Undergraduate Resources & Funding

Find the academic and financial support needed to make the student experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Philosophy Undergraduate Advising


Philosophy Department Prizes and Awards 


Gauss Prize for Excellence in Philosophy

The Gauss Prize is awarded to an undergraduate student who has impressed the faculty with their commitment to and understanding of the discipline of philosophy. The award is named for Charles Gauss, who was instrumental in the founding of the department.


Excellence in Service to the Department of Philosophy Prize

The Philosophy Department awards a service prize every year to a student graduating with a philosophy degree who has contributed to the life and social environment of the department.


Thacher Fellowship

Since 2004, qualifying undergraduate philosophy majors have enjoyed the opportunity to research and write a thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor during their final summer and academic year at GW. The Thacher Fellowship pays as much as $3,000 per student.  

Consult our list of faculty areas of interest and specialization to identify faculty members to approach about advising a prospective Thacher Thesis.

Faculty Areas of Focus

Application Requirements
  • Must be a current philosophy major in their junior year.
  • Must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA in philosophy courses (3.3 overall)
  • Must submit a proposal in the spring of their junior year for a research project to be conducted under the mentorship of a Philosophy Department faculty member.
How to Apply

To apply, email the Philosophy Department for an application.


The fellowship is supported by an endowed fund and supplemental gifts provided by Michael Thacher, BA '70, following an initial donation by Daniel H. Weiss, BA '79.  Originally established to honor the memory of Matthew Reynolds, BA '86, who died of cancer while in graduate school at New York University, it began as the Thacher-Reynolds Fellowship.  In 2024, in recognition of Michael Thacher's long-standing and expanded support for the program, it became known simply as the Thacher Fellowship.

Since 2004, 21 students have become Thacher Fellows.  Their achievement is celebrated by plaques in the Philosophy Department's reception area.

Past Fellows

  • 2004 - 2005, Bradley Chernin, “The Feminist Movement in America, Post-1950: An Analysis in Light of Urban Regime Theory, Social Capital Theory, and Feminist Philosophies”
  • 2005 - 2006, Niels von Deuten“A Question of Faith: On the Possibility of Faith in the Religious Discourse”
  • 2006 - 2007, Daniel Susser, “Challenging the Binary: Toward an Ecological Theory of Intentionality.” 
  • 2007 - 2008, Thom Gennaro, “An Exploration at the Intersection of Mathematics and Psychology that Re-Examines the Philosophical Position Known as ‘Psychologism’”
  • 2008 - 2009, Ian Tully, “An Investigation and Critique of Recent Trends in Art Criticism that Seek an Explanation of the Aesthetic Experience on the Basis of Evolutionary Psychology”
  • 2009 - 2010, Chris Avellaneda, “Democratic Governance in a Time of Crisis: An Inquiry into the Role of Government in Preserving Economic Stability”
  • 2010 - 2011, Rebecca Groom, “Reflections on the Moral Status and Human Use of Nonhuman Animals”
  • 2012 - 2013, Landon Elkind, “Russell’s Logical Atomism and Modality"
  • 2012 - 2013, Katie Hurrelbrink, “The Epistemology of Wine Expertise: Knowledge, Testimony, and the Tasting Experience"
  • 2012 - 2013, Iaan Reynolds, "Being-adjacently and disclosiveness: constructing and situating a Heideggerian account of ethics"
  • 2014 - 2015, Mary Arbor, “On Concept Meaning: An Intermediary Holist Position”
  • 2015 - 2016, Harry Rosenberg, “Cognitive Phenomenal Intentionality"
  • 2017 - 2018, Allie Geoca"The Explanatory Role of Mechanisms in Aiming at Successful Medical Treatment"
  • 2018 - 2019, Esha Jain“Epistemic Credibility and Social Identity: An analysis of the credibility bias held against women during testimonial exchange”
  • 2019 - 2020, Thomas Crean, “Scheler’s Emotive Ethics: Value Personalism and Its Application”
  • 2019 - 2020, Ethan Weatherdon, “An Ontological Education: by the Oppressed, and for the Oppressed”
  • 2020 - 2021, Evan Engel, "Learning in Time: Toward a Cognitive Model of Asymmetrical Time Intuitions"
  • 2021 - 2022, Shawky Darwish, "Capitalism ad Absurdum?: Re-Entangling Race and Class in the work of Charles Mills"
  • 2021 - 2022, Dylan Sapienza, "Debunking Arguments and Ethical Intuitionism: How Thought Experiments Can Help or Hinder our Understanding of Morality"
  • 2021 - 2022, Eliza Wizner, "Belly Laugh: An Experience of Selfhood and a Critical Element of Humor Theory"
  • 2022-2023, Ethan Gettes, "Art into the Clearing: Heidegger, Benjamin, and the Ontological Liberation of Art"


Special Departmental Honors

Students who wish to earn special honors designation on their transcript must meet university and department requirements.

  1. Meet GW’s general special honors requirements.
  2. Maintain a 3.7 cumulative GPA and a 3.7 in classes required for the philosophy major.
  3. Request and obtain a faculty member as a thesis advisor. Note that faculty members are under no obligation to serve as honors thesis advisors. Ideally, students should ask someone whose area of specialization is close to the chosen project topic. Students should meet with their thesis advisor regularly throughout the semester and create a timeline for completion of the thesis.
  4. Complete PHIL 4199: Directed Readings and Research and one PHIL 4198 Proseminar course OR a Thacher-Reynolds Fellowship Thesis and one PHIL 4198 Proseminar course OR two PHIL 4198: Proseminar courses.
  5. Complete an approved honors thesis by the April 1 deadline. Once the thesis is submitted, the department chair and thesis advisor will assign another faculty member to serve as a second reader. Final decisions on departmental honors will be announced by mid-April.


Study Abroad

A group of students sit on a bench in the ruins in Athens, Greece
Students explored sites in Greece during a summer study abroad trip.

Short Term Study Abroad: The Department of Philosophy organizes an annual short-term study abroad trip to Greece. A small group of students spend the summer studying ancient Greek philosophy and history in Athens and nearby sites. Applications are managed through the GW Office for Study Abroad. Contact the departmental study abroad and transfer credit coordinator, Mark Ralkowski, with questions. Note that all transfer credit — including study abroad credit — must also be approved through the transfer credit coordinator. A full syllabus must be included in any credit transfer request.

Semester or Academic Year Study Abroad: The Office for Study Abroad offers numerous study abroad options for philosophy majors. Programs that feature philosophy courses include: DIS - Copenhagen, College Year in Athens, CIEE - Liberal Arts in Barcelona, and Arcadia University - National University of Ireland among many others. To learn more about available study abroad programs, visit the Office for Study Abroad website.

GW Resources

Philosophy Department Peer Tutors
Our Peer Tutors offer students tutoring services and guidance on course offerings, concentrations, and study techniques.

Gelman Library Philosophy Research Guide
Use the curated collection of resources to assist with research and exam preparation.

Academic Commons
Book peer tutoring or review sessions, research and writing help, step-by-step study strategies, language support and more.

Blackboard Syllabi Repository
Visit the online repository of syllabi to help inform decisions about course registration.

CCAS Undergraduate Advising
Get assistance from your Columbian College academic advisor to navigate declaring a major or minor and other academic support.

Receive a tuition discount if you are a current undergraduate GW student enrolling in a GW graduate program.

GW Libraries
Explore on-campus libraries and online research databases such as JSTOR. 

Language Center
Sign up for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses, practice with language meet-up groups, take a language exam or talk to someone about waiving language requirements.

Office of the Registrar Forms
Find the materials you need to request special course registrations and withdrawals, transcripts, transfer credits and more.

Writing Center
Make a free appointment to work with a writing consultant on your next project, from the brainstorming phase through drafting and revising.

Center for Career Services
Take advantage of career and job search coaching, self-assessment services, résumé development, networking and more. (Services offered to students and alumni.)

Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research
Search and apply for undergraduate fellowships and research awards. 

Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
Apply for a fellowship to support a research project carried out over several weeks or across multiple semesters.

Sigelman Undergraduate Research Enhancement (SURE) Awards
Apply for a $500 grant to fund research project supplies, conference travel, off-site archival visits, videography and more.

Student Accounts Office
View current tuition and aid information. Applicants who request financial aid will be considered for all forms of aid available based on criteria including undergraduate GPA, courses taken, recommendations, extracurricular activities and GRE scores. 

Student Financial Assistance
Look for scholarships, Federal Work-Study positions, military benefits and other funding assistance.

Student Research Commons
Find paid research jobs, fellowships, seminars and other events available in the GW community.

Undergraduate Research Award
Apply for this $5,000 research award, open to first-years, sophomores and juniors.