Fall semester junior year, independent work normally involves participation in a group of up to five students under the supervision of an instructor from the faculty of the department. Such a group (formerly called a “junior seminar”) meets weekly for an hour or biweekly for two hours to discuss readings selected by the instructor, and each student writes a final paper of at least 5,000 words, usually on a topic chosen by the student from a list provided by the instructor in the area defined by those readings, or at least pre-approved by the instructor. The student's grade for fall semester independent work will be mainly based on this paper but is normally partly based also on shorter papers and/or oral presentations in the seminar earlier in the term. (Most commonly the split is about 75%-25%).
When (in later spring or early summer) descriptions of group topics for the coming fall semester become available, they will be circulated to students, who will be asked to submit within a week or ten days a ranked list of their preferences, on which basis students will be assigned to groups. Instructors will communicate with students about scheduling.
The paper should be submitted as an attachment in pdf format to an ordinary e-mail to the group instructor, with copies to the UGA and (Fall) DUS. The due date for the completed paper is Friday at the end of the first week of Wintersession. This is a University due date and extensions cannot be granted by individual departments or instructors. Late work cannot be accepted for grading by the department unless permission to do so is granted by the student's academic dean. There is a grade penalty of 1 point per weekday to a maximum of 10 (= a full letter grade) for lateness, unless a waiver is granted. Waivers require approval of the group instructor and the DUS.
Students who will be away on study abroad fall semester junior year will write the same kind of junior paper all students write spring semester (see below), in place of participation in a junior independent work group. Arrangements will be made as part of the process of approval of the study abroad application. Sophomores contemplating entering the department but being away on study abroad fall semester junior year should consult the DUS about getting a head start on the fall junior paper over the preceding summer or even spring semester sophomore year.
Spring semester junior year, independent work consists of writing a junior paper, an essay on a philosophical topic, normally amounting to at least 5,000 words, written under the supervision of a faculty advisor.
On the one hand, any member of the department faculty (regular, visiting, associated, or post-doctoral fellow) not on leave is eligible to advise a junior paper if willing to do so, except that a student may not have the same advisor for both semesters' junior independent work (there is no such restriction for the senior thesis). Students may find advisors on their own, by agreement with a member of the faculty. On the other hand, certain faculty are assigned by the chair of the department special responsibility for supervision of undergraduate independent work and constitute the Senior Thesis/Junior Paper Advising Panel. Students who do not find advisors on their own are assigned advisors from this panel by the DUS. By the first day of the second week of spring classes every junior should submit to the DUS either confirmation of an agreement about advising with some one member of the faculty (in the form of an e-mail from the faculty member to the DUS, or at a pinch a forward to the DUS of an e-mail from the faculty member to the student, unequivocally indicating the faculty member's willingness to advise), or else a list of several members of the panel by whom the student would be willing to be advised. Notice of advisor assignments will be posted electronically to students early the next week of classes.
Junior papers are normally due the second day of spring reading period. They should be submitted in pdf format as an attachment to an e-mail to the instructor, with copies to the UGA and DUS. This is a University deadline: departments and instructors cannot grant extensions on their own authority. Late work cannot be accepted for grading by the department unless permission to do so is granted by the student's academic dean. There is a grade penalty of 1 point per weekday to a maximum of 10 (= a full letter grade) for lateness, unless a waiver is granted. Waivers require approval of the seminar instructor and the DUS.
**For additional useful information and resources please see the comprehensive Department of Philosophy Handbook for Concentrators.