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Dept mailing address:
Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
Rochester Institute of
   Technology
92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623-5604

Webmaster:
dbsgsh@rit.edu

Copyright ©2008–2011
Department of Philosophy,
Rochester Institute of Technology


Department of Philosophy

Last updated 27 February 2014

The Philosophy Major

Philosophy major program code: PHIL-BS

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

Philosophy double major program code: PHIL-2M

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

Phone: (585) 475-2465
Email: jtsgsh@rit.edu
Office: Liberal Arts 3112

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.

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.

A student in this degree program will develop a unique combination of philosophy with a core competence (or even a double major) in another discipline. The reciprocal interaction between philosophy and another discipline will encourage students to creatively pursue cross-disciplinary relationships. Students will hone the traditional critical tools of rigor and clarity while appreciating the importance of traversing the boundaries of professional disciplines.

Education after the baccalaureate degree can be useful in order to compete beyond the entry-level job market, and the Philosophy program is oriented toward making its students uniquely competitive for further graduate and professional education. Students could prepare for graduate programs by choosing an appropriate core competence outside of philosophy or by pursuing a double major or dual degree. The BS in Philosophy can therefore prepare students for further education by giving them a distinctive ability to think philosophically while drawing upon disciplinary and professional skills.

Program requirements

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

  Credits
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.

Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science: covers the philosophical issues involved in studying intelligence, cognition, identity, consciousness, rationality, creativity and emotion, especially as such concepts and categories are invoked by computer and cognitive scientists, and as they are applied in relation to natural and artificial systems. (Choose 4 from: PHIL 302 Symbolic Logic, PHIL 404 Philosophy of Mind, PHIL 407 Philosophy of Action, PHIL 414 Philosophy of Language, and appropriate sections of PHIL 401 Great Thinkers, PHIL 449 Special Topics, or PHIL 416 Seminar in Philosophy, evaluated case by case.)

Philosophy of Science and Technology: examines the concepts, methodologies, and philosophical implications of science and technology, and explores the underlying theories, practices, and consequences of science and technology and their role in shaping societies and their values. (Choose 4 from: PHIL 302 Symbolic Logic, PHIL 402 Philosophy of Science, PHIL 307 Philosophy of Technology, PHIL 310 Theories of Knowledge, PHIL 314 Philosophy of Vision and Imaging, and appropriate sections of PHIL 401 Great Thinkers, PHIL 449 Special Topics, or PHIL 416 Seminar in Philosophy, evaluated case by case.)

Applied Ethics: examines the ethical underpinnings of different professions as well as the ethical presuppositions and implications of technology, engineering, science, management and other disciplines. Attention is also given to ethics education within the professions and to the role which professional ethicists can play in different professional and organizational settings. (Choose 4 from: PHIL 304 Philosophy of Law, PHIL 305 Philosophy of Peace, PHIL 306 Professional Ethics, PHIL 308 Environmental Philosophy, and appropriate sections of PHIL 401 Great Thinkers, PHIL 449 Special Topics, or PHIL 416 Seminar in Philosophy, evaluated case by case.)

Philosophy of the Social Sciences and Political Philosophy: examines philosophical issues arising from social and political life as well as the disciplines that study them. (Choose 4 from: PHIL 403 Social and Political Philosophy, PHIL 304 Philosophy of Law, PHIL 305 Philosophy of Peace, PHIL 308 Environmental Philosophy, PHIL 309 Feminist Theory, PHIL 405 Philosophy of the Social Sciences, and appropriate sections of PHIL 401 Great Thinkers, PHIL 449 Special Topics, or PHIL 416 Seminar in Philosophy, evaluated case by case.)

Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics: examines how different philosophical frameworks conceive of the various arts and crafts and the forms of creative experience and production with which they are engaged; explores the relationship between aesthetic perception and other forms of experience and judgment, between art and society, between art and ethics, and between art and technology. (Choose 4 from: PHIL 303 Philosophy of Art/Aesthetics, PHIL 413 Philosophy and Literary Theory, PHIL 313 Philosophy of Film, PHIL 314 Philosophy of Vision and Imaging, and appropriate sections of PHIL 401 Great Thinkers, PHIL 449 Special Topics, or PHIL 416 Seminar in Philosophy, evaluated case by case.)

History of Philosophy: explores the development and connection of philosophical ideas, concepts, and movements throughout time through an in-depth analysis of major transformative moments and figures, and examines how philosophical positions result from an ongoing conversation with previous thinkers. (Choose 4 from: PHIL 410 Medieval Philosophy, PHIL 412 Nineteenth Century Philosophy, PHIL 409 Existentialism, PHIL 408 Critical Social Theory, PHIL 312 American Philosophy, PHIL 406 Contemporary Philosophy, PHIL 311 East Asian Philosophy, and appropriate sections of PHIL 401 Great Thinkers, PHIL 449 Special Topics, or PHIL 416 Seminar in Philosophy, evaluated case by case.)

Philosophy and Law: helps prepare students for law school and other advanced studies by focusing on the skills and topics important to the study of the law. The courses in this specialization provide, first, an examination of the theoretical and ethical foundations of the law and, second, an understanding of the logical and epistemological skills useful in evaluating and constructing legal arguments. In addition, a grounding in these topics and skills is valuable in a range of professions outside the legal field. (Choose 4 from: PHIL 302 Symbolic Logic, PHIL 403 Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, PHIL 306 Professional Ethics, PHIL 310 Theories of Knowledge, and appropriate sections of PHIL 401 Great Thinkers, PHIL 449 Special Topics, or PHIL 416 Seminar in Philosophy, evaluated case by case.)

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 20 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.


Admission

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.
Contact:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Bausch & Lomb Center
60 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York 14623-5604

Phone: (585) 475-6631
Email: admissions@rit.edu
Web: www.rit.edu/emcs/admissions/
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.
Contact:
Student Services
College of Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts (building 06) 2210

Phone: 475-2444
Web: www.rit.edu/cla/student_services.php#1


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 gradbus@saunders.rit.edu.


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
Email: jtsgsh@rit.edu
Office: Liberal Arts 3112