Philosophy Major

Students must also complete the Undergraduate Registration Requirement and the degree requirements of their home school.

Because the study of philosophy involves the critical discussion of the most fundamental questions asked by human beings, it helps develop breadth of understanding and clarity of thought. This character of philosophical inquiry makes choosing philosophy as a second major attractive to many students. Moreover, with appropriate supporting courses, a philosophy major can be a sound preparation for many careers, whether or not they involve further study.

The core of the program is a firm grounding in the history of philosophy. Against this background, students may tailor a program that meets their particular interests.

Course Title
Major Requirements (13 units)
2 core history of philosophy courses: 1,2
PHIL 210-1
PHIL 210-3
History of Philosophy - Ancient
and History of Philosophy - Early Modern
1 core logic course: 1,2
PHIL 150-0Elementary Logic I
or PHIL 250-0 Elementary Logic II
1 core course in moral or political philosophy: 2
PHIL 260-0Introduction to Moral Philosophy
or PHIL 261-0 Introduction to Political Philosophy
9 additional courses: 3
At least 6 must be at the 300 or 400 level. A student who is admitted to and completes 1 or more 400-level courses may apply such courses toward this requirement.
Up to 3 of the following courses offered by the Brady Scholars Program in Ethics and Civic Life may be counted: 4
The Brady Scholars Program: The Good Life
and The Brady Scholars Program: The Moral Life
and The Brady Scholars Program: The Good Society
1 of the 9 electives may be from outside the department if it has substantial philosophical content. Course approval must be obtained from the director of undergraduate studies by submitting a petition that includes the course syllabus. 4
At most 2 eligible PHIL 399-0 may count toward the major. See department website for criteria. Approval must be obtained in advance from both the instructor and the director of undergraduate studies.

​Honors in Philosophy

Majors with strong academic records and an interest in pursuing honors should have project proposals approved by a faculty supervisor and the director of undergraduate studies or the philosophy department honors convenor before the end of winter quarter of junior year. They then take PHIL 398-1 in spring quarter of junior year and PHIL 398-2 in fall quarter of senior year; neither counts toward major requirements. (Students may petition to begin this thesis sequence in fall quarter of senior year, so that their sequence moves forward a quarter, respectively.) Near the end of the second quarter (i.e. PHIL 398-2), students submit completed senior theses, which are evaluated by the undergraduate committee in terms of level of research and philosophical reflection. In the spring, students present their research results at a conference open to the public.

Students whose papers, presentations, and grades meet department criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors. For more information see the department website and Honors in the Major .