Requirements for a Philosophy SIP

What follows below is a list of requirements which apply to all SIPs submitted to the Philosophy department. To drag out an old philosophical point, these are necessary conditions, but not sufficient ones. The most important details of what you need to do in your SIP will be topic-specific matters you and your advisor(s) work out together. These are a set of general guidelines which should give you a clear idea of what is required of anyone doing a SIP in philosophy.

All two-unit SIPs must be at least 20,000 words in length (not including bibliography and notes) to receive a passing grade. All one-unit SIPs must be at least 10,000 words in length to receive a passing grade. Exceptions will be made to the length limit for students whose topics are in symbolic or mathematical logic at the discretion of the student’s advisor(s).

All students who sign up for a two-Unit SIP must meet a set of Summer Research requirements. They are as follows:

  1. Students and advisor(s) must agree on a reading list by the end of Spring Quarter of their Junior year. The books and articles on this list must be read by the beginning of Fall Quarter of Senior year.
  2. Students must submit an annotated bibliography of materials already having been read, either in class or independently, of relevance to the SIP by the end of Spring Quarter of their Junior year.
  3. Students must submit, and both members of the department must approve, a preliminary formulation of the topic of their SIP. (Details on this are available on the website and from members of the department.) Members of the department will consider the quality of this preliminary formulation of a topic in deciding whether students will be allowed to pursue a two-unit SIP in their Senior Year. Both members of the department must approve a two-unit SIP contract.
  4. Students signed up for a two-unit SIP must submit at least 15,000 words of exegesis of primary and secondary texts from their Summer Research by the first day of Fall Quarter of their Senior year. Any student who fails to do so without a medical excuse will automatically be switched to a one-unit SIP. (Keep in mind much of this exegetical material will be refined and made part of the final version of the SIP, so this is not simply supplemental work on top of an already steep set of requirements.)

Students doing two-unit SIPs will have a series of advising requirements on the completion of their projects. In practice, a student will almost invariably work more closely with one professor over the course of his or her time at the College, and we support and encourage the development of this sort of enduring scholarly engagement. However, it is also crucial to the development of individual scholarship students be prepared to work with others by sharing, presenting, defending, and developing those ideas in a way accessible to others that receives thorough evaluation. With this in mind, the following conditions will apply to research during the Fall and Winter terms of Senior year:

  1. All SIPs are co-advised. Though more work may be done with one professor than another, final decisions about the approval of topics and passing grades for SIPs will be made jointly by the members of the department and work submitted by students will be submitted to both members of the department. (Note this is consonant with the policy of having both department members sign off on each topic at the end of Junior year, as described above.)
  2. Since work is submitted to both members of the department, students will also conduct ongoing discussion and revisions of their work with both members of the department. In the event of conflicting recommendations on a student’s work, students should bring this matter to the attention of both members of the department, who will meet and reach some agreement on a joint recommendation.
  3. Students must meet with each member of the department concerning their SIPs at least once every two weeks. Students may meet more regularly if they wish, and would be advised to do so. This is intended as a minimum requirement and we are always ready for further engagement when students and advisors seek it.

Stated in this way, these requirements may sound daunting. Indeed, the SIP is a substantial project. Our hope is not to intimidate you, but rather to make explicit what sorts of expectations and requirements will come into play as your work progresses. Given the time you have before you, these goals are attainable and having a clear idea of what lies ahead is a great asset in approaching the work. Please let us know if you have further questions.

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