosophical arguments, and opportunities to present their research. Students who complete the program have a highly-refined writing sample to show for it. Additionally, because of their advanced work, honors students tend to have an advantage in competing for departmental scholarships each year.

Faculty are also in a much better position to write detailed letters of recommendation for the students they supervise, whether for job or career opportunities, grants and awards, admissions to law or medical school, admissions to doctoral programs, or for internships. Subsequently, students who participate in the program tend to increase their chances of admission to these programs, and are often more competitive in the achieving their short and longer-term goals.

Recent Honors Theses

  • El Nicklin, ‘Making sense of Lockean reflection’ [Marie Jayasekera]
  • Oscar Saltijeral, ‘An investigation of Socratic irony’ [Max Rosenkrantz]
  • Richard Link, ‘Pluralism and eliminativism about concepts’ [Cory Wright]
  • Michael Lara, ‘What Mary might have known: an exposition of the knowledge argument’ [Wayne Wright]
  • Reese Perez, ‘A defense of Hart’s postscript to The Concept of Law‘ [Max Rosenkrantz]
  • Cameron Stein, ‘Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: an exposition of its argument’ [Max Rosenkrantz]
  • Monica Casares, ‘Deliberation and normativity’ [Jason Raibley]
  • Jacee Cantler, ‘The narrative view of the self and women in the history of philosophy’ [Marcy Lascano]
  • Kylie Shahar, ‘Motivating the principles of equal consideration and non-maleficence in the kingdom of afflictables’ [Charles Wallis]
  • Zachary Ford, ‘Marcuse on technological rationality’ [Max Rosenkrantz]
  • Joshua Feng, ‘Atomic orbitals and the ontic conception of explanation’ [Cory Wright]
  • Cameron Conway, ‘Philippe van Parijs on universal basic income’ [Max Rosenkrantz]
  • Zachary Finn, ‘Basic goods in identity formation: bionormativity’ [Nellie Wieland]
  • Gustavo Miranda, ‘Testimony without testifiers’ [Cory Wright]

Curricular Structure

The Honors program is a 9 unit sequence over the course of two semesters. It has two curricular components.

  1. First, in both fall and spring semesters, students complete PHIL498H: Undergraduate Honors Thesis (3 units each semester) with their Faculty supervisor. During this year-long period, the student writes an undergraduate thesis under close supervision of a tenured member of the Philosophy Department.
  2. Second, in the spring semester, students also complete the PHIL497H: Undergraduate Honors Seminar (3 units) with the Director of the program. In the seminar, students meet to discuss their works-in-progress and workshop their theses, using the feedback they receive to make improvements and modifications. Students present their final theses in the seminar and in the Honors Showcase each spring.

Students who have been admitted to the Honors Program and have successfully completed these two requirements will graduate with Honors in Philosophy.


Students must apply to the Honors Program. To be eligible, applicants should satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Normally, students will have a minimum 3.50 GPA in the Philosophy major or minor, as well as a 3.00 cumulative GPA overall.
  2. Successful completion of all lower-division courses in the major (PHIL203, PHIL204, PHIL270)
  3. Successful completion of at least 9 units of upper-division Philosophy cour­ses; at least 6 of these 9 units must have been completed at Cal State Long Beach.

Exceptions can be made to the above requirements. For more information, please discuss your individual situation with both the faculty supervisor and the Director of the Honors Program.


Honors projects involve mutual agreement between student and faculty supervisor. For more general inquiries about the Honors Program or to discuss the particulars of a given project and potential supervision, please contact:

Prof. Max Rosenkrantz
Director of the Honors Program
Department of Philosophy (MHB–902)
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach CA, 90840–2408 USA
Phone: 562–985–4331

Organizational Meeting

The Director of the Honors Program normally organizes an informational meeting at the end of each spring semester, in order to introduce to describe the benefits and requirements of the program.