Other links:

Other links:

If you want to read some testimonials about the Philosophy Capstone Thesis, look here or watch the video below.


The following are requirements in the sense of what is required for you to start on the Philosophy Capstone Thesis:           

  • the Philosophy Capstone Thesis can only be pursued during the ASP;
  • you need a philosophical topic that you are interested in enough that you can imagine working on it for up to a full year;
  • you need to find an advisor from the Ashoka Philosophy Department who is willing to support you through this project – choose someone who works in the area you want to work in, whom you like and respect, who will be available and willing to give you (tough) feedback (if needed), and from whom you can take such feedback;
  • you may list up to two advisors – which can be especially interesting in case you want to work on a thesis that has an interdisciplinary flavor. Not required, but an interesting option is to add a second advisor from outside of Ashoka. If pursuing further studies is something you are considering, having outside academic support (and a potential letter writer) could prove valuable;
  • you must register for the ASP (the deadline is typically mid-June) for the Philosophy Capstone Thesis (see procedure below).

The following are requirements in the sense of what is required for you to successfully complete the Philosophy Capstone Thesis:

  • You must successfully complete both
    • the departmental Capstone Research Seminar that meets in the Monsoon semester and culminates in the creation of
      • prospectus document (5-10 pages) and
      • an annotated bibliography, by the end of the Monsoon semester (or as per the departmental deadline), 
    • the supervised Capstone Thesis Seminar, which basically functions like an ISM (4 credits) in the Spring and culminates in the public defense of your Philosophy Capstone Thesis and the subsequent submission of the thesis.
  • You must submit a defense draft of your thesis to your advisor(s) at least one week prior to the scheduled defense date (or as per the departmental deadline), and submit a revised draft (if required) after the defense, by a date determined by the department.
  • You must arrange a defense date that works for your advisors and adhere to all deadlines related to the Philosophy Capstone Thesis.
  • You must defend your thesis orally before the end of the Spring semester.
    • These defenses are open for Ashoka students to attend and must be attended (in person or, if necessary, via Skype) by the advisor(s).
    • At least two Ashoka Philosophy faculty members must be present.

Note that the Capstone Thesis can be used to complete a Second Major Equivalent or a Minor in Philosophy, or may be done (though this will happen very rarely) to complete a Concentration or completely independently. In such cases, the Capstone Thesis Seminar yields 4 credits towards the student’s credential or general ASP credits and the Capstone Research Seminar should be audited, for no credits. This ensures that aspiring Philosophy Minors, Majors, and those pursuing a Concentration get sufficient exposure to Philosophy and philosophical instruction – exposure which due to its specific focus on general methodological and logistical issues, the Capstone Research Seminar does not provide. 

Application Procedure

  • First off, start thinking about this early.
  • If you want to work on a Philosophy Capstone Thesis, you need an advisor. Ideally, you find your advisor near the beginning of the final term of your graduating year.
  • Talk to your prospective advisor them about what you want to work on. They will have ideas and advice.
  • Follow their advice – especially when they say: “You need to do less!” This is always good advice!
  • If you want an external advisor, too, you will need to have a sense of what you want to work on, for only with a rough project outline will you be able to get them interested.
  • Around mid-March, the Office of Acadmic Affairs (OAA) will inform you that the ASP registration form will open – fill it first and list the Capstone.
  • Fill the ASP Capstone Registration form and ask your advisors to approve it. 
  • Once you have the approvals in place, ask your advisors for things that you should read over the summer. Start reading enthusiastically, don’t forget to take notes and begin to work on an annotated bibliography!
  • Consider taking relevant courses during the summer semester. The credits you earn will count towards your ASP (or the completion of your undergraduate degree, whatever applies).
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