Skip to main content

Independent Project (PH353-15)


This module involves students carrying out independent research, throughout one term of their final year, on a topic chosen in consultation with their supervisor, to produce a piece of work of around 5,000 words. The module is worth 15 CATS.


This module is available to final-year single honours Philosophy students (including 'Philosophy with...' variants). It is also available to final-year PPE students and Mathematics & Philosophy students as an option. Students who have opted to write a dissertation in Philosophy are precluded from taking an independent project at the same time.

Please also note that students must pre-register their intent to undertake an independent project when pre-registering for all other module options. Students must then formally confirm their supervisor before the end of the summer term of their penultimate year of study (i.e. the second year for a course lasting three years).


The independent project will demonstrate your ability to select an interesting, but manageable philosophical topic for discussion, find out about existing views on this topic in the literature, put forward a sustained, structured argument for your own view, and defend it against counter-arguments.


There are no lectures or seminars associated with this module, although the topic of the project can relate to a module that you have been studying or auditing, as long as there is no overlap with any other assessed or examined work for the module. There will normally be three supervision meetings at which your supervisor responds to substantive extracts from drafts presenting some of the key arguments to be discussed in the independent project. For more details see below.


This module is assessed in the following way:

  • 100% assessed - 1 x 5000 word essay to be submitted in line with the 2017/18 essay deadlines schedule.


Please note that it is your responsibility to approach a member of academic staff in the department who you think might be a suitable supervisor for a topic in your chosen area. Staff members will not normally turn down a request to supervise an independent project on an appropriate topic in their area(s) of competence unless they are already oversubscribed. So we recommend approaching your preferred supervisor early.


Students must pre-register their intent to do an independent project and identify a suitable supervisor in the 3rd term of their penultimate year of study. Students will subsequently be able to opt out of the independent project at the beginning of their final year should they wish to, in which case they will have to choose an alternative 15 CATS module.

Summer term of your Penultimate Year:

  • By the end of week 4: Register your intent to undertake an independent project on the pre-registration webpages as part of your pre-registration for module options you will be taking next year.
  • By Thursday of week 10: Identify supervisor and meet him/her for a preliminary discussion of topic, readings, etc. Hand in Independent Project supervision form to the Department Office (S2.66).

Final Year:

  • During their final year, students are entitled to three further supervision sessions, each of which should be based on a substantial piece of written material presenting a sustained piece of philosophical work.
  • By TBC: Hand in Independent Project Title Form