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Philosophy Major Degree Requirements

The requirements for the Philosophy major is as follows:

  1. Symbolic Logic (chosen from PHL 313, PHL 313K or PHL 313Q) PHL 313 Introduction to Symbolic Logic is recommended for most philosophy majors. (See below for more details about the logic requiement.)

  2. 3 hours of Ancient Philosophy (PHL 301K or PHL 329K) and 3 hours of Early Modern Philosophy (PHL 301L or PHL 329L) Only one of the history of philosophy courses may be taken at the lower-division level (as PHL 301K or PHL 301L). They may both be taken at the upper-division level (as PHL 329K and PHL 329L).
  3. Core Philosophy, 6 hours from the following (courses may not be repeated for credit):
    • PHL 321K Theory of Knowledge
    • PHL 323K Metaphysics
    • PHL 323M Philosophy of Mind
    • PHL 325K Ethical Theories
    • PHL 332 Philosophy of Language
    Core courses are designed to be small (about 25 student) classes that emphasize class discussion, writing and interaction with the instructor.
  4. 12 additional elective hours in Philosophy. 9 hours must be upper-division, if history of philosophy component was satisfied with either PHL 301K or PHL 301L; or, if history component is fulfilled by both PHL 329K and PHL 329L, then 6 hours must be upper-division.

2012-2014 Catalog

Download the 2012-2014 Philosophy degree plan (PDF)

2010-2012 Catalog

Download the 2010-2012 Philosophy degree plan (PDF)

2008-2010 Catalog

Download the 2008-2010 Philosophy degree plan (PDF)

2006-2008 Catalog

Download the 2006-2008 degree plan (PDF, 381K)

Course Sequences

The Department of Philosophy does not require its students to follow a strict sequence of courses, but we strongly recommend that students take logic (PHL 313) and the history sequence (PHL 301K or 329K and PHL 301L or 329L) during their first two years and before they begin core coursework, as these course will be most beneficial to students who have already completed the logic and history courses. However, we encourage students not to wait until their last semester to take the core courses, as these courses fill quickly and students may have trouble getting into them, which could delay graduation.

The history courses do not need to be taken in chronological order (i.e., ancient before early modern), although it is recommended.

Download a sample four-year plan (PDF, 161K)

Sequence Option 1 (2006-08 degree plan)
Freshman year:
PHL 301K History of Ancient Philosophy or 301L Early Modern Philosophy
PHL 313 Symbolic Logic

Sophomore year:
PHL 329K History of Ancient Philosophy or PHL 329L Early Modern Philosophy
Lower-division elective PHL
PHL upper-division elective

Junior/senior year:
Core Philosophy (PHL 321K, PHL 323K, PHL 323M, PHL 325K or PHL 332)
Core Philosophy (PHL 321K, PHL 323K, PHL 323M, PHL 325K or PHL 332)
Upper-division elective PHL
Upper-division elective PHL

Sequence Option 2 (2006-08 degree plan)
Freshman year:
Lower-division elective PHL
PHL 313 Symbolic Logic

Sophomore year:
PHL 329K History of Ancient Philosophy
PHL 329L Early Modern Philosophy
Lower-division elective PHL

Junior/senior year:
Core Philosophy (PHL 321K, PHL 323K, PHL 323M, PHL 325K or PHL 332)
Core Philosophy (PHL 321K, PHL 323K, PHL 323M, PHL 325K or PHL 332)
Upper-division elective PHL
Upper-division elective PHL

Departmental Honors Sequence Option (2006-08 degree plan)
Freshman year:
PHL 301K History of Ancient or 301L Early Modern Philosophy
PHL 313 Symbolic Logic

Sophomore year:
PHL 329K History of Ancient Philosophy or PHL 329L Early Modern Philosophy
Lower-division elective PHL
PHL upper-division elective

Junior year:
Core Philosophy (PHL 321K, PHL 323K, PHL 323M, PHL 325K or PHL 332)
Core Philosophy (PHL 321K, PHL 323K, PHL 323M, PHL 325K or PHL 332)
PHL upper-division elective

Senior year:
PHL 679HA and PHL 679HB Honors Thesis Tutorial Courses
PHL 375M Senior Seminar or PHL 371H Honors Seminar

Course Recommendations for Philosophy Majors

Lower-division Coursework
First-year students majoring in philosophy or considering a major or minor in philosophy may wish to take PHL 301 Intro to Philosophy or PHL 310 Knowledge and Reality, as these courses survey of core issues and figures in philosophy but neither assumes a background in philosophy.

They are also encouraged to consider PHL 301K Ancient Philosophy or PHL 301L Early Modern Philosophy. However some students may wish to wait to take both history courses at the upper-division level. In any case students should note that only one of the lower-division history courses (301K or 301L) will count toward their history of philosophy requirement, because at least one of the history classes must be taken as the upper-division version.

Beyond these course, most of our lower-division courses are suitable for majors and prospective majors or minors: PHL 303 Human Nature, PHL 303M Mind and Body, PHL 305 Intro to Philosophy of Religion, PHL 316K Science and Philosophy, PHL 317K Intro to the Philosophy of the Arts, PHL 318 Intro to Ethics or PHL 318K Intro to Political Philosophy. However, we do not recommend PHL 304 Contemporary Moral Problems, as it is primarily designed for non-majors.

Majors should observe that only 9 hours (3 classes) of philosophy coursework, including logic, may be taken at the lower-division level and count toward the major requirement; any additional lower-division hours will count as general electives.

Logic Coursework
All philosophy majors must complete one course in logic. In general, we recommend that students take PHL 313 Intro to Symbolic Logic.

Some students will take PHL 313K Logic, Sets and Functions. This course may be appropriate for students who have a strong interest in logic and would like to pursue more advanced course work in logic; however, students should be advised that this course is primarily math focused and is significantly harder that PHL 313.

PHL 313Q Logic and Scientific Reasoning is restricted to Plan II honors students. This restriction is never waived.

Philosophy majors should not take PHL 311 Argument or PHL 312 Intro to Logic, as these do not fulfill the major requirement in logic.

Upper-division Coursework
Upper-division elective philosophy coursework gives students an opportunity to tailor the major to suit their particular interests. Student should chose these course by looking at the course descriptions on the department website and by talking to the academic advisor.

Conference Courses
Students interested in taking a conference course, PHL 379K, should consult with the Academic Advisor.

Conference courses are individual instruction courses, in which students meet regularly with a professor on a subject of the students choosing. Students are expected to research the subject and produce written work in the course.
Student must have the following prerequisites before they will be allowed to register for a conference course:

  1. upper-division standing
  2. 9 previous hours of philosophy coursework
  3. a GPA of at least 2.5

This policy is intended to protect the faculty member and the student, as well as the integrity of the conference course, which is intended as an opportunity to pursue advanced subjects in philosophy. These pre-requisites cannot be waived, as they are established by the Department and the College of Liberal Arts and are strictly enforced.
Download conference course form and memo (PDF, 108K).

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