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Philosophy
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Proposal Submission Checklist
& Information on Graduation

Proposal Submission Checklist

It is your responsibility to make sure that you have completed all the following before submitting you proposal for departmental review. It is also recommended that you meet with the graduate advisor to go over the advancement to candidacy form.

Committee

You have formed a complete (3 person) committee. The department strongly recommends that your committee consist of three tenured or tenure-track members of the CSULB Philosophy Department. Minimally, the committee chair must be a member of the tenure-track faculty of the CSULB Philosophy Department. Of the two remaining members of your committee, at least one member must be a tenured or tenure-track member of a CSULB department. The third member can be a part-time faculty member or a person with appropriate qualifications from another university department or another university. Your proposal submission should include letters from all non-department or non-tenure-track committee members stating that they are familiar with you and your thesis topic, stating that they intend to work with you on your thesis as a committee member, and outlining their qualifications to serve on your committee. Any members of your committee who are not from the tenure-track faculty of the Philosophy Department must be approved by your committee chair and the department. Do not assume the department will approve committee members. The Philosophy Department reserves the right to reject any committee members.

Course Work

If you were admitted conditionally:

  • You have completed all of the specified deficiency courses. Note: none of the deficiency courses can count towards your Master’s course requirements.

For all students:

  • You have passed the WPE or equivalent.
  • You have passed both sections of the BQE.
  • You have completed Phil 270 or equivalent.

For Thesis:

  • You have completed or are currently enrolled to complete 24 credit hours of graduate level work in Philosophy, i.e., only 500 and 600 level courses.
    • Of these courses, at least two courses must be 600 level seminar courses.
      No more than two courses can be 599 independent study courses.
      You must have completed independent study forms with prior permission by the graduate advisor for any 599 courses.

For Comprehensive Exam:

  • You have completed or are currently enrolled to complete 27 credit hours of graduate level work in Philosophy, i.e., only 500 and 600 level courses.
    • Of these courses, at least two courses must be 600 level seminar courses.
      No more than two courses can be 599 independent study courses.
      You must have completed independent study forms with prior permission by the graduate advisor for any 599 courses.

More on Thesis Proposals

Your thesis proposal presents the tenured or tenure-track faculty members of the department with a general outline of your intended thesis project together with a brief justification of its merit as a research project warranting a master’s degree. Write your thesis proposal with the goal of creating of a concise, well-written document clearly articulating your project and its relationship to the philosophical literature. In general, you should aim for 6-8 pages of text and a bibliography of 1-2 pages. A good thesis proposal will have three elements: (1) A clear and concise statement of the position you intend to articulate and defend in the thesis. (2) A well-researched statement relating your position to the philosophical literature indicating how your position connects with important thought on the subject by other philosophers. An indispensable part of your statement of relevance is a thorough search of the literature in the Philosopher’s Index, including reading a number of important articles in the area prior to writing your proposal. (3) An outline of how exactly you intend to structure your exposition in the thesis. This outline should present a chapter-by-chapter account, indicating how each chapter relates to the overall project.

The best strategy for writing your thesis proposal is to start early and interact regularly with your committee. Your committee is your resource for advice and feedback on your proposal while you develop it. The director of your committee is responsible for deciding when the proposal is ready for review and the committee members must agree. Your committee members are also the ones who will present the proposal and defend it to the department. Thus, the more constructive interaction you have with them while writing the proposal the better. It is important to note that a student cannot submit a proposal to the department on his/her initiative without the approval of the thesis committee.

Submitting Your Thesis Proposal

Once your advisor and all committee members are agreed that your proposal is ready, your next step is to submit the proposal to the department. First, add a cover sheet to your proposal including the title, date, and names of the committee members with the advisor identified and listed first. Each member of the committee will sign the cover sheet of your proposal, so include a signature line for each member. Once you have collected the committee signatures, you should prepare hard copies of your proposal for distribution to the faculty mailboxes in MHB seven days before the meeting where your proposal will be considered. You should submit a copy of your proposal to all the assistant, associate, and full professors in the department, along with all faculty members in the FERP (Faculty Early Retirement Program) who are on duty that semester. You can consult the department web page, your thesis advisor, the graduate advisor, the department chair, or the department administrative coordinator to determine the dates of department meetings and which faculty members are on duty. As your proposal will not be reviewed by part-time faculty members (lecturers), do not distribute your proposal to them.

Please note that you are responsible for all printing and photocopying of your proposal. The Department does not provide photocopying services for students for this or other purposes.

More on Comprehensive Exam Proposals

Your comprehensive exam proposal presents the tenured and tenure-track faculty members of the department with a outline of your intended exam areas with the corresponding works to be studied so that the department may confirm that your exam warrants conferral of a master’s degree. Your exam areas must represent widely recognized topics or figures in philosophy. The texts that you select must represent a reasonably comprehensive and representative selection of significant works in each area. For exams covering historical figures include both original and influential secondary sources in your text list. When exam areas cover topics in philosophy (ex. freewill) your texts should include important original works representing every major position in the area. Your goal in writing your exam proposal should be creating concise, well-written document that clearly spells out; (1) your exam areas–including a statement of what question(s)/problem(s) your exam will explicitly address as well as the relative place of that question(s)/problem(s) in its specific sub-field of philosophy, (2) the philosophical (and other) literature you will read, (3) why your chosen areas and texts constitute a comprehensive and representative sampling of well-respected works on widely recognized figures or topics. In general you should aim for 2-3 pages of text, including your bibliography, for each exam area. Your text should include a description of the area of each exam and it’s general relation to philosophy, the specific focus of each exam, the relation of the exam area to other exams areas (if related), and how the readings in your bibliography relate to your area and focus. Finally, each exam will have one primary responsible committee member. That committee member will create the exam, grade the exam, and confer with the committee as a whole regarding your passing the entire exam. Thus, you must: (1) name the responsible faculty member for each examination area, (2) State that exam area’s format (e.g., timed essay without references, take-home essay, etc..), and (3) the responsible faculty member’s policy for grading the test, including a precise statement of the remedies, if any, should the faculty member find the exam inadequate.An indispensable part of writing your proposal is a thorough search of the literature in the Philosopher’s Index, including reading a number of important articles in the area prior to writing your proposal.The best strategy for writing your thesis proposal is to start early and interact regularly with your committee. Your committee is your resource for advice and feedback on your proposal while you develop it. While it is desirable that committee members are readily available for students and can provide prompt feedback, you should recognize that faculty members have many responsibilities and demands on their time. Do not expect that faculty can give you immediate feedback or conform to your deadlines. You must plan and work so that you allow for potential delays.

The director of your committee is responsible for deciding when the proposal is ready for departmental review and the committee members must agree. Your committee members are also the ones who will present the proposal and defend it to the department. Likewise, your committee members will be creating and grading your exams. Thus, the more constructive interaction you have with them while writing the proposal the better. It is important to note that a student cannot submit a proposal to the department on his/her initiative without the approval of an exam committee.

Submitting Your Comprehensive Exam Proposal

Once your advisor and all committee members are agreed that your proposal is ready, your next step is to submit the proposal to the department. First, add a cover sheet to your proposal including the title, date, and names of the committee members with the advisor identified and listed first. Each member of the committee will sign the cover sheet of your proposal, so include a signature line for each member. Once you have collected the committee signatures, you should prepare hard copies of your proposal for distribution to the faculty mailboxes in MHB seven days before the meeting where your proposal will be considered. You should submit a copy of your proposal to all the assistant, associate, and full professors in the department, along with all faculty members in the FERP (Faculty Early Retirement Program) who are on duty that semester. You can consult the department web page, your thesis advisor, the graduate advisor, the department chair, or the department administrative coordinator to determine the dates of department meetings and which faculty members are on duty. As your proposal will not be reviewed by part-time faculty members (lecturers), do not distribute your proposal to them.

Please note that you are responsible for all printing and photocopying of your proposal. The Department does not provide photocopying services for students for this or other purposes.

Apply To Graduate!!

Once you have had your proposal approved and advanced to candidacy, you should immediately look into applying to graduate.

How do I file for graduation?

Follow these 3 steps to file for graduation:

1. Complete a Request to Graduate form.

2. Meet the following requirements before submitting your completed Request to Graduate form:

Required for Graduation Contact for Information
Pass the WPE. Office of Testing and Evaluation Services, Brotman Hall (BH) 216, (562) 985-4006.

Note that people who score a 4 or higher on the GRE or GMAT analytical portion of the test do not have to take the WPE. (The registration form for the WPE says that scores must be sent to the Enrollments office, but it does not state whether they have to be official scores sent by the GRE or GMAT officials or if students can submit the scores themselves.)

Maintain good academic standing. Student Academic Records
Have no financial obligation to CSULB. Student Account Services, BH 170A, (562) 985-8280

3. Pay your Diploma and Commencement fees. Current fees are listed in the University catalog.

When do I file for graduation?

See this web page.

What if I miss a deadline for graduation?

If you miss the deadline dates listed above, you must file a Request to Apply for Graduation After the Published Deadline from Enrollment Services (BH-101) along with your Request to Graduate form. Follow the instructions on the petition form. You must pay a $10 missed deadline fee. Filing this petition does not guarantee that you will be allowed to graduate at the time you request.