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Last updated 10 February 2016
The Philosophy Major
This degree program can be completed as one half of a double-major.
The study of philosophy can enhance your education with an invaluable grounding in the history of ideas. Philosophy teaches students to think clearly and critically through the most important questions of life. Most of the skills required for student and career success—how to learn, how to apply that learning in professional and personal environments, and how to communicate that knowledge—are central to philosophical training. Philosophy students are taught to evaluate complex problems, identify and examine underlying principles, investigate issues from diverse perspectives, and communicate clearly in both written and oral forms. Finally, evidence shows that philosophy students do extremely well on standardized tests. For example: philosophy students score higher than any others on the verbal and analytical writing section of the GRE, and score near the very top on the GMAT and LSAT tests for business and law school. As a result, philosophy is widely recognized as a valuable and useful component of anyone’s education.
Philosophy Program Objectives
Students graduating from our program are able to:
Philosophy Program requirements
Philosophy major program code: PHIL-BS
The Department of Philosophy offers a unique Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy consisting of:
The six numbered items in the table above are explained below.
1. Philosophy Core. Four required courses:
2. Specialization within Philosophy. In addition to four courses in the philosophy core, each student will take four courses which will constitute an area of specialization within philosophy, usually related to the student’s program electives and/or professional core (described below). Seven such pre-approved specializations are given here. With faculty advising, students may also develop their own specializations.
3. Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL 416). This course is an examination of a selected area or topic in philosophy at an advanced undergraduate level.
4. Senior Thesis (PHIL 595). This course is required of Philosophy majors during their senior year. A student will choose a faculty member to serve as a primary advisor. With the advisor’s guidance, a student will research and write a substantial paper on a specific philosophical topic. Students will be encouraged to investigate a particular question in depth, likely building on their philosophy specialization and their professional core. The finished thesis will be discussed and examined by a committee including two other faculty members.
5. Program electives (15 credit hours). These can be one or the other (or a combination) of:
6. Professional/Technical Core (15 credit hours). Each student must complete a series of courses designed to provide foundational knowledge in a professional/technical discipline outside of philosophy which complements the student’s studies in Philosophy. Such a core will be at least 20 credit hours and can be satisfied in any of the following ways:
Please note that for transfer students, some (or even all) of the professional core requirements might be satisfied by courses already taken in the former department.
4+1 BS/MBA Option. The Department of Philosophy and the Saunders College of Business have an agreement where students can earn an MBA in one year immediately following the conclusion of their undergraduate program. For details, see this Guide (pdf format), or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.