Major and Minor in Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy offers both a major and a minor. The philosophy major is structured around two principal strengths of the current faculty in the department—the analytic philosophy of mind and historical/continental philosophy—with an eye toward preparing students who intend to apply to graduate school (predominantly in philosophy, law, psychology, and public policy; but also in the fields of theology, English, and history).

Both the major and the minor are structured to provide a balance between required courses and the selection of electives that are applicable to a particular student’s philosophical interests.

Is Philosophy for Me?

  • Philosophy majors are prepared for a wide range of careers, including medicine, law, education, computers, psychology, theology, or in philosophy itself.
  • Philosophy also makes a good second major for those in the sciences, since it broadens their education with study in a related humanities discipline.
  • Psychology majors can add a philosophy major as a way of preparing for graduate study in cognitive science or related fields; philosophy gives one the ability to deal with the difficult conceptual issues involved in understanding the mind.
  • If you’re interested in pursuing an advanced degree other than philosophy, the department recommends that you choose a second major.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in philosophy must take:

  • PHL 106 Critical Reasoning or PHL 220 Logic
  • PHL 303 Ancient Philosophy
  • PHL 304 Modern Philosophy
  • PHL 405 Contemporary Philosophy
  • At least three other courses offered by the department

Appropriate related courses offered by other departments can be arranged in consultation with the department chair.

The Minor

A minor in philosophy adds depth to any major.

  • A political science student with a working knowledge of Locke, for example, has a greater understanding of American political thought.
  • A theatre major studying Sartre and the existentialists can bring valuable creative input to productions.
  • A business major studying ethics is on top of contemporary problems in economic development, investment, and social responsibility.

Students minoring in philosophy must take five courses in philosophy, including:

  • PHL 106 Critical Reasoning or PHL 220 Logic
  • PHL 303 Ancient Philosophy
  • PHL 304 Modern Philosophy
  • Two other 300/400-level courses

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