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Major and Minor in Philosophy
Requirements for the Major:
A minimum of 9 credits are required for a Philosophy major. To allow students flexibility, there are two approaches to completing a Philosophy major. Students may (1) complete a traditional major or (2) concentrate on their particular philosophical interests or focus on courses that make connections to other studies. Courses taken Pass-Fail may count towards the major or minor in Philosophy.
The requirements for the traditional major are:
1. Core Courses:
- Philosophy 156: Logic and Styles of Argument
- Three of the following five courses:
- Philosophy 290: Ancient Greek Philosophy
- Philosophy 291: Descartes to Kant
- Philosophy 320: Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Deconstruction
- Philosophy 322: Hegel to Nietzsche
- Philosophy 355: Wittgenstein and the Analytic Tradition
- Philosophy 305: Comparative Philosophy: East and West
- Philosophy 325: Major Ethical Theories
- At least 2 additional Philosophy courses
3. Senior Studies:
- The Senior Studies Requirement can be fulfilled in any of the following ways:
- Senior seminar
- Independent research project
- Senior thesis
Option to develop a more focused major:
Students who would like to focus more exclusively on a particular area of philosophy may (in consultation with their advisor and with the approval of the chair) substitute up to two different Philosophy courses for any of the Core Courses. Students can focus, for example, on (1) ethics, political philosophy, or social justice, (2) philosophy across cultures, or (3) metaphysics and philosophy of mind.
Courses expected for various career interests:
Philosophy is a valuable major for students interested in law school, not simply because issues about the law often emerge in philosophical discussion, but because the analytic, reading, and writing skills developed through the study of Philosophy are essential for success in law careers. Students interested in law school should take Phil 156 (logic) no later than their junior year. Note that students interested in law school should take Phil 156 even if they develop a major focusing on courses in law and political philosophy.
Philosophy majors may also consider other graduate programs, e.g., MBA or MAT. Some undergraduate course work in fields related to these areas is important. A philosophy major serves students interested in graduate work in cultural studies or arts criticism; these students should take aesthetics, philosophy of literature, or philosophy of film. (Philosophy majors have often earned second majors, e.g., in Business or Economics. Those interested in Elementary Education can earn their second major in Philosophy.)
Students interested in graduate school in Philosophy should complete a traditional major, including courses focusing on the approaches they seek to study:
- Students considering graduate school in Philosophy should take Phil 290, 291, and 322.
- For students interested in Continental philosophy, Phil 320 and/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, in Phil 355, is needed. Phil 294 and 296 can also be considered. Further, some advanced work in logic (instead of or in addition to Phil 156) would be appropriate.
Requirements for the Minor:
At least 6 credits
- no more than 2 courses at the 100-level
- at least 2 courses at the 300-level
Students considering a minor in Philosophy are encouraged to speak to a member of the Department, to plan their programs.