Three-Year Program in Philosophy

  • Advanced students may be able to complete the major in three years, if they meet and maintain the requirements below. Interested students should contact the chair of the department.

    Three-Year BA Program: Completing the Philosophy Major

    The Philosophy major consists of at least nine courses.  Traditional four-year students often decide on a Philosophy major in their second or even third year, so it is typical to complete the major in three years.  The structure of the major allows this, and an explicit three year plan would encourage a more sequential program, beginning with the history core, which is meant as a foundation for upper-level study.

    A three-year BA program would typically proceed as follows:

    Prior to Matriculation

    2-4 AP or college credits, at least one of which must be in English Literature, comparative Literature, or History.

    First Year: Three courses:

    Phil 290 (Ancient Greek Philosophy) and
    Phil 291 (Descartes to Kant) 
    Phil 156 (Logic and Styles of Arguments) or an elective

    Second Year: 3 courses:

    Phil 292 (Hegel to Nietzsche)
    Phil 305 (Comparative Philosophy) or Phil 325 (Major Ethical Theories)
    Phil 156 (Logic and Styles of Arguments) or an elective

    Third Year: 3 courses:

    Phil 305 (Comparative Philosophy) or Phil 325 (Major Ethical Theories)
    Elective
    Senior Studies course

    The history sequence (290, 291, and 292) provides a good introduction to the Western intellectual tradition. After the first two courses, students would be well-prepared for 300-level course work.

    The logic course (156) should be taken as early as possible; it is beneficial well beyond philosophy.  Phil 156 provides analytic training helpful with any research efforts.  It is also strongly urged for students preparing for the LSAT. (A comparable course may be available as a summer option at other schools.)

    Beyond the core courses, students may develop a particular focus in some aspect of philosophy, such as political philosophy, metaphysics, values issues, or Asian thought, which can then provide a foundation for the senior project.

    Students who would like to focus more exclusively on a particular aspect of philosophy may (in consultation with their advisor) propose to substitute a different course for one of the core requirements.  Proposals will be reviewed by the department Chair.

    Despite the compressed schedule, it is possible to spend a semester studying off-campus, in the second year.  The Department does accept appropriate transfer credit toward the Philosophy major; this must be approved beforehand.  Programs without a Philosophy component are also possible.  Many majors, for example, consider our Program in Greece, which provides an understanding of the civilization that began Western Philosophy.

    Students interested in graduate school in Philosophy should take the traditional core plus a number of advanced courses that will provide background in the traditions and approaches they seek to study.  (A traditional four-year program would allow a more reflective pace through the required and recommended courses.)

    For students interested in Continental philosophy, Phil 320 or some independent work in 20th century Continental approaches is essential.

    For students interested in analytic programs (the majority of graduate programs in the United States), coverage of 20th century analytic philosophy, e.g. through  Phil 294, is needed.  Further, some advanced work in logic (instead of or in addition to Phil 156) would be appropriate.

    Co-Curricular Involvement

    Philosophy began in dialogue, and we continue to emphasize that, in class discussions, in written assignments, and in co-curricular activities.  We encourage Philosophy majors to participate in the life of the Department outside the classroom.  There are a number of opportunities available:

    A symposium is offered for new majors, to meet faculty and other Philosophy students, to share interests, to answer questions, and to have a good time.

    The Philosophy Club (linked to our Chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the National Honor Society in Philosophy) sponsors a number of informal discussions as well as visiting speakers.

    Students and faculty are encouraged to share their current work, in informal presentations.

    A symposium concerning life after Lake Forest is offered for majors.

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