Senior Capstone Experience

In addition to the ten required courses, each philosophy major must also complete the Senior Capstone Experience (SCE), normally a thesis, but possibly a set of comprehensive exams. In either case, majors will work in close association with a department mentor; and those majors who do successfully complete the SCE will receive four credits toward graduation.

Senior Capstone Experience

Towards the end of their juinor year, majors will recieve a "Senior Thesis Handbook" that will outline the specific timeline of their thesis process. This will include drafting and presenting thesis proposals, choosing a faculty mentor, deadlines for section and chapter drafts, and dates for individual and group meetings. They will spend their senior year working with their faculty mentor in devising and then writing their thesis paper. See below for examples of thesis projects.



American History

Cassandra Sottile '20 "The Revolution's Impact on Frederick County, Maryland”  (Advisor: Ken Miller)

Andrew Grier '20 "God, Blood, and Allegiance: How Court and, Country Changed Each Other in 30 Years" (Advisor: Ken Miller)

Nicholas Hayes '20 "Theodore Roosevelt and Masculinity: The 26th, President and the Philosophical and Political Ideas of His, Time" (Advisor: Clayton Black)

Rowan McVey '20 "Women's Airforce Service Pilots of World War, II: Their Fight for Military Recognition in a Male-Dominated, Field" (Advisor: Carol Wilson)

Mari Mullane '20 "Keeping Them Entirely Separate": British, Policy and the Threat of Disease in Revolutionary War POW, Camps" (Advisors: Ken Miller)

Margaret Shannon '20 "Creating A New Gold Standard: The Monroe, Doctrine's Transformation of Early American Foreign Policy" (Advisor: Carol Wilson)

Matthew Underwood '20 "Rebuilding Identity: The Story of, Japanese-American Internment" (Advisor: Carol Wilson)

Alexis Young ' 20 "The Complexities of Loyalism: A Study of the, Female Loyalist Experience in Revolutionary America" (Advisor: Carol Wilson)


World History

Alexander Ramos '20 "Melchior Hoffman: The Exemplar of the Radical Reformation" (Advisor: Janet Sorentino)

Jacob Brown '20 "The German Psyche after World War II" (Advisors: Clayton Black)

Susan Cassibry '20 "In der Theorie und der Praxis. Die, Erinnerungskultur der j,dischen Gemeinde Berlins und die, ungl,ckliche Notwendigkeit der Polizeisicherheit an Orten, der j,dischen Geschichte" (Advisors: Kitty Maynard & Ken Miller)

Maria I Betancur Cardona '20 "The Impact of French Nationalism on, Anti-Semitism, Thesis Title: Le Nationalisme sur la justice : Une Étude de, la France ignorant ses crimes contre l'humanité" (Advisors: Pam Pears & Clayton Black)


Sample Thesis Timeline

Before Jr. Year

 Explore and Learn

Take advantage of the diverse offering of courses here at Washington College and within the Department of Philosophy and Religion to explore your interests and find topics/subjects that resonate with you.

Juinor Year

 Hone your ideas

Enrolling in PHL 435 (Philosophical Methods) during the fall of your juinor year will provide an excellent opportunity to turn your philosophical interests into workable philosophical questions. At the conclusion of your junior year, you'll be given the SCE guidlines packet mentioned above. Juiniors are asked to submit a summer research plan where they detail steps to turn their philosophical questions into research proposals. 

Fall of Senior Year

 Propose Your Thesis

Having spent the summer researching your questions, you will spend the fall working on your thesis proposal, annotated bibliography, and yes the thesis itself! You will work with your peers in the department and the faculty in refining the scope and scale of your thesis, when it is deemed ready, you will start the writing process. 

Spring of Senior Year

 Write Your Thesis

You will be encouraged to take advantage of winter break to create as much of a working draft on your thesis as possible, using the spring semester to then turn your work from a draft to a polished thesis paper. Seniors who follow all the departmental deadlines and submit a polished, well reasoned paper will be considered for departmental honors come graduation.