Philosophy is an ongoing pursuit of intellectual refinement, challenge and discovery, rooted in our natural human curiosity and our wish to exercise good judgment in all that we believe and do.

The philosophy program familiarizes students with the basic concepts at work in every area of intellectual inquiry and provides skills in constructing and evaluating arguments––whatever their subject matter may be. As a critical approach to all academic disciplines, philosophy helps us avoid overspecialization while enabling us to see the discoveries of every other field in a coherent perspective. Philosophy asks “big” questions, concerning the nature of reality, whether God exists, how the mind works, or what makes something beautiful. It expands our intellects and enlarges our feelings in exciting and rewarding ways. A program leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major or minor in philosophy provides not only a thorough grounding in the humanities and liberal arts, but also training in the close reasoning and orderly presentation of ideas required by such professions as law, diplomacy, teaching, public administration, economics, business and the health professions.

B.A. in Philosophy

The 128-credit B.A. in Philosophy enables students to acquire skills that make them very attractive to potential employers and professional schools. By majoring or minoring in philosophy, students learn to reason effectively, view problems from multiple perspectives, and argue persuasively in their speech and writing. Although many philosophy majors and minors go on to study in graduate school, law school, medical school or other professional programs after graduation, a good number enter the workforce directly as well. The undergraduate education that philosophy students receive will serve them well in any field. Philosophy majors and minors are urged to develop career objectives while pursuing their undergraduate studies, and double majors are strongly encouraged. Departmental advisors will help students to explore career possibilities and devise personalized plans of study that will best prepare them to achieve their career goals.

As a major or minor in philosophy, you will connect with a small but bright, dedicated group of fellow students and accomplished professors and be invited to philosophy lectures, films and events. And when it is time for you make decisions about your post-graduate future, our dedicated faculty will guide and support you.

Particular strengths of the department include Applied Ethics, the History of Ideas, Social and Political Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, Philosophy of Feminism, and Philosophy of Law, Religion, Art, Language, and Science. Our department offers Health Care Ethics every semester, as well as innovative electives such as Philosophy of Sex and Love, Black Existentialism, Ethics and Non-Human Animals, and Philosophy through Film. Many of our courses are cross-listed with other majors and minors, such as Gender Studies, Africana Studies, Asian Studies and Humanities. Our faculty teach every semester in the university Honors Program, and we welcome Honors students to become philosophy majors or minors.

Graduation Requirements

Students must satisfy the Placement, Proficiency, Orientation and Core Curriculum criteria outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of this bulletin.

Core Curriculum requirements for this major are summarized below:
Core Seminar 3 credits
English Composition 3 credits
English Literature 6 credits
Philosophy 6 credits
Foreign Language 6 credits
Social Sciences
History 6 credits
Social Sciences (ANT, ECO, POL, PSY, SOC) 6 credits
Science and Mathematics
Mathematics 3 - 4 credits
Science (BIO, CHM, PHY) 10 credits
Communication, Visual & Performing Arts
Speech 3 credits
Visual & Performing Arts (ART, DNC, MUS, THE) 3 credits
Philosophy Distribution Requirement

To satisfy this requirement, the student must complete two courses numbered 100 or above in one of the following subject areas:

  • Speech Language Pathology
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • English
  • Humanities
  • Economics
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Social Work
  • Science
  • Art
  • Dance
  • Journalism
  • Media Arts
  • Music
  • Theatre
Major Requirements

Philosophy majors must complete 24 credits in advanced Philosophy courses numbered 100 or above, including at least 3 credits in Philosophy Honors Study (PHI 195/196)

Credit and GPA Requirements
  • Minimum Total Credits: 128
  • Minimum Liberal Arts & Sciences Credits: 96
  • Minimum Major Credits: 24
  • Minimum Credits in Courses > 100 Level: 48
  • Distribution Requirement: see above
  • Minimum Major GPA: 2.0
  • Minimum Overall GPA: 2.0

Why Study Philosophy?

A degree in philosophy will enrich anyone’s life, but it can also be excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers. Law schools welcome philosophy majors because they can manage complex ideas, questions, and analysis. Philosophy majors thrive in the business world due to their ability to understand multiple perspectives. As technology, medicine, geopolitics, and other forces increasingly give rise to moral dilemmas, those who have studied the great thinkers can provide the insights that lead to reasoned, ethical decision-making.


Richard L. Conolly
College of Liberals Arts & Sciences

Scott Krawczyk, Dean