Philosophy major requirements, effective Fall 2023 

The philosophy major requires ten courses and 30 credits.  

  • At least 9 courses and 27 credits must be at the 2000-level or above
  • At least 6 courses and 18 credits must be at the 3000-level or above
  • At least 1 course and 3 credits must be at the 4000-level 

Course Requirements

  1. Two core philosophy courses 
  2. Two courses in Philosophical Skills
    • PHIL 3001: Philosophy Writing Seminar (by end of junior year)   
    • Either PHIL 2501: Introduction to Logic or  PHIL 4001: Symbolic Logic  
  3. Two courses in Texts and Traditions    
  4. Two courses in Topics
    • One course in LEMMS (language, epistemology, metaphysics, mind, science)
    • One course in normative philosophy 
  5. Two electives

Philosophy major requirements through Spring 2023 

  1. At least 33 credits of philosophy altogether, of which at least 30 must be at the 100-level or above, and a minimum of 21 must be at the 200-level or above.
  2. The four-credit History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy course (PHIL 280) and the four-credit History of Modern Philosophy course (PHIL 282).
  3. At least one four-credit Text Seminar (PHIL 320) preferably by the end of junior year.
  4. At least one course in logic (PHIL 151 or PHIL 350) by the end of junior year that covers the predicate calculus, including difficult translations using relations and multiple quantifiers, and also formal proofs using such sentences. 
  5. At least one foundational course in metaphysics/epistemology (PHIL211, PHIL212, PHIL213, PHIL214, PHIL215) and at least one foundational course in normative theory (PHIL230, PHIL231, PHIL232, PHIL233, or PHIL245).

Integrated Writing Requirement

Effective Fall 2023, the University Integrated Writing Requirement is fulfilled by PHIL 3001. Through Spring 2023, the University Integrated Writing Requirement is fulfilled by PHIL 320.

Nearly all courses at the 3000-level and above require substantial writing. There are various genres of philosophical writing, and different courses will call upon students to exercise their abilities in distinct genres.  These genres include exposition of texts, careful reconstruction of arguments, criticism of arguments or positions, situation of arguments and views within their historical contexts, development of original theses or arguments, and so forth.  Important philosophical work is done within each of these (and other) genres, and philosophy students can expect to be called upon to develop their skills in multiple genres as they progress through the major.

Bioethics Concentration for Philosophy Majors

Philosophy majors can earn a Bioethics Concentration by completing (a) Ethical Theory (PHIL 3202) and (b) three bioethics courses such that (i) at least one is an upper-level philosophy course, (ii) no more than two are offered outside the department and count towards the concentration, and (iii) no more than one is offered outside the department and count toward the major. It is possible with planning and a little luck to complete all the requirements for the major and the bioethics concentration in ten courses.

For more information, please visit the Kennedy Institute of Ethics website.  Follow the link to the Bioethics Minor.

Advising for Majors: Declaring, Mentorship, & Study Abroad

When declaring a major in philosophy, students are required to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who is the academic advisor for all philosophy majors. Students are also encouraged to pick a philosophy faculty member of their choosing as their mentor. Majors are welcome to review their course selections with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Special circumstances–such as difficulties resulting from studying abroad, from double majoring, or from late declaring–should be brought to the attention of the Undergraduate Director. Majors planning to study abroad should contact the DUS as soon as possible to work out a plan.