VPL Independent Paper Requirements

VALUES AND PUBLIC LIFE UNDERGRADUATE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM  
CLARIFICATION OF CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS  

There are three options for fulfilling the independent work requirement when it can’t be done as part of the senior thesis. All involve writing a paper about the length of a political theory / philosophy JP (20-25 pages) on a normative topic. They differ as to when and how the paper would be written:  


Option 1
Write the paper in the summer between junior and senior year, with informal advice from the Program Director and, if possible, some other faculty member with whom you have a working relationship. The paper would be due on September 30th of the senior year, or equivalent if a semester has been taken off. Informal advice means, roughly, one to two meetings before the summer to define the topic and advise on reading; one to two emails over the summer, if needed for advice and clarification; and one meeting in the early autumn to give comments on a rough draft before submitting the final version.  
 

Option 2  
Design a reading course with a faculty member, the requirement for which is a paper of 20-25 pages which would be due by Dean’s Date of a given semester. The Program Director can help advise and try to arrange such a reading course for you with an appropriate faculty member, though we can’t guarantee this. In this case, you would need to fulfill the requirements for a reading course to be graded either P/F or with letter grades (to be decided mutually with the faculty member), which include at least two hours of meeting per week, as well as submission of the final paper.
 

Option 3  
Write the paper independently on top of your ordinary coursework during your senior year, with informal advice from the Program Director and, if possible, some other faculty member with whom you have a working relationship. In some cases, this can involve a substantial reworking and/or extension of a short paper you have written for a VPL course. Informal advice means, roughly, one to two meetings to define the topic and advise on reading; one to two emails, if needed for advice and clarification; and one meeting to give comments on a rough draft before submitting the final version. The paper would be due by Dean’s Date of the spring semester.  

Students who are completing a separate paper to satisfy the VPL independent work requirement are expected to meet with Professor Stilz (preferably in spring of junior year) to clarify their paper topic and which option they intend to pursue.  Please schedule an appointment at wase.princeton.edu.