Majoring in philosophy offers students an opportunity for self-exploration, while also providing the necessary foundations for applying philosophy in real-world situations. A primary goal of the philosophy curriculum is the development of general habits of critical thought and analysis.
The program leads to a BA degree, with the completion of the general education requirements as well as those requirements for the major.
The philosophy major involves the study of three major periods: ancient, modern and 20th-century philosophy. Classes are discussion-oriented as students are required to read selected texts from a group of major philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, Marx, and Foucault. The curriculum also includes extensive coursework in ethical theory and applied ethics, such as bioethics and business ethics. Additionally, students will be introduced to coursework that inquires into the nature of being and knowledge, as well as coursework that approaches major theoretical concepts from feminist perspectives.
Required Courses: Offering Patterns
The major requires 12 courses in philosophy (see the PDF for details, below). Of those 12 courses, 4 are specifically required: Ancient (3002), Modern (3022), Kant (3760), and Logic (2441 or 3440 or 3441). They are offered according to the following regular schedule:
Typically offered EVERY semester:
- LOGIC, LANGUAGE AND SCIENTIFIC REASONING (PHIL 2441)
Typically offered only in FALL Semesters
- ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY (PHIL 3002)
- KANT (PHIL 3760)
Typically offered only in SPRING Semesters:
- MODERN PHILOSOPHY (PHIL 3022)
Offered at least every 3rd Semester:
- SYMBOLIC LOGIC (PHIL 3440)
- PHILOSOPHIC REASONING SKILLS (PHIL 3441)
Full Details about the philosophy major:
Click the link below to view the Philosophy Major requirements:
A specific list of courses which will typically count for the major's distribution requirements are listed here:
Philosophy Program Learning Goals
Student Learning for the B.A. in Philosophy
Philosophy is a discipline which teaches students skills for thinking critically, systematically, and imaginatively about fundamental issues that arise both in everyday life and through other disciplines. Philosophy develops these skills in students through their application to a variety of subject matters and relevant issues. The subject matters range both historically (from ancient to contemporary periods) and topically (including ethics, the arts, social and political issues, religion, metaphysics, epistemology, science, technology, among others). The educational outcome of applying philosophy’s skills to the rich range of subject matters is one of the most rigorous intellectual preparations possible in undergraduate education. Such preparation orients and strengthens students for future careers in communication, law, medicine, business, government, teaching, and social services.
Student learning in the B.A. in Philosophy focuses on the following:
- Recognize and comprehend the salient elements of philosophy’s significant historical figures, periods, and areas.
- Understand how philosophical frameworks and theories expand the meanings and implications of existing cultural areas (e.g., those found in science, technology, the arts, politics, medicine, social justice).
More specifically, the above includes training (most typically in writing) about how to:
- Interpret texts by careful reading and synthesis of meanings
- Identify and criticize philosophical arguments
- Develop original arguments supported by texts and logical reasoning
- Outline major philosophical frameworks
To implement these goals, the Department follows specific year-to-year assessment plans regarding student learning.
The Learning Outcomes which are assesed in our classes include the following outcomes:
a. To explain fundamental philosophical concepts
b. To outline and criticize the positions of some of the most important figures in the history of philosophy.
c. To identify and explain the import of at least some ethical and political issues.
d. To employ philosophical methodologies.
e. To write analytically and critically
f. To engage in intellectual discussion and exchange.