Description of Capstone – Philosophy
(Please note that this information is subject to change and you should confirm details with your advisor.)

Identification of project and supervisor:

Students are encouraged to submit preliminary proposals by Week 11 of the second semester of their junior year, to the Capstone Coordinator, for the following semester. If they are abroad, they may do this by email. The proposals need not specify a thesis to defend, but should identify an area and an aspect to be addressed. Proposals may suggest appropriate supervisors among Yale-NUS faculty, or among NUS faculty where relevant. Between this time and the formal submission of Capstone proposals (Week 6 of Year 4), these will be developed by the student, with feedback from the Capstone Coordinator, into formal one-page proposals articulating and motivating a distinct question within a well-defined specific area, and indicating its philosophical (and where relevant historical) context and significance; an indicative bibliography should be appended. Supervisors will be assigned according to faculty expertise, with consideration taken for fair distribution.

Range of topics and formats: 

The project may be on any philosophical topic which can be supervised by our faculty, and which can afford the opportunity for the student to develop and display depth of understanding, appreciation of the historic and current state of the discussion, philosophical acuity, independent thinking and a broad perspective on how their special topic fits into other areas and types of philosophy, and relates to neighbouring disciplines.

Activities as part of project:

Students will participate in Capstone Seminar activities, which in addition to sharing work in various stages of progress, will include attending philosophy talks by visiting speakers. They will present their work in the Capstone Symposium at the end of Sem. 1, attended by the full philosophy faculty. At the symposium, they will have comments from other students, and act as commentators themselves. At the end of the academic year, there will be a public defence, where students respond to questions from the full philosophy faculty.

Preparation of students:

This will occur primarily in the context of the Capstone seminar, and secondarily in the proposal development stage, as appropriate.

Expectations for students/supervisor interactions and work on the project:

Students can expect to meet with their supervisor at least fortnightly, for 1-2 hrs, and may meet weekly at appropriate stages in development.

Format(s) of final product:

In almost all cases, the final written work will take the form of a scholarly dissertation making a substantial contribution to the philosophical discourse, defended in a public viva after submission. It may be 10,000-20,000 words long, though some may be longer or shorter. Proposals for final written work taking alternative literary forms (dialogue, play, novel) will be entertained; some suitable reflective or critical reflection on the literary piece would normally be expected in such cases, to be worked out in conjunction with the Capstone supervisor.


First semester Capstone Symposium: 15%

Dissertation: 75%

Viva/Oral defence:10%.

Submission Guidelines