Independent Study

Senior Independent Study is a unique requirement at Wooster and a special opportunity for you to develop intellectually and philosophically. Your senior thesis can be on any philosophical topic that interests you. Some students choose topics that examine an aspect of a central question in philosophy. Other students write on problems and ideas that arise from a specific philosopher of the past.  Still others work in areas where philosophy intersects with other disciplines, such as mathematics, art, and literature. 

Last year’s Senior IS titles included:

  • Agrarianism: Red Barns, Happy Cows, and Ignorant Farmers? Or is There More To It?
  • Absurdity With God: Faith in Walker Percy's Novels
  • Caring About Stories: A Conceptual Investigation of Narrative Art and Moral Understanding
  • The Necessary Criteria to Save a Dying Practice: An Attempt to Morally Justify Capital Punishment
  • Buddhist 'emptiness' and the practice of nonconceptual content
  • Miracles, History, and the Having of Nice Things: A Critique of Structural Realism

The Senior Independent Study thesis you create is your own. Your thesis should be an example of your best work. Your advisor’s role is to help you shape your project and to challenge you to perform your best, but in the end, the thesis is your responsibility. It is your responsibility to know the deadlines and the requirements related to your project. The standard pattern in this department is for each student to meet weekly with his or her advisor for at least an hour of discussion. Each advisor should periodically inform each student whether he or she is making adequate progress toward completion of the thesis. In almost every case that progress will be measured by the amount and quality of writing produced.  Throughout the year there are specific departmental deadlines which are designed to help you make effective progress in completing your thesis.