Bachelor of Arts - The Major in Philosophy

Why Major in Philosophy?

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 educations 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:

Offered Every Semester

Offered Every Fall    

Offered Every Spring         

Offered Every Third Semester

Logic, Language, and Scientific Reasoning
(PHIL 2441)

Ancient Greek (PHIL 3002/5002)

Kant (PHIL 3760/5830)

Modern Philosophy (PHIL 3022/5022)

Symbolic Logic (PHIL 3440)

Philosophical Reasoning Skills (PHIL 3441/5441)

Philosophy Program Learning Outcomes

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.

Students may qualify to complete an honors thesis, for questions and answers, please reach out to Mark Tanzer ( for further details.