University of Pittsburgh
Undergraduate

Departmental Honors:

For an HPS major to receive departmental honors, the student must have a 3.5 GPA in HPS courses before starting the project described below, and maintain this average until graduation. The main criterion for achieving departmental honors is the production of an original research paper written in connection with HPS 1702-1703 or any other advanced (1000-level) HPS course. The paper then must be re-written in light of the comments made by the instructor. It is the re-written paper that is the honors document. The student may ask the course instructor when submitting the paper for the class to judge whether it is a suitable candidate for rewriting and thus for departmental honors.

The final research paper will be graded Honors Pass/Fail by two faculty members, one of whom will be the course instructor. The emphasis will be on original, detailed, and well-argued research. Most acceptable term papers will not be sufficient for HPS honors.

Please note that if the research paper is also intended to serve as the basis for a sample of written work to be used to apply to graduate schools or to seek honors for a spring graduation, then the project must be started in the student’s junior year.

Papers must be written in forms appropriate for submission to the journals Philosophy of Science or Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. This means the paper must meet every formal requirement of the journal (spacing, margins, placement of notes, bibliographic conventions, etc.). Regardless of journal policy, each honors paper may not exceed 7,500 words, including quotations, notes, substantive footnotes, and so forth, but excluding bibliography and footnotes that merely cite references. Students must include a word count on the front page of their research papers. Failure to meet these requirements will mean that the essay will be turned back to the student without being read.

To be considered for honors, the 2024 honors paper must be turned in to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by March 7, for Spring graduation, or by October 1, for a December graduation.