Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the major, through the successful completion of their senior thesis, a student will have demonstrated that they can execute a sustained research project. The student will be able to:

  • choose and define a topic from the major field;
  • independently investigate that topic with the support of an advisor;
  • write a clear, accurate and thorough document that is substantially longer than a traditional term paper or project;
  • produce original work (for example, a new and plausible interpretation of difficult material in the writing of an important philosopher, a genuinely novel argument for a well–knownphilosophical argument or interpretation, a genuinely novel criticism of an influential argument or interpretation, or a new and intriguing philosophical thesis with cogent supporting argument);
  • defend their work orally;
  • locate their topic and the student's contribution to the topic in a larger context;
  • summarize a debate; and
  • manage their time.

The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in these areas, is the senior thesis; in addition, the junior qualifying examination will assess a student's grasp of the skills and knowledge needed to be ready for thesis. For more information on the thesis, see Thesis. For more information about the Junior Qualifying Exam, see Junior Qualifying Exam.