Degree Programs

The Philosophy Department offers our majors a wide range of courses including the Western Philosophical tradition (e.g., Greek Philosophy and 17th and 18th Century Philosophy), Chinese Philosophy (e.g., Conufcianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddism), and a rich selection of Applied Philosophy courses (e.g., Contemporary Moral Issues; Environmental Ethics; Ethics and Law; Philosophy of Sex and Gender; Biology, Health and Disease; Bioethics: Technology and Justice; Humans and Other Animals; and Animal Ethics and Policy). The major may not only serve as a pre-law program but will also help students prepare for working in corporations, the legal profession, teaching, government service and a variety of self-created opportunities.

The Major

The philosophy major consists of eight courses in philosophy, or seven courses in philosophy and one (only) of the following courses: POLI 150 Foundations of Political Theory POLI 212 Classical Political Thought or POLI 214 Modern Political Thought, POLI 461 Queer Phenomenoligies or EVST 277, Environmental Justice. Furthermore, students majoring in philosophy must include the following in their coursework:

Required Courses (4 courses/15-16 credits):

  • PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 102 Introduction to Chinese Philosophy
  • PHIL 460 or PHIL 470 (as Capstone)*
  • One course in philosophy at 300 level.

Electives: 4 courses (15-16 credits):

  • Any 4 additional PHIL courses or 3 additional PHIL courses plus one of the following courses: POLI 150, POLI 212, POLI 214, POLI 461, or EVST 213 (as stated above.)

*The Capstone Experience

The capstone requirement is fulfilled by completing a major writing assignment in an Advanced Seminar (PHIL 460) during a student's senior year. During the fall semester all seniors should enroll in PHIL 460 (4 credits) or PHIL 470 (Directed Study 3-4 credits when PHIL 460 is not available). There are two options for completing the senior project through PHIL 470: (1) a portfolio (3-4 collected philosophy class papers and a reflective essay about the student's progress in Philosophy through the UG years), or (2) a thesis developed from a previously written paper for a philosophy class.

The Minor

The minor in Philosophy consists of five courses, meeting the following requirements:

Required Courses (2 courses/7-8 credits)

  • PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 102 Introduction to Chinese Philosophy

Electives (3 courses/11-12 credits)

  • 3 additional PHIL courses, with at least 2 above the 100-level

Departmental Honors

Students with a GPA of 3.5 or above in philosophy are eligible to apply to seek honors during the fall semester of their senior year. The application includes a proposal for a thesis project. If the application is approved, a thesis committee will be formed and a writing schedule devised. The committee may revoke thesis approval at any time if adequate progress towards completion is not made. Students should consult with their advisor concerning application requirements and deadlines.

Study Abroad

Philosophy majors and minors are strongly encouraged to include study abroad in their academic planning. The opportunity to develop deeper understanding of another culture is of immense value to any liberally educated person, and of particular value to philosophy students. A number of programs are available that would be especially beneficial to someone studying philosophy, including programs in English and other languages. Students should plan off-campus study early in consultation with both their department advisor and the Study Abroad Office.




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