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Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
Rochester Institute of
92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623-5604


Copyright ©
Department of Philosophy,
Rochester Institute of Technology

Last updated 28 September 2016

The Philosophy Major

This degree program can be completed as one half of a double-major.
Please contact the Undergraduate Program Director for details.

The Department of Philosophy offers a unique Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy consisting of:

  • a thorough grounding in core areas of philosophy;
  • a four-course specialization within philosophy;
  • a focus or “core competence” in a discipline outside of philosophy (this could be a minor or other coherent set of courses in a non-philosophy discipline, including, for double-majors, courses in the other discipline);
  • a Senior Thesis integrating philosophy with a field of application (e.g., the non-philosophy core competence); and
  • general education courses and other miscellaneous requirements.

Philosophy Program Objectives

Students graduating from our program are able to:

  • Categorize, critique, assess, and compare major figures and movements in the history of philosophy.
  • Apply different theoretical approaches to ethical and other value-oriented issues.
  • Examine, reconstruct, and fairly assess various and opposing arguments on a subject.
  • Present cogent arguments in support of their own philosophical positions.
  • Formulate a thesis, conduct literature review, perform necessary research, and present and defend a defined philosophical position.
  • Categorize, critique, and assess positions within a particular subfield of philosophy.

Philosophy Program requirements

Philosophy major program code: PHIL-BS
Philosophy double major program code: PHIL-2M

(A .pdf file with the following and additional information is available here.)

1. Philosophy core (4 courses) 12
2. Philosophy Specialization (4 courses) 12
3. Seminar in Philosophy 3
4. Senior Thesis in Philosophy 3
5. Program Electives 15
6. Professional/Technical Core 15
Liberal Arts & Sciences Perspectives 24
Liberal Arts & Sciences Electives 12
General Education Immersion 9
Free (Institute-wide) Electives 9
Total: 114
First Year Foundational Elective: 3
First Year Writing Seminar: 3
Grand Total Credit Hours: 120

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:

  • any philosophy courses not used to satisfy program requirements.
  • complementary courses outside of the department of philosophy. (Students are free, with proper advising, to seek out non-philosophy courses which complement their Philosophy specializations.)

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 15 credit hours and can be satisfied in any of the following ways:

  • completing an existing minor (outside of philosophy);
  • completing an individually designed professional core (subject to the approval of the student’s philosophy advisor and the external department); or
  • for double-majors, completing the major in the other discipline.

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.


Entering first year students or external transfer students
Requirements: SAT scores of at least 1200, high school grades of B or higher, and ranking in the top half of the graduating class.
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Bausch & Lomb Center
60 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York 14623-5604

Phone: (585) 475-6631
Internal transfer students
(RIT students wishing to change majors)
Requirements: Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, with at least two philosophy courses with a grade of B or higher.
Student Services
College of Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts (building 06) 2210

Phone: 475-2444

For further information, contact the
Undergraduate Program Director:
Professor John T. Sanders
Department of Philosophy
92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

Phone: (585) 475-2465
Office: Liberal Arts 3112