The Major in Philosophy

There are three different forms that a major in philosophy can take. The detailed requirements for each of these options can be found in the College catalogue. Here we offer a general characterization.

1) The Standard Major.

The Standard Major allows for a great deal of flexibility in the devising of a program of study.  In this program, students take a minimum of 10 courses offered by the Philosophy Department (i.e., 10 courses with a PHIL course number).  The 10 courses must be taken for quality grades and must meet the following distribution requirements:

1. Two courses from the History of Philosophy sequence (25000, 26000, 27000)
2. Elementary Logic (20100)
3. Three courses from the two fields of philosophy: either two courses in Practical Philosophy (field A) and one in Theoretical Philosophy (field B), or two courses in Theoretical Philosophy (B) and one in Practical Philosophy (A)
4. Four additional courses.

Standard majors writing senior essays (the senior essay is also called the BA essay) take the BA workshop (Senior Seminar I and II) for two College credits, but only one of these two credits will count toward the 10 required to complete the major.

All majors will be required to meet with the ADUS at the end of their 3rd year to review their program of study and discuss the possibility of writing the senior essay.

More information about the standard major in philosophy is available in the College Catalog.

2) The Intensive Major.
This option is designed to acquaint students with the problems and methods of philosophy in more depth than is generally possible in the standard major. It has two distinctive features. First, students will do some of their course work in very small discussion groups, which are open only to them. These discussion groups are the Intensive Track Seminar(29600), the Junior Tutorial (29200), and the Senior Tutorial (29300). Second, intensive majors are required to write a Senior Essay, working under the close supervision of a member of the Department's faculty. As they write this essay in their fourth year, majors on the intensive track take two courses especially designed to help with this task, 29901 (Senior Seminar I) and 29902 (Senior Seminar II).

In total, intensive majors take 13 courses within the Department.  The courses must be taken for quality grades and must meet the following requirements: 

1. Two courses from the History of Philosophy sequence (25000, 26000, 27000)
2. Elementary Logic (20100)
3. Three courses from the two fields of philosophy: either two courses in Practical Philosophy (field A) and one in Theoretical Philosophy (field B), or two courses in Theoretical Philosophy (B) and one in Practical Philosophy (A)
4. Five specialized courses: Intensive Track Seminar (29600), Junior Tutorial (29200), Senior Tutorial (29300), Senior Seminar I (29901), and Senior Seminar II (29902)
5.  Two additional courses

Students interested in the Intensive Major must apply in the middle of the spring quarter of their sophomore year. The Director of Undergraduate Studies and Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies will have 'interview' meetings following the application deadline.

More information about the intensive major in philosophy is available in the College Catalog. Application forms for the intensive track are available here (accessible only by current undergraduates).

3) The Major in Philosophy and Allied Fields.
This variant of the major is a specialist option for students with a clear and detailed picture of a coherent interdisciplinary course of study, not available under the standard forms of major and minor. In recent years, students electing this track have devised programs for example in Philosophy and Mathematics, Philosophy and Biology, and Philosophy and Economics. Detailed information about the requirements for this form of major can be found in the course catalogue.

Application forms (accessible only by current undergraduates) for allied fields are due in spring quarter of second year.