Requirements for the Major and Minor in Philosophy (PHI)

Requirements for the Major in Philosophy (PHI)

The major in Philosophy leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Philosophy courses are distributed among three categories indicated, in parentheses after the title of the course. Courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. No more than two 100-level philosophy courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Completion of the major requires 36 credits.

    1. PHI 300 Ancient Philosophy and PHI 306 Modern Philosophy

    2. PHI 400 Individual Systems of the Great Philosophers or PHI 401 Individual Systems of the Great Philosophers or PHI 402 Analysis of Philosophic Texts

    3. Two courses in Category I, Styles and Systems of Philosophy in Historical Perspective, excluding those in Requirements 1 and 2 above.

    4. Three courses in Category II, Basic Skills and Problem Areas of Philosophy

    5. Three courses in Category III, Philosophy in Relation to Other Arts and Sciences. Two upper-division courses in another discipline, if appropriately related to a student's program, may be substituted for one Category III course. Approval for such a substitution must be obtained from the undergraduate director prior to course election. 

    6. PHI 435 Senior Seminar

    7. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

Philosophy majors must achieve an evaluation of S (Satisfactory) on the written work for either PHI 300 or PHI 306, which, for this purpose, must be taken before the end of the junior year. With advance permission from the Undergraduate Director, an evaluation of S (Satisfactory) on written work for another 300-level philosophy course which calls for intensive writing may be substituted. Students who wish to satisfy this requirement must inform the instructor of their intention to do so no later than the third week of the semester, so that the student's essays for the course may be given special apprai­sal for advanced writing skills appropriate to Philosophy majors, in addition to their appraisal for the course. A student must achieve an appraisal of S in advanced writing skills in order to register for PHI 435 Senior Seminar.


1. PHI 200 and 206 may not be counted for the major if taken after 300 and 306, respectively.

2. Students who expect to pursue graduate study should include PHI 220 in their programs.

3. No more than 6 philosophy courses may be used to satisfy D.E.C. requirements.

Honors Program in Philosophy

To qualify for the honors program, a student must be a junior or a senior in the major with an overall g.p.a. of at least 3.00 and a g.p.a. in philosophy of 3.50. The student must maintain this average throughout participation in the honors program. To seek honors, a student must plan a program prior to the first semester of the senior year with a faculty advisor and the director of undergraduate studies. The program consists of three courses at the 300 level or higher, concentrated on related aspects of a central problem. At least one of the courses should be independent study under the direction of the advisor and lead to a senior paper. This paper is reviewed by the advisor and one other member of the Philosophy faculty and by a faculty member from outside the Department. The senior paper is then the focus of an oral examination. Honors are awarded upon passage of the examination.

Requirements for the Minor in Philosophy (PHI)

The minor in Philosophy requires 18 credits, which must include at least nine credits in upper-division courses. The minor must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies. Students anticipating a minor may select one of the following emphases: history of philosophy; logic, science, and technology; moral, political, and legal issues; literature and the arts. Students pursuing the Political Theory/Philosophy track in the Political Science major may fulfill the Philosophy minor with 15 PHI credits, counting two of their upper-division POL electives in place of one PHI course. Alternatively, a student may design a minor in Philosophy tailored to his or her own interests, subject to approval by the director of undergraduate studies. Courses offered for the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. No more than one 100-level course can be counted toward satisfying the minor requirements.

Undergraduate Research Tracks in Philosophy

Occasionally, Undergraduate Research tracks are offered in Philosophy. These tracks afford students special opportunities to do sophisticated and concentrated research on a particular topic in philosophy while still undergraduates. Seven courses are required over a three-year period. The first five courses provide important skills and background. In the third year, the research team, which consists of a faculty member and a small group of students, spends two semester-long research courses on a philosophical project of professional caliber, doing work that may even lead to publication. More specific information on available Under-graduate Research tracks, including particular topics and the courses designed for them, are available from the Undergraduate Office.

Study Abroad

Philosophy majors and other interested students who would like to spend a semester or a year studying in France, Germany, England, Spain, Italy, or other countries, should consult the Depart­ment's director of undergraduate studies. With the permission of the Department, Philosophy majors may also use credits from other study abroad programs to satisfy major requirements.